Indian Creek Nature Center — Saturday, July 13 at 10 a.m.
On Saturday, June 13, Indian Creek Nature Center will be hosting the fourth annual Monarch Fest. From 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., attendees will learn about how to take care of monarchs and other butterflies while celebrating their impact on our environment. The event is free.
“Caterpillars, butterflies and all insects in general are a very large part of the food chain,” said Andria Cossolotto, a naturalist at Indian Creek Nature Center and organizer for the Monarch Festival. “Without them, all other animal life would suffer.”
Monarchs and other butterflies are extremely sensitive to climate and weather, said Cossolotto. The insects look out for temperature and environmental changes so they know when to reproduce, hibernate and migrate. Extreme temperature changes and other extreme weather conditions, such as drought and severe storms, also impact the growth of milkweed, the monarch’s host plant.
Fortunately, any person can take small steps to aid monarchs and other native butterflies. “By planting native wildflowers and milkweed plants you will be helping not only the monarch but all local pollinators,” said Cossolotto. “Dandelions and clover are just a couple of plants that are great for pollinators.”
Cossolotto also strongly urges keeping lawns chemical- and pesticide-free.
There will be a limited supply of milkweed seeds and plants, along with native flowers, free of charge at the Monarch Festival for visitors to bring home and plant themselves. Each family will also be able to adopt a monarch caterpillar while supplies last.
Along with these helpful, monarch-saving freebies, there will be children’s crafts, butterfly releases and butterfly experts from Monarch Zones, an organization aiming to increase the butterfly population and educate the public on monarch care. The event will also bring honey lemonade, an ice cream truck and face painting
Monarch Fest is one of many educational and recreational events Indian Creek hosts every year. These include the Maple Syrup Festival in March, Nature’s Noel in December and the Spring Plant and Art Sale in May. Parade of Prairies, a bus tour of local prairie landscapes, will take place July 20 for ticket holders.