ButterflyFest offers activities for all ages, including butterfly releases, plant sale

October 21st, 2010

(EDITORS: A complete schedule of events follows this release.)

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The fifth annual ButterflyFest at the Florida Museum of Natural History from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday features free, interactive presentations and activities the entire family will enjoy.

Visitors can listen to presentations about Project Butterfly WINGS, Honduran butterflies and moths, the Monarch Watch organization, worldwide honey bee decline and the migratory patterns of Monarchs. Gardening activities and wildflower walks as well as live butterfly releases will also be offered. (more…)

Monarch Watch program founder to speak during ButterflyFest Oct. 23-24

October 1st, 2010

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Bring your family and friends to hear one of the world’s leading experts on the migration of Monarchs during the Florida Museum of Natural History’s fifth annual ButterflyFest Oct. 23-24.

Orley “Chip” Taylor, founder and director of the national Monarch Watch program and University of Kansas professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, will give presentations both days.

From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 23, Taylor will discuss the Monarch Watch program, which he founded in 1992. From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 24, he will present “Migratory Patterns of the Monarch,” including information on how destruction of the Monarch’s habitat and natural resources is affecting its migration. (more…)

Florida Museum adds Friday butterfly plant sales; plan now for first gardening contest

July 27th, 2010

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Gardening enthusiasts now have an extra day to purchase butterfly-friendly plants during the Florida Museum of Natural History’s weekend sales.

The museum recently expanded its sale to include Fridays due to popular demand and to help gardeners prepare for the first ButterflyFest Gardening Contest.

“The plant sales have been extremely popular,” said Butterfly Rainforest assistant manager Jeff Hansen. “We decided to extend the plant sales an extra day for museum visitors looking to add a little more color to their gardens.” (more…)

Enter Florida Museum’s first ButterflyFest gardening contest Aug. 23 – Sept. 10

June 11th, 2010

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As part of the fifth annual ButterflyFest, scheduled for Oct. 23-24, the Florida Museum of Natural History will hold its first gardening contest.

The contest is open to residents with gardens in Alachua, Levy and Marion counties and all communities within The Villages. Initial judging will be based on garden photos and the written entry application, followed by site visits to the top gardens. Entries must be received Aug. 23-Sept. 10. An application and contest rules are available online, www.flmnh.ufl.edu/butterflyfest/garden_contest.htm. (more…)

Fla. Museum receives $500,000 NSF grant to curate Lepidoptera collection

November 10th, 2009

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two Florida Museum of Natural History scientists have received nearly $500,000 from the National Science Foundation to curate butterfly and moth collections in the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity.

Andrei Sourakov and Keith Willmott received the $495,989 grant to integrate the Ulf Eitschberger specimens from Germany into the McGuire Center’s collections and fund other projects for the center.

Sourakov said the three-year project will help solidify the McGuire Center collections as one of the best and most accessible in the world. (more…)

Fla. Museum, IFAS receive new NSF grant for butterfly education project

November 3rd, 2009

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The National Science Foundation has awarded $86,757 in additional support for Project Butterfly WINGS, a joint project of the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The funding will allow new web site content development, revisions to distance training resources and tutorials for 4-H agents, leaders and youth as well as additional activities and information for the program. It also will bring attention to the availability of the program’s recently approved national 4-H curriculum by increasing the number of instructor training workshops, conference presentations and program participants.

“This new award allows us to disseminate WINGS nationally and provide for its longer-term sustainability through the web site enhancements,” said Betty Dunckel, director of the Florida Museum Center for Informal Science Education. (more…)

Fla. Museum unveils new Lepidoptera education exhibits for ButterflyFest

October 23rd, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors attending the Florida Museum of Natural History’s fourth annual ButterflyFest this weekend will have an opportunity to experience the museum’s new interactive Lepidoptera exhibits.

The indoor butterfly and moth exhibits help visitors better understand the scientific value of the collections and the cutting-edge biological research that occurs in the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. The center holds one of the world’s largest butterfly and moth collections at more than 9 million specimens.

“In highlighting our research for the public, we hope to inspire young people to get involved in science,” said Darcie MacMahon, Florida Museum assistant director of exhibits. “These informative and interactive butterfly exhibits will make learning about butterflies and moths easier and even more fun.” (more…)

ButterflyFest this weekend features tagged monarch releases, plant sale

October 19th, 2009

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will release tagged monarch butterflies, hold gardening and photography workshops and feature expert speakers on a variety of gardening and pollinator wildlife topics during its annual ButterflyFest Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 24-25).

ButterflyFest is a celebration of all pollinators and encourages visitors to explore their role in our ecosystem through crafts, games and presentations. The festival also includes activities, entertainment, food vendors, workshops and tours for the whole family.

Florida Museum staff will release hundreds of Monarch butterflies both days of the festival. The Florida Museum is participating for the third year in the national Monarch Watch program, which tracks the butterflies’ migration to Mexico with citizen reports using tiny stickers attached to the butterflies’ wings. (more…)

Donation of Lepidoptera collection will boost biodiversity research

October 13th, 2009
Tom Emmel holds display case

McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity Director Thomas Emmel displays some of the 2.2 million butterflies and moths recently donated to the Florida Museum. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Jeff Gage

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A gift of more than 2 million butterfly and moth specimens to the University of Florida contains hundreds and possibly more than 1,000 new unnamed species, and will help researchers better understand biodiversity and environmental changes.

The gift to the Florida Museum of Natural History from Dr. William and Nadine McGuire of Wayzata, Minn., is valued at more than $41 million, and also includes funding for curation of the Lepidoptera collection, ongoing taxonomic and biodiversity related research, training of scientists and publication of books and relevant papers. The gift brings the number of specimens in UF’s collection to more than 9 million, one of the world’s largest.

“It is important that both the world’s scientific community and the general public recognize that one of the compelling issues of the early 21st century is the global threat to the present diversity of life on earth,” Bill McGuire said. “It is our belief that this threat to biodiversity demands a stepped-up educational and research effort on the part of universities and governments worldwide.”

UF President Bernie Machen welcomed the McGuires’ gift and said it speaks volumes about the university’s place in environmental studies.

“The McGuires’ support of biodiversity and Lepidoptera research at UF helps solidify the university’s major commitment to (more…)

Florida Museum to host national butterfly conservation workshop

October 12th, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host a workshop of 25 participants from across the country in the Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management program Oct. 27-30.

The program educates professionals from natural history museums, zoos and botanical gardens about butterfly conservation and recovery strategies. The workshop is the second in a series of five programs over two years that include intensive laboratory and field training sessions. Participants will work side-by-side with staff from the Florida Museum and other partner organizations.

“We are extremely excited about the tremendous diversity of program participants and institutions,” said Jaret Daniels, assistant curator of Lepidoptera for the Florida Museum McGuire Center of Lepidoptera and Biodiversity and one of the workshop leaders. “The corresponding synergy will go a long way to help strengthen imperiled butterfly conservation and awareness efforts nationwide.” (more…)

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