All things “butterfly” will be the focus of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s Butterfly Festival from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 19.
From making milkweed seed bombs to tagging monarch butterflies, kids and adults will find plenty to do during this free event. In addition to old favorites – monarch tagging, insect zoo, crafts and door prizes –kids and adults can try their hand at silk spinning, using actual silk moth cocoons, a process that is thousands of years old.
Nets and tags will be available for those who want to capture and tag monarch butterflies. Participants will receive information about the tagging process before heading out with a tagging leader to search for Monarch butterflies. Although monarch butterfly numbers have decreased drastically, they seem to be rebounding locally, with many adults, caterpillars and eggs found on milkweed in Cheyenne Bottoms.
Weather permitting, an exhibit bee hive will be on display in the insect zoo in addition to giant walking stick insects, hissing and peppered cockroaches and butterflies, caterpillars and chrysalises. Plan to spend the morning, as door prizes will be presented just before noon, along with free milkweed plants.
Kids, and adults who want to be kids again, can play in the mud and make a seed bomb, composed of clay, compost, water and native flower seeds, to take home. Get in some practice by slinging premade milkweed seed bombs into KWEC’s prairie area using giant slingshots.
Find your inner insect by taking your photo at monarch butterfly and caterpillar photo boards. Create a butterfly magnet and a fuzzy caterpillar in the craft section and refuel with light refreshments and drinks. Temporary tattoos, games and other activities round out the morning’s activities.
Butterfly milkweed plants, with growing instructions, will be available free to those who would like to encourage monarchs to their yards and gardens. Information on butterfly-friendly plants and other attractants will be available and visitors may also walk through the wildflower/butterfly garden to view examples of butterfly-friendly plants.
Following the festival, the public is invited to attend a short reception recognizing Duane Shook’s generous donation to KWEC. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information contact KWEC at 1-877-243-9268 or visit: wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu.