Jamestown, N.Y. – With extended hours for working folks, the Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) Monarch Butterfly Festival is largely moving outdoors this year to be super COVID-safe.
This annual summer highlight is Saturday, August 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you stay till the closing, you can watch the Monarchs when they are released to begin their migration to Mexico.
The one indoor activity included in the event will be a Monarch room filled with flowers and free-flying butterflies. On arrival at the Festival you can sign up for your own limited-admission time slot to experience the butterflies up-close.
Face coverings are required for everyone inside and outside at the festival, regardless of vaccination status.
Audubon education staff will present hourly programs about the Monarch life cycle and migration in the outdoor Stephanie Frucella Education Pavilion. You can examine the Monarch life cycle from egg to larva (caterpillar) to pupa (chrysalis) to adult butterfly. Watch citizen scientists tag the Monarchs to track their migration to Mexico.
Check out the butterfly garden plants for sale, enjoy great food from 3 C’s Food Truck, choose from a wide selection of family-friendly gifts available for purchase in the Blue Heron Gift Shop, have your picture taken as a giant caterpillar or butterfly, walk the trails, and get a temporary Monarch tattoo.
A new opportunity at the festival this year will be the Prendergast Library’s tent. Library staff will be giving out free books, doing crafts, and having story times every hour. They will also have their Makerspace stations that relate to different elements of STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
You can also enter the basket raffle for a chance to win some great prizes, including hand-made Monarch Butterfly artwork, or your own butterfly garden.
Explore the butterfly and other outdoor gardens, the Ted Grisez arboretum, and when you visit Liberty, Audubon’s resident Bald Eagle, you can see the progress on the construction of the new Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat.
Since 2005, Audubon staff members and volunteers have raised hundreds of Monarch Butterflies from eggs found on Audubon’s grounds to help support Monarch Butterfly populations. The Monarchs are carefully tagged with tracking numbers to assist with national efforts to track the Monarch migration prior to their release into the wild.
Audubon’s Monarch-themed educational programs have encouraged many others to raise Monarchs on their own to ensure the species’ survival.
This year, ACNC is helping to raise monarchs from eggs collected from the surrounding area including eggs collected by Chautauqua Institution’s own Betsy Burgeson. Burgeson has done incredible work at the Institution, introducing a variety of butterfly-friendly plants to the grounds. An avid Monarch fan, she has helped Audubon with collecting and raising the many Monarchs that will be released at the festival.
Sponsors for this year’s Monarch Butterfly Festival include: Frucella’s Income Tax Service, Wegmans, Ashville General Store, Jamestown Kitchen and Bath, and Courier Capital Inc.
In addition, for helping make this event possible ACNC thanks Audubon Community Partners Curt and Susie Westrom, Carnahan-Jackson Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Holmberg Foundation, Hultquist Foundation, Jessie Smith Darrah Fund, Lenna Foundation, Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, Bush Industries, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Scott Electric Foundation, Hal and Mary Conarro, Metallic Ladder Mfg. Corp., Univera Healthcare, and Whirley-Drinkworks!
The Monarch Butterfly Festival could not happen without the dedication of many volunteers, some of whom are registered with RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
Festival admission is $8, or $6 for Nature Center members and children ages 3-15. Two and under are free, as is parking.
Festival proceeds directly support Audubon’s Monarch Butterfly research and educational programming.
Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa. To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345, visit AudubonCNC.org, or find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook.
Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature by providing positive outdoor experiences, opportunities to learn about and understand the natural world, and knowledge to act in environmentally responsible ways.