Naturalist and educator Becky Lash will be giving an informal presentation about Monarch butterflies at the Woods Hole Public Library. Becky, who has been a third grade teacher at the North Falmouth School, has for more years taught entomology at the Woods Hole Children’s School of Science, introducing decades of kids to the delights of insects.
Since late August Becky has maintained a butterfly enclosure at the Library, first bringing in milkweed branches with a few tiny eggs hiding under the leaves. Over time they have hatched, chewed and grown their way through several instars to become huge caterpillars, which have climbed to the top of the netted tent, hung in a J shape, and formed a chrysalis. At one time there were several dozen of the exquisite pale green chrysalises bordered with golden spots hanging from the top of the enclosure. In two weeks they emerge as richly toned orange and black butterflies, and are released.
Every week, often several times a week, Becky has resupplied the milkweed and tidied the tent. So far, the Library has released more than 20 adult Monarchs into the surrounding gardens and flowering shrubs. There are still more metamorphosing. Hopefully some will be ready to be released during this event.
The Library has been coordinating with two national monarch programs. In one, they have been tagging the adult monarchs just before release, so the butterflies can be tracked. In another, Journey North, young visitors to the Library will take part in a simplified art project, a symbolic migration ; their drawings will eventually be sent to children across the country and into Mexico where monarchs over-winter. This project will immediately follow Becky’s program.
This event, which is free and open to the public, is aimed at children, but adults are certainly welcome. For more information, call the Library at 508-548-8961.