December 4, 2018—Audubon is excited to announce the creation of a Butterfly Flight House and Native Plant Garden at the Sharon Audubon Center thanks to a major anonymous gift. The butterfly rearing facility, caterpillar breeding lab, and adjoining garden are anticipated to open to limited groups in summer 2019. They will augment the center’s wildflower meadow and two existing gardens for pollinators on the sanctuary’s main grounds; the Eleanor Loft Butterfly Garden and the Pollinator Habitat Garden, maintained by the Millbrook Garden Club.
“We expect the Butterfly House to be open for tours to the general public and school groups each year from spring through early fall. It will feature a free-flying population of up to 5 species of native butterflies, including Monarchs, and contain from 100 to 300 individuals at any given time,” states Education Program Manager Wendy Miller. “We expect this will be a magical experience for Center visitors and it will also be a fantastic teaching resource for school groups and summer campers.” Miller added that the project will show what communities can do to help reverse the drastic decrease in populations of Monarch caterpillars and butterflies and pollinating insects in general.
The project aligns well with National Audubon Society’s larger Plants for Birds campaign to landscape with native plants in order to support our breeding birds, many of whose populations are also declining. The new Native Plant Garden will emphasize the importance of native plants to both birds and insects, and allow members of the community to understand how they can install insect and bird-friendly gardens at their own homes.
Sharon Audubon Center will be seeking volunteers to help with cultivating and maintaining both the butterflies and their native plant garden, starting next summer. Inquiries are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Groundbreaking is expected in spring of 2019 with a grand opening ceremony in September 2019.