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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

CTMHV’s Butterfly Festival takes flight, despite rain


by Sylene Argent

The Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village’s (CTMHV) second annual Butterfly Festival got wind under its wings – and still attracted curious visitors – despite the rain on Saturday.

The event offered crafts and games, a vendors’ market, a Find the Fairy Scavenger Hunt, workshops and demonstrations, and – most importantly – a tour of the butterfly garden onsite that assists pollinators in thriving.

As a fundraiser for the butterfly garden, the CTMHV accepted donations from attendees to get a few youths and a summer student - dressed as a bee and butterflies - get bailed out of the jail onsite, a symbolic way of expressing that pollinators need help.

The CTMHV’s butterfly garden was implemented last year and has been expanded this year to increase the opportunity to help bees and butterflies flourish.

In addition, Leo Silvestri of Monarch Enthusiasts of Windsor, Essex, and Chatham Kent County was onsite to promote how his group increases the rate of Monarch Butterfly eggs surviving through to adulthood.

Silvestri noted he collects Monarch eggs from milkweed leaves and properly cares for them until they hatch. When they are ready, he releases them back into the wild. He said his method greatly increases their survival rate. He noted leaving them on their own results in around one to three percent of Monarch eggs making it to the butterfly stage. He said his method reverses that statistic.

He explained the importance of adding a garden with the right types of native plants needed, such as milkweed, is crucial for pollinators.

Silvestri and members of his group took it upon themselves to harvest millions of wild seeds, and clean them, so they can be handed out at special events to individuals who will properly plant them to assist pollinators.

His group attends 10 or 15 events from May to its Butterfly Fest in August.

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