Massachusetts Butterfly Club

5th Annual Barbara J. Walker Festival - 2012

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The 2012 Barbara J. Walker Butterfly Festival was held on August 11th at Massachusetts Audubon Society's Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary in Worcester. A full day of presentations, fun for the many children present and butterfly walks delighted all those who attended. Attendees numbered 236 with an additional 45 volunteers, Massachusetts Audubon Society staff, and vendors present. The forecast and weather held down the attendance somewhat, as activities were interrupted with showers from time to time.

The Massachusetts Butterfly Club had a table at which information about joining the club was available. There were free handouts as well as club materials for purchase. Our table was staffed by Karl and Elise Barry, Wendy Miller, Dolores Price, Bob Bowker and Leslie Stillwell. Barbara Volkle worked the Broad Meadow Brook raffle table for our hosts.

The club also had three tables set up with an impressive exhibit that had been on display at the Worcester Public Library during the month of June. It drew many people for most of the day. Thanks to Elise, Wendy, Karl and Gail for setting up the exhibit.

Kristin Steinmetz did a great job organizing the Festival with help from Martha Gach, and Elise Barry who coordinated the Club's activities.

Rick Walker donated the t-shirts for the volunteers in celebration of the Festival honoring his wife. He spent a lot of time on site set-up and clean-up. Rick's parents, Babe and Shirley, were also there. Rick s son, Mike, and his wife, Shannon, with daughters, Sarah and Emily, came up from Connecticut.

Madeline Champagne provided items for, and staffed, the live butterfly and caterpillar exhibit, with Monarch caterpillar handouts, and was a hit of the show. Don Adams contributed caterpillars and Elise added her moth and pupae. Our moth leader in the state, Dave Small, spent the day educating attendees about our moths following up on his moth activities this year. At least this time attendees did not have to stay up all night to learn about these beautiful creatures.

Beth Herr once again spent the whole day painting butterfly faces on the kids.

Howard Hoople put in several hours explaining the butterflies visiting the butterfly garden to the participants. A female Zabulon Skipper (a new species for the Sanctuary) was discovered and photographed by Howard at the gardens. Howard also presented a butterfly photography workshop that was well received by the attendees.

Martha Gach, Gail Howe Trenholm, and Carl Kamp led the butterfly walks. Highlights of the walks included a Giant Swallowtail, Peck's Skippers, Monarchs, a Painted Lady and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.

Alyce Mayo read stories to children from 2:30 to 4pm with a rapt audience.

Mark Rainey loaned his photos of the life cycles of the Bronze Copper and Cherry Gall Azure. Bruce deGraaf loaned his photos of backyard butterflies and a hummingbird nest with fledglings that he took at the Sanctuary. All were wonderful photos and enjoyed by all present.

Other members who attended included Tom and Cathy Dodd, Garry Kessler, Annie Reid and Dave Grant.

This wonderful Festival does much to broaden our outreach efforts with the hundreds of people attending, many with their young children. They all received a significant introduction to the world of caterpillars and butterflies which should serve us all well in the future. To quote Kristin in her message to the volunteers "Please feel good that you made a difference in the world. Imagine what might happen as a result of your efforts: a butterfly garden is born, a child begins a lifelong interest in butterflies, a garden caterpillar becomes an object of interest rather than something to be squished, a monarch caterpillar is raised and completes the journey to Mexico, a homeowner stops using pesticides. It s all possible."

Many thanks to all who volunteered and attended. Stay tuned for next year's Festival.

For and excellent blog "On Barbara and butterflies" written by Mike Land, click here.

Below are some photographs taken at the Festival. The photographs were taken by Elise Barry, Karl Barry, Dave Small, Gail Trenholm Howe, Kathy Hess Mills and Mike Land.
To see photos in a slide show, click here.

Mouse over photo to see captions. Click on photo to see larger image.