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…)

Fla. Museum to host fourth annual ButterflyFest Oct. 24-25, online registration now available

July 27th, 2009

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Join the Florida Museum of Natural History during its fourth annual ButterflyFest Oct. 24 – 25 for a weekend of fun activities focused on pollinator conservation and gardening.

ButterflyFest is a free, family-friendly event with activities and workshops emphasizing awareness and conservation of backyard pollinators and wildlife. This year’s event also features the first “Pollinator Photo Contest” with cash prizes awarded in junior and adult age divisions.

“ButterflyFest celebrates our living Rainforest exhibit and highlights the ongoing research conducted by our scientists in the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity,” said Douglas Noble, head of exhibits and public programs. “The fun, engaging atmosphere of the festival brings thousands to the museum to embrace our role in the conservation of pollinators.”

This year’s festival features wildlife research ecologist, author and artist Thomas Allen as the keynote speaker, as well as games, activities, workshops and tours for the whole family. (more…)

Fla. Museum scientist receives UF assistant professor excellence award

May 20th, 2009

Photo available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History Assistant Curator of Lepidoptera Keith Willmott recently received the 2009 Jack Wessel Excellence Award for Assistant Professors.

The award, given to 10 individuals at the University of Florida, recognizes outstanding achievements and the potential for future accomplishments by assistant professors. The provost selected the winners from those nominated by their college or unit. Each winner will receive a one-time award of $5,000 to fund his or her research.

“I was honored that the department chose to nominate me,” Willmott said. “It’s particularly gratifying to see that the value of the work done at our world-class museum is recognized at the university level.” (more…)

Crawl, climb and fly with ‘Amazing Butterflies’ at Florida Museum beginning June 13

April 1st, 2009

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This summer, the Florida Museum of Natural History invites visitors to transform into caterpillars and journey through one of the planet’s most amazing lifecycles at “Amazing Butterflies” June 13 – Sept. 7.

In “Amazing Butterflies,” visitors experience the challenges of being a caterpillar as it morphs into a beautiful butterfly through a hands-on human maze of larger-than-life leaves, grass and trees. Along the way, they discover the ways caterpillars move, what they eat and how other creatures help them achieve their transformation.

“The timing of ‘Amazing Butterflies’ couldn’t be better, since summer is when our local butterflies are most active and people can watch their magical lifecycle unfold in their own backyards,” said Florida Museum exhibits director Darcie MacMahon. (more…)

Butterfly mating behavior, evolution topic of Sunday presentation at Fla. Museum

December 3rd, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw may have her finger on the pulse of New York’s dating life, but when it comes to relationships of a more animal variety she has nothing on Andrei Sourakov.

Sourakov, collections coordinator for the Florida Museum of Natural History’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, will present “Fight and Flight,” an interactive film, lecture and discussion on the mating behavior and evolution of butterflies and moths at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

“Most people think butterflies are gentle creatures above earthly needs,” Sourakov said. “But they have urges just like humans and other animals.”

His presentation on the mating practices of butterflies will explain their human-like and sometimes aggressive patterns. Most butterflies are extremely selective about mating and base their decision on looks, strength and the scent of a potential partner. Some males will brawl with other suitors vying for the same female while others will go to the extreme of secreting a substance on a female partner that prevents her from mating with other butterflies. (more…)

Fla. Museum researcher receives $365,000 grant for butterfly conservation workshops

November 5th, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Imperiled butterflies across the U.S. may benefit in the coming years from a series of innovative workshops designed by a Florida Museum of Natural History researcher with over a decade of experience working to recover the endangered Miami blue butterfly in south Florida.

Jaret Daniels, assistant curator of Lepidoptera at the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, received $365,299 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in September. His winning grant proposes organizing and executing five training workshops over a three-year period through the Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management program.

“The intent of this program is to raise the bar for butterfly conservation,” Daniels said. “We’re targeting institutions that participate in butterfly conservation, or plan to do so in the future, but whose staff is limited by lack of information or experience; especially regarding techniques or methodologies for captive breeding and reintroduction of imperiled butterfly species.” (more…)

Rare fossil butterflies to be displayed during Fla. Museum ButterflyFest this weekend

October 15th, 2008

Editors note: A full schedule of events follows this release.

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History ButterflyFest visitors will have the opportunity this weekend to see four rare butterfly fossils not normally on public display.

The fossil butterfly exhibit is one of the many activities and workshops taking place during the museum’s annual butterfly festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Housed in the Florida Museum’s invertebrate paleontology collections, the specimens are four of about 50 known fossil butterflies in the world.

“Butterfly fossils are rare because they have extremely delicate exoskeletons,” said Florida Museum of Natural History Invertebrate Paleontologist Roger Portell. “Insect fossils are preserved under unique conditions.” (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…)

Advance ButterflyFest tickets now on sale for Oct. 13-14 event at Florida Museum

October 2nd, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History is now selling advance tickets to ButterflyFest, scheduled for Oct. 13-14.

The weekend butterfly festival, now in its second year, features a variety of activities for all ages including live entertainment, crafts and demonstrations, field trips and behind-the-scene tours, exhibits by area non-profit organizations, as well as vendors offering food and butterfly and garden gifts and plants.

“We’ve been receiving so many calls we decided to begin advance ticket sales now to help alleviate long lines during the weekend event,” said ButterflyFest co-coordinator Betty Dunckel. (more…)

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