Butterflies, bees and bugs, oh my! All will be in residence at KWEC’s annual Butterfly Festival from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 23. In addition to everyone’s favorite activities, “The Instars” will present their “Butterfly Magic” show, according to Pam Martin, Education Specialist for Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks at 592 NE K-156 Highway, Great Bend, Kansas.
Martin said that butterfly fest entertainers Steve Craig and Amy Short, will use large doses of humor and magic to interpret the butterfly life cycle. Craig and Short present to schools, libraries and festivals in a four-state area from their home base in Missouri.
“So far, this year promises to be a much better year for the monarch butterfly migration, as millions undertake their annual fall flight to Mexico,” Martin said.
Nets and tags will be available for those who want to capture and tag monarch butterflies. Participants head out into the flower-filled fields and shelter belt around KWEC to hunt monarchs, with tagging leaders stationed along the trail to help with the tagging process. For the past several years, monarchs tagged at the event were recovered at three Mexico roost sites.
New this year, the Butterfly Festival is a Kansas OK Kids event through a grant from Wildscape, an organization promoting outdoor opportunities for kids. The grant provided funds for a wide selection of outdoor-related prizes for children! Randomly assigned, prizes include items from insect nets and carriers to field guides, nature vests and t-shirts and exploration kits.
Weather permitting, a demonstration beehive will be on display in the insect zoo, in addition to giant walking stick insects, butterflies, caterpillars, chrysalises, fluorescing scorpions and more. Kids can make a fun pom-pom caterpillar magnet at the craft station in the multi-purpose shelter, get a temporary butterfly tattoo and take part in other games and activities.
Also on view, the butterfly/pollinator garden provides wildflower planting ideas to use at home. Milkweed plants and wildflower seeds will be available free until they run out. When you need a break, stop by the refreshment table and have a home-baked cookie or two, and lemonade or iced tea.