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June 3, 2014 > Butterflies, birds, and fun!

Butterflies, birds, and fun!

By Navya Kaur

We often take the vibrant and intricate process of life for granted, tending to focus on the product rather than the journey. However, itÕs all about the journey for birds and butterflies that metamorphose in eggs or cocoons, emerging as beautiful winged creatures that brighten tree branches with their color and sing-song chirps. Vital components of a healthy environment, unfortunately the number and diversity of species of these creatures in Bay Area landscapes is declining.

In an effort to increase awareness and inspire people about the need for urban gardens, Coyote Hills Regional Park is hosting its 15th annual ÒButterfly and Bird FestivalÓ on Sunday, June 8. What started off as a simple idea - to create the Nectar Garden, a plant demonstration garden for urban living established by Jan Southworth in 1998 Ð has expanded, inspiring local communities and schools to implement urban gardening reform programs into their curricula and events.

ÒJan read an article stating there were 70 to 100 different species of butterflies found in the San Francisco Bay Area around the 1940s and 1950s. Today, there are less than 12 species found,Ó says Coyote Hills Naturalist Dino Labiste. ÒThe biologists suggested people start urban gardens as restoration projects to provide human experience for interacting with wildlife in the Bay Area.Ó

Butterfly and Bird Festival attendees will have the opportunity to take part in various activities ranging from garden and bird watching tours, educational speakers, photo presentations, and other hands-on family entertainment. Activities will be focused on informing people about creating well-nourished urban gardens for birds and butterflies with unique needs.

ÒThe female monarch butterfly lays at least 1,000 eggs [on milkweed] in her lifetime and many of them donÕt survive,Ó Labiste said. ÒUrban gardens help increase the population by providing a habitat and a food source.Ó

Acterra Nursery of Palo Alto will help families get started with their garden through a presentation about butterflies and their native host plants. In addition to general information, the nursery will bring native flowering plants, such as the milkweed for purchase. Milkweed plants are closely associated with Monarch butterflies. In the Nectar Garden, visitors will have an opportunity to view monarch caterpillars. Lepidopterists Andy Liu, Stephanie Manning, and Sally Levinson will organize viewing tables for caterpillars and host plants. And for kids, booths to create butterfly and bird-themed crafts will be set up including face painting of a flower, insect, or bird.

In addition to presentations, activities, and educational information, musician Betsy Stern will provide entertainment. And, while listening to songs about nature, families can purchase a healthy meal provided by the San Francisco Soup Company.

The Butterfly and Bird Festival has grown each year but there is always room for more participants and attendees, so mark your calendar for a day to enjoy a day filled with entertainment, food, education, and fun with friends and family!

Butterfly and Bird Festival
Sunday, Jun 8
10:00 a.m. Ð 3:30 p.m.
Coyote Hills Regional Park
8000 Patterson Ranch Rd, Fremont
(510) 544-3220
Free Admission
Parking: $5 per vehicle

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