Children of all ages along with their families enjoyed a day outdoors chasing and learning about butterflies at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s annual Butterfly Festival on Saturday.
“All things ‘butterfly’ was the focus of this year’s festival,” Program Specialist Pam Martin said. “We had a very good turnout. A lot of kids and their families came out and they seem to be really enjoying the activities.”
Through the course of the morning children and their families had the opportunity to make milkweed seed bombs and tag monarch butterflies.
There was also an insect zoo, crafts and door prizes. Children and adults had the chance to try their hand at silk spinning, using actual silk moth cocoons. According to the KWEC this process is thousands of years old.
Nets and tags were available for those who wanted to capture and tag monarch butterflies. Participants received information about the tagging process before heading out with a leader to search for 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,” Martin said.
A bee hive was on display in the insect zoo in addition to giant walking stick insects, hissing and peppered cockroaches and butterflies, caterpillars and chrysalises.
Kids, and adults were able to play in the mud and make a seed bomb, composed of clay, compost, water and native flower seeds, to take home. They got some practice by slinging premade milkweed seed bombs into KWEC’s prairie area using giant slingshots.
Photo shoots were available as well at monarch butterfly and caterpillar photo board and children were able to create butterfly magnets and a fuzzy caterpillars in the craft section and along with temporary tattoos, games and other activities.
Butterfly milkweed plants, with growing instructions, were available as well to those who wanted to encourage monarchs to their yards and gardens. Information on butterfly-friendly plants and other attractants were available and visitors were able to walk through the wildflower/butterfly garden to view examples of butterfly-friendly plants.