Fla. Museum scientist produces four new butterfly watching books

October 6th, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Families searching for a fun, inexpensive activity can delve into the increasingly popular world of butterfly watching thanks to a series of four publications produced by Florida Museum of Natural History lepidopterist Jaret Daniels.

Daniels is assistant director for research at the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity and also works in the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which published the “Florida Butterfly Encounters” series in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The four-booklet set sells for $7 and is available in the Florida Museum gift shops and online at www.ifasbooks.com.

“Florida is an ideal environment for butterfly watching because we have year-round sunshine, warm temperatures and a variety of native butterflies,” Daniels said. “These booklets are a great tool for anyone wanting to explore wild Florida.” (more…)

Fla. Museum to release tagged monarchs during ButterflyFest Oct. 18-19 Register online now for field trips, behind-the-scenes tours and workshops

October 6th, 2008

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will release tagged monarchs as part of its annual ButterflyFest Oct. 18-19, participating for the second year in the national Monarch Watch program, which tracks the butterflies’ migration to Mexico.

The Florida Museum of Natural History’s ButterflyFest is a celebration of wings and backyard things. This year’s key-note speaker is Robert Michael Pyle, award winning author and conservationist, and founder of the Xerces Society. Pyle will discuss some of his intriguing field adventures and the current status of butterfly populations and habitats – particularly in view of climate change fluctuation.

Registration forms for special fee-based field trips, behind-the-scenes tours and workshops during the weekend should be mailed by Oct. 10 and are available online, www.flmnh.ufl.edu/butterflyfest/ButterflyFest_registration.pdf. (more…)

Fla. Museum to host third annual ButterflyFest Oct. 18-19 at UF Cultural Plaza

June 3rd, 2008

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host the third annual ButterflyFest Oct. 18-19 at the University of Florida Cultural Plaza.

The free event features gardening and photography workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, butterfly and garden gifts, children’s activities and more.

“ButterflyFest is an engaging opportunity for people throughout North Central Florida to acquire the skills and tools needed to create a habitat in their own backyard for these marvelous insects,” said Doug Noble, Florida Museum head of exhibits and public programs. “Our native pollinators are essential to our survival and this festival is a fun way to learn and apply good gardening practices to attract wildlife in your own neighborhood.” (more…)

Fla. Museum hosts African-inspired performances Saturday during opening of ‘Inside Africa’ Live African butterflies to be released at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

March 11th, 2008

Editors Note: Complete schedule of opening day activities follows

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host a day of African-inspired programming from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday as it opens the temporary exhibit “Inside Africa.”

The programs demonstrate how this diverse continent has helped shape modern music and dance through a variety of programs. Visitors may create Africa-inspired art and crafts and test their geography skills and knowledge of the continent with games and other activities.

Events include a performance by the Duval World Music Drummers as they explore the styles and traditions of West Africa and the Caribbean, a dance and drumming presentation by the Makare African Dance Family, a talk by Mildred A. Hill-Lubin regarding the role that African culture plays in her life and a concert by the Fort Clarke Jazz Band. (more…)

Florida Museum’s display of new live African butterflies supports conservation Latest Rainforest arrivals complement upcoming ‘Inside Africa’ exhibit opening March 15

March 6th, 2008

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Grab a friend and head to the Florida Museum of Natural History where African butterflies are making a transatlantic debut in the Butterfly Rainforest. An added bonus? Your entry ticket helps conserve coastal forestland in Kenya.

The Florida Museum is testing the first arrivals from Africa now as it prepares for the “Inside Africa” traveling exhibit, which opens March 15 and runs through Sept. 7.

“This is the first time we’ve displayed African species, so we’re experimenting to see which ones will best survive the long journey and thrive in our Butterfly Rainforest environment,” said Tom Emmel, director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity.

Ticket sales will help support the Kipepeo Butterfly Project, a community-based enterprise that supports the livelihoods of people living around Arabuko Sokoke forest in coastal Kenya, East Africa. Since its establishment in 1993, the Kipepeo Butterfly Project has been teaching residents sustainable butterfly farming techniques and encouraging them to utilize wildlife protection practices. (more…)

Florida Museum’s display of new live African butterflies supports conservation Latest Rainforest arrivals complement upcoming ‘Inside Africa’ exhibit opening March 15

March 6th, 2008

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Grab a friend and head to the Florida Museum of Natural History where African butterflies are making a transatlantic debut in the Butterfly Rainforest. An added bonus? Your entry ticket helps conserve coastal forestland in Kenya.

The Florida Museum is testing the first arrivals from Africa now as it prepares for the “Inside Africa” traveling exhibit, which opens March 15 and runs through Sept. 7.

“This is the first time we’ve displayed African species, so we’re experimenting to see which ones will best survive the long journey and thrive in our Butterfly Rainforest environment,” said Tom Emmel, director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. (more…)

Florida Museum to open ‘Inside Africa’ traveling exhibit March 15 Butterfly Rainforest will feature live African butterflies

January 18th, 2008

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Journey into the heart of Africa and experience its people and rich cultural history with the new “Inside Africa” exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History, opening March 15.

Based on the permanent exhibit at the Field Museum of Chicago, the 6,000-square-foot exhibit takes museum-goers through a journey to selected sites on the world’s second-largest continent and offers a deeper understanding of the vitality, richness and significance of its people from historical and contemporary perspectives.

“Africa is the birthplace of humanity and is a vast continent with incredibly diverse and rich natural and cultural history, most of which is unfamiliar,” said Darcie MacMahon, Florida Museum of Natural History assistant director for exhibits. “We’re excited about the exhibit and our related programs, and their potential to inspire new family and community conversations. The opportunity to feature African butterflies in the Butterfly Rainforest is also a wonderful complement to the exhibit and a great way for visitors to experience African wildlife firsthand.” (more…)

Fla. Museum hosts ‘Butterflies and Moths in Contemporary Zuni Art’ exhibit

December 10th, 2007

Photo available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Discover how butterflies have influenced Zuni Indian art in a new exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History. “Butterflies and Moths in Contemporary Zuni Art,” is on display through 2008.

This temporary exhibit highlights the role of butterflies in the belief system and art of contemporary Zuni people, Native Americans who live in the high desert of the American Southwest. Many Zuni traditional arts feature butterflies and moths, and this tradition continues today in their fine arts, crafts and tourist art forms.

“From T-shirts to jewelry, butterflies have found their way into a broad array of Zuni folk art and fine art – sometimes whimsical, other times beautiful,” said Darcie MacMahon, director of exhibits for the Florida Museum. “These works echo the importance of butterflies and moths in many cultural traditions, and also make clear the lively nature of Zuni art today.” (more…)

UF’s new owl butterfly species naming rights auctioned for $40,800

November 20th, 2007

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — An online auction for naming rights to a new owl butterfly species discovered at the University of Florida brought a winning bid of $40,800, with proceeds benefiting continued research on Mexican butterflies.

Florida Museum of Natural History researchers George Austin and Andrew Warren discovered the new butterfly from Mexico’s Sonoran Desert earlier this year, and describe it in this week’s issue of the Bulletin of the Allyn Museum, a peer-reviewed journal produced by the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity.

The species’ new common name is the Minerva owl butterfly and its scientific name is Opsiphanes blythekitzmillerae, named in honor of Margery Minerva Blythe Kitzmiller of Ohio on behalf of her five grandchildren. The donor wishes to remain anonymous. (more…)

Fla. Museum to release tagged, live Monarchs at ButterflyFest Oct. 13-14

October 5th, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History plans to release about 500 live, tagged Monarchs during ButterflyFest Oct. 13-14, with the hope that some of these butterflies may be located in Mexico during the annual overwintering of this remarkable species, or back on the University of Florida campus next spring after their return trip.

McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity staff will release approximately 30-50 Monarchs hourly from the entertainment stage, accompanied by live commentary about the research project.

“ButterflyFest visitors will be participating in the start of a grand experiment,” said McGuire Center Director Thomas Emmel. “No one knows how they will try to transit to the Mexican overwintering grounds, because these are the first releases of locally tagged Monarchs in this area.” (more…)

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