It was a wonderful weekend for the Williamsburg community and its many visitors when the combined forces of the Williamsburg Botanical Gardens and the Historic Rivers Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists offered a Butterfly Festival event at the gardens. Crowds lined up outside the tent to visit the display and to take an up-close and personal look at some of Virginia's native butterfly species. There were over two hundred butterflies in the tent, including monarchs, viceroys, mourning cloaks, swallowtails, and painted ladies. Everyone who attended was amazed by the beauty and the complexity of these gentle creatures. The event also included children's crafts and several speakers. Master Naturalist and butterfly organizer Catherine Short taught over 50 children how to make an origami tent in which a painted lady chrysalis was placed. The tents were then taken home so the families could watch the butterflies emerge sometime within the next ten days. Helen Hamilton of the John Clayton Native Plant Society spoke about native plants that host and draw butterflies. Angela Zappalla, graduate researcher at William and Mary, spoke about the plight of the monarch, and Joni Carlson, butterfly enthusiast, taught visitors how to raise butterflies in their home gardens. This was a truly amazing butterfly event, one that the sponsors hope to repeat in the future.
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