Churchville Nature Center invites community involvement in Monarch Butterfly release

    The Butterfly House at Churchville Nature Center (CNC) is all aflutter with activity this summer. The staff and interns have successfully reared 120 Monarch Butterflies as part of their conservation program to increase diversity of the species. The Monarch Butterfly species is in severe decline in many parts of the United States. In fact, the Migratory Monarch Butterfly, known for its legendary journey to California and Mexico in the winter has been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

    Citizens who live near parks or have milkweed garden patches are invited to contact CNC to get a Monarch Butterfly to release into their community. This promotes spreading the butterflies out in the community and helping to increase the local populations. Each female Monarch is capable of laying between 100 – 300 eggs during its lifetime. In the wild only about 10% of these eggs will survive to adulthood. Although CNC has numerous milkweed patches at the 65-acre preserve, there is not enough to potentially provide food for the perhaps 1500 eggs that could get laid from the Monarchs being released. CNC will release breeding Monarchs that will lay eggs that will hopefully hatch and create a new generation of migrator butterflies.

    CNC Butterfly House adheres to strict protocols and processes for raising butterflies. They do not inbreed through generations. Their egg-laying monarchs come from different areas. They purposely do this to increase the genetic health of butterflies. Visitors to the Butterfly House will see the various rooms where daily feeding schedules and records are kept by staff and interns.  All of the Monarchs will be tested for Ophryocystis Elecktroscirrha (a protozoan parasite that infects Monarchs) and other pathogens before they are released from the house.

    Send an e-mail to Peg Mongillo at about getting one of the 110 Monarch Butterflies to release in your pollinator garden. The Butterfly House at CNC in Churchville, which features as many as 15 species of native butterflies throughout the summer is also open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00am to 2:30pm. There is a fee for visiting. Members are admitted free of charge.  The Churchville Nature Center was founded in 1964 and is a facility of Bucks County Parks and Recreation. Learn more about the center and upcoming environmental educational programs at www.churchville

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