New Life Emerges At CVHF’s Sunday At The Sanctuary
Small but mighty wings took flight for the first time as monarch butterflies were released at the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary at Old Farm Road on September 22.
The butterfly releases were part of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation’s (CVHF) free Sunday at the Sanctuary, called “Bees, Beetles, Butterflies, and Blossoms — A Day of Pollination.”
Lynn Rosenblatt, author of Monarch Magic, was onsite to talk with attendees about butterflies, and she had tree branches with hanging chrysalises on display. While some chrysalises were still shades of green, those that were just about to break open showed hints of orange and black wings ready to emerge.
Attendees visiting Ms Rosenblatt’s booth had the honor of being part of a male monarch’s first moments of life when he poked through his chrysalis and began unraveling his wings.
A young boy watching called out to name him Flame.
Flame’s “mom” was Teri Tevlin of East Hampton, daughter of Ms Rosenblatt, who said the butterfly was the 44th one she has raised to this stage this year.
After getting acquainted with her new monarch and letting Flame walk along her finger, Ms Tevlin placed him back on the tree branch where his chrysalis shell was, so he could continue drying off his wings.
CVHF educator Henryk Teraszkiewicz explained that a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis is part of the “e-close” process and that the butterfly will then move liquid from its abdomen to its wings to uncurl them. If the butterfly is not able to get its wings completely unraveled, it could cause the butterfly to be unable to fly.
As Mr Teraszkiewicz was speaking about the wonders of butterflies, 11-year-old Catherine O’Connor told him the exciting news that she had caught an untagged butterfly in the sanctuary’s meadow.
At the Sunday at the Sanctuary, families were invited to trek through the tall grass with aerial nets and sweep nets to collect insects to examine them, then return them back to nature.
Since the butterfly Catherine found did not have a Project Monarch tag identifying it for its migration to Mexico, she brought it over for monarch expert Sandy Schill to carefully tag and release it.
Throughout the event, Ms Schill also released butterflies that had been raised by the 5th and 6th graders from Reed Intermediate School, as well as ones she personally raised.
Dorothy Binette, 5½, was selected to help with a female butterfly’s release while under the animal sanctuary’s metal pavilion. With Dorothy's arm extended, Ms Schill placed the monarch on her arm.
“It’s so cool,” Dorothy giggled as the butterfly crawled up her arm.
The monarch made her way closer to Dorothy and the two shared a moment face-to-face with one another.
After that, the butterfly seemed to not want to leave her, and it took a few minutes for it to flutter away.
“That was amazing!” Dorothy said afterwards with a big smile on her face.
When asked if it was her first time having a butterfly land on her, she said, “Yes, but I hope I have a second time… I felt her feet — they were prickly. They tickled me.”
Dorothy wore a headband to the event that mimicked the look of a butterfly’s antenna and said that she thinks the butterfly stayed with her for so long because “maybe she thought I was a butterfly, too.”
“I hope she comes back to visit me,” Dorothy added.
Surely, Dorothy’s compassion did not go unnoticed to the butterfly and it is telling its friends of her kindness with hopes of returning after its migration.
Also taking place at the Sunday at the Sanctuary was a wildflower craft with Everwonder Children’s Museum, honey sampling with CT Backyard Beekeeper’s Jeff Schwartz, a bee craft with the CT Wannabees, bee house making with Girl Scout Troop 50611, and bug identifying with Dr Rayda Krell and her students from Western Connecticut State University.
There were also representatives from Pollinator Pathway and Protect Our Pollinators giving educational advice, the Newtown Rotary Club was onsite as a sponsor, ARK Charities came with adoptable pets, and attendees were encouraged to help restore the sanctuary’s meadow by taking part in flinging native wildflower seed balls from the CVHF’s giant sling shot.
For more information about the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation, visit cvhfoundation.org.