NATIONAL LEARN ABOUT BUTTERFLIES DAY
On March 14th, National Learn About Butterflies Day encourages us to look for a blur of color as butterflies begin migrating across the country. Each year the celebration brings with it an awareness of the varieties of butterflies and their importance to our survival. Spring and summer are just right around the corner, so it is an excellent time to take a few minutes and learn something new about butterflies and appreciate their beauty.
Like bees, bats and other pollinators, butterflies make the difference between valuable fruits and vegetables on our tables. While we’re planting native flowers and trees, we’re also providing for our future. Pollinators such as the monarch butterfly and the honey bee have been in decline. All the reasons have not been identified. However, increasing the available habitat does help!
Butterflies need our help to survive as they rely on flowers and other natural sources for survival. We can help them by planting more flowers.
- There are more than 20,000 types of butterflies worldwide.
- Their wingspans can range from 1/2 inch to 11 inches.
- Butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year, depending on the species.
- Many butterflies migrate over long distances. Particularly famous migrations are those of the Monarch butterfly from Mexico to the northern USA and southern Canada, a distance of about 2500 to 3000 miles.
HOW TO OBSERVE LEARN ABOUT BUTTERFLIES DAY
- Read up on butterflies or find a good sunny spot to watch some.
- Plant a wildflower garden to provide a habitat for them. You won’t regret it. You’ll have butterflies to enjoy all summer long! To learn more about pollinator gardens visit Million Garden Challenge.
- Spend the day learning more about butterflies and creating an environment that is friendly to them.
- Watch a documentary about butterflies like Wings of Life directed by Louis Schwartzberg and narrated by Meryl Streep.
- Plant a variety of native flowers and plants.
- Provide a water source. The butterflies will drink from the damp soil and leaves when you water your plants, too.
- In the spring, don’t clean up dead leaves and brush too early. Wait until the temperature is consistently above 50°F. This will allow time for the species that overwinter in a chrysalis to emerge safely and without the threat of frost.
- Use #LearnAboutButterfliesDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL LEARN ABOUT BUTTERFLIES DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar continues to research the origins of this nature-loving holiday.
Q. What do butterflies eat?
A. They drink the sugary sweet nectar from flowering plants. However, their larva (aka caterpillars) eat the leaves of plants. The monarch butterfly larva, for example, eats milkweed exclusively.
Q. How long do butterflies live?
A. The lifespan of a butterfly varies by species. Some butterflies live only a day while others may live several months.
Q. Are butterflies and moths related?
A. Yes. Butterflies and moths are a part of the Lepidoptera order.