Butterfly Festivals

This weekend there are butterfly festivals in Kansas City MO and Dallas TX. And there is a possibility that in the years ahead, there will be a butterfly festival in Muskogee at Honor Heights Park.

Friends of Honor Heights Park has set a goal of creating a teaching garden and butterfly house in the park. The designer provided an animated tour of the proposed garden that you can watch at http://www.friendsofhhp.com/Friends/Our_Goals.html.

Friends received a foundation challenge grant and now needs the support of the community. In order to receive the grant funds, Friends of HHP has to raise $200,000 through memberships, grants and donations.

You can help by joining or by making a contribution by credit card at www.friendsofhhp.com, or, by mailing a contribution to Friends of Honor Heights Park, 4211 High Oaks, Muskogee OK 74401.

The educational and recreational benefits of such an addition to Honor Heights Park will be limited only by the imagination of teachers, families, plant enthusiasts and environmental groups.

Events such as weddings and reunions could be held inside the fenced area, gardeners can learn about plants, and children could learn the value of caring for the environment. It will be a multigenerational attraction.

The Festival of Butterflies at Powell Gardens, near Kansas City, is a celebration of the beauty of butterflies and moths. The Festival runs from August 6 to August 15.

We attended the first weekend. The park was filled with families, school groups and area residents. In fact, a horticulturist told us that the usual weekend park attendance is 1,200 but during the Festival of Butterflies, park attendance averages 20,000 per weekend.

The entrance to the park was extended by an outdoor butterfly breezeway. It is actually a greenhouse structure with doors at each end. Three weeks before the Festival, they put the netted breezeway in place and filled it with butterfly attracting plants. Local butterflies moved in and the doors were put up. Children and adults were in awe.

The Powell Gardens conservatory is filled with purchased tropical butterflies for the two weeks of the Festival. At the end of the event, the remaining tropicals will be shipped to permanent butterfly houses in Wichita KS and St. Louis MO.
There are dozens of family activities at the Festival. A woman dressed as a butterfly formed a parade with children who had made wings and butterfly headbands.

Groups of children played musical instruments around the splash pad. For $3 a child can paint a flower pot that a volunteer put a small plant in.

Monarch Watch has a plant filled, netted structure at the Festival. Monarch butterflies flit among visitors and through the mist provided by an overhead pipe. Net cages hold caterpillars eating plants and chrysalis hang from branches.

For more information see www.powellgardens.org or call 816-697-2600.

The other Butterfly Festival this weekend is on Saturday at the Texas Discovery Garden, Butterfly House and Insectarium. Their Butterfly Festival includes educational booths, plant sale, crafts, classes and butterfly talks from the Dallas County Lepidopterist Society.

For more information see http://texasdiscoverygardens.org or call 214-428-7476.

The proposed Teaching Garden and Butterfly House for Honor Heights Park will be similar to the greenhouse size butterfly breezeway at Powell Gardens. The water features and the Teaching Garden area will make it a distinctive attraction. With community support, it will become a reality.

On September 28, Friends of Honor Heights Park is holding a membership drive and fundraising event. The $10 admission includes food, drinks and music by the Heather Nelson Trio (http://heathernelson.net). Check out the Friends website or come to the event to learn more.

For more information about the fund raiser call Connie Stout 918-682-6783.


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