The University of Tennessee Arboretum Society will have its fourth annual Butterfly Festival on Saturday, August 3. Highlights will include a release of monarch butterflies, the UT Insect Zoo, speakers, and children’s activities.
The festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. August 3 at the UT Arboretum Auditorium and its surrounding grounds at 901 South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge.
The charge is $5 per carload, a press release said. This is a change from previous years. The gate will be open at 9:30 a.m. The event will take place rain or shine, the release said.
The event drew hundreds of area participants in 2018, the press release said. It is co-sponsored by the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center. It is designed for children and adults of all ages. Ample parking is available in designated areas of the UT Arboretum adjacent to the event, the release said.
The day’s highlight will be the release of 300 butterflies promptly at noon August 3.
“Please plan enough time for arrival and parking before the release,” the press release said. “It is suggested that butterflies be purchased early in the day due to limited supply on a first-come, first-serve basis. Children are invited to help release the monarch butterflies, which will be offered at a cost of $10 per butterfly to cover costs. Cash or credit cards will be accepted. For the safety of all, the use of butterfly nets at this event is strictly prohibited.”
Three speakers will give presentations in the air-conditioned UT Arboretum Auditorium. From 10-10:45, Stephen Lyn Bales, retired senior naturalist at Ijams Nature Center, will present, “From Egg to Migration: The Natural History of the Monarch Butterfly.” From 10:45 until 11:15, Bill Klingeman, professor of plant sciences at UT, will discuss “Pollinators in Our Landscape.” For children and adults, from 11:15-11:45, Shirley Raines will present, “Butterfly, You are Free.”
Children of all ages will enjoy experiencing UT Insect Zoo, a traveling exhibit of insects, the press release said. The goal of the Insect Zoo is to have fun while sharing knowledge of insects with others to help them appreciate the important role of insects in our environment. The Insect Zoo showcases preserved and live insects and arachnids (scorpion, tarantula, etc.) found in Tennessee and throughout the world. Two butterfly viewing tents will be open for a closer look at monarchs and other native butterflies, the press release said.
The festival will feature six local artisans and one native plant vendor, Lori McAllister of Tennessee Naturescapes from Clinton. She will bring a large selection of locally sourced nectar and larval plants for butterflies and other pollinators, the press release said. While supplies last, McAllister will give away one free pollinator plant (Joe Pye weed) per family with a child.
Vendors will have food that will include hotdogs, hamburgers, and lemonade; Middle Eastern fare; snowballs (an icy treat); and sliders and fries. Please bring refillable water bottles, the press release said.
Children’s craft activities will be available at a cost of $1 ticket per activity or $5 for six tickets. These include face painting and tattoos, decorating cookies, making picture frames, decorating butterfly magnets, and more.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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