Patricia Byrd-Pritchett of Williamsburg has been passionate about butterflies for years. Saturday, the second-grade Matoaka Elementary School teacher’s love grew even more as she was surrounded by butterflies of all shapes, colors and sizes at the Williamsburg Botanical Garden’s Butterfly Festival.
“The first thing we’ve done is visit the butterfly tent,” said Byrd-Pritchett, who was visiting the event with friend and fellow teacher Karen T. Armstead.
“Part of our science unit at school is to do the butterfly life cycle,” Byrd-Pritchett said. “Of course that’s my favorite thing, and we do all these neat little activities for the children.”
Funded by the Williamsburg Area Council of Garden Clubs, the Butterfly Festival was put on by the Williamsburg Botanical Garden in partnership with the Virginia Master Naturalists Historic Rivers Chapter to celebrate their 10 year anniversaries.
The idea was generated by previous butterfly-related programs, says Karen Jamison, chairwoman of Williamsburg Botanical Garden.
“For several years, WBG has been sponsoring butterfly programs in the garden,” said Jamison. “A tag and release program of the Monarch butterflies became a signature program for our organization. Last year, we were contacted by a Virginia Master Naturalist, Catherine Short. She provided the tent with over 200 native butterflies for children and adults to see up close.”
Located on a 2-acre piece of land within Freedom Park, The Williamsburg Botanical Garden was established in 2005 as part of a memorandum of understanding signed with James City County. It is a Community Demonstration Garden that provides educational and recreational programs to the Williamsburg Community.
“I hope that people take away that butterflies are very important to our ecosystem,” said Short. “They’re very worthwhile and when we use insecticides, it not only kills the insects we don’t want but it kills all the insects.”
Apart from the butterfly tent, other highlights of the event included independent activities for children, educational programs for families, children, and adults, as well as tables with information on local nature groups.
The will festival continue from 9 a.m. to 5.p.m. Sunday. It is free and open to the public; however $5 donations are appreciated.
The Williamsburg Botanical Garden is in Freedom Park, located at 5537 Centerville Road, Williamsburg.
For more information, visit williamsburgbotanicalgarden.org or call 880-1893.
MaHan can be reached by phone at 757-298-5838.