We have been exploring butterflies this summer as on ongoing 'project', and today we visited our favourite butterfly conservatory, the Naturium just outside of Kitchener, Ontario. The Naturium is actually part of a garden centre...over the past few years they have built a greenhouse that hosts butterflies from Costa Rica throughout the summer months, and also an educational centre where William and Charlie attended Bug University. Bug University is a wonderful (free!) program taught by a fabulous retired police officer, John Powers, who has spent all of his life studying butterflies and insects. He has a huge collections of butterflies and butterfly paraphernalia, much of which is on display at the Naturium. The kids spend 2 hours with Mr. Powers learning about and exploring butterflies through talks, movies, photos, and visiting the butterfly conservatory and gardens. This is another wonderful opportunity to learn about something from someone who is passionate about the subject, rather than just paid to teach it. The grand finally, of course, was coming home with a monarch caterpillar to watch its metamorphosis first-hand. Mr. Powers even found us a monarch egg, so that we will be able to see the whole life cycle right on our kitchen table ( pictures to come in about 40 days!!).
For anyone else out there interested in butterflies, the Naturium also hosts Butterfly Days on the weekends of September 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27, 2009 from 11am - 4pm. During Butterfly Days, families can come to the Naturium to take part in different activities including tagging and releasing monarch butterflies. I imagine that Mr. Powers will be on hand as well to answer any questions, and to share his love of butterflies.