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Sunday Fun At The Sanctuary



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Her shadow mingling with butterfly wings beneath a boiling late September sun, Scarlett Suba swung her net after fluttering insects.

A step ahead of her was Mason Suba, with a small white moth already captured.

Up high in an open field above the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, Sunday, September 24, during the "Sunday at the Sanctuary: Mindful of Monarchs" event, the pair were among hundreds to chase butterflies, color and paint butterfly posters, listen to an author talk about her children's book, visit with one Sandy Hook resident who raises monarchs, dig into a pool of water searching for invertebrates, and more.

Education Director Henryk Teraszkiewicz glanced up the hill where families, nets in hand, searched the field - the sanctuary is now a MonarchWatch station, according to monarchwatch.org, he said. The site states, "Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Without milkweeds throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall. Similarly, without nectar from flowers, these fall migratory monarch butterflies would be unable to make their long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico."

Up in the field is a fresh trail, he said, watching as families swept at the plants and insects.

Around him were butterfly crafts, and pond scoops where children knelt beside pond-filled kiddie pools, searching through sunken leaves and debris for small insects, which are indicators of the water body's health. "It's all educational and fun, 'educationment,'" Mr Teraszkiewicz said.

Stealing the rare spots of shade, thanks to tarps thrown over the kennels, were rescue dogs, where many children crowded to pet them. Tara Nyari with BeCause4paws of Wethersfield introduced several Connecticut rescue pets to visitors.

Also spared from the sun was Sandy Hook resident Sandy Schill, a monarch expert with two containers at her feet. Inside them was evidence of the monarch's life cycle from butterflies she had raised this year. Of the 12 years she has been raising them, this year has had the most butterflies, she said.

Also catching the edge of the shade from a canopy over the kiddie pools was Mia Hochstetler, wrist deep in water collected from Hattertown Pond. Just a few feet away was Karolena Rafferty, taking the painted butterfly arts and crafts and setting them in the sun to dry.

San Francisco author Katherine Applegate was signing her recent children's books as the line of curious children and parents grew. Among books she signed was The One And Only Ivan, "Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself," according to one online book review. "He was captive for 27 years," she said, while signing a book for Jolene and Jack Brackett and mom Carrie.

At the booth next to Ms Applegate sat several children, all with their heads bent in effort as they painted and drew. Isaac St Georges was adding color to his cut-out butterfly's wings.

Catching eyes, including Mr Teraszkiewicz's, were two guests twirling in their own spots of shade with red, white, and blue. "Awesome umbrellas, or I should say, parasols," he said as they strolled by. He had been preparing to announce: "We just found a praying mantis and a monarch," touting efforts of those with nets in the field.

Learn more about the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary and Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation at cvhfoundation.org. According to the site, the foundation is a "charitable organization that supports projects and programs that best reflect and honor Catherine's memory, including the CVH Animal Sanctuary, Cornell Veterinary Medical School's Shelter Medicine Scholarship, Catherine's Peace Team, and Catherine's Cups of Kindness. The Foundation is determined to spread kindness through acts of compassion and acceptance." Catherine was among the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14.

The sanctuary, located beyond the dog park off Old Farm Road, was built "To honor Catherine's dream to care for all animals."

Jolene and Jack Brackett and mom, Carrie, of Newtown, step toward children's author Katherine Applegate for a book signing.
Mia Hochstetler inspects the pond debris for insects. -Bee Photo, Bobowick
Sandy Hook resident Sandy Schill talks about monarchs, their life-cycles and habits, and more, based on her 12 years of experience raising the butterflies.--Bee Photo, Bobowick
His work reflected in his sunglasses, Isaac St Georges adds bright red splashes of color to his butterfly. --Bee Photo, Bobowick
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