This past Saturday, Gary Kempf conducted a Monarch Butterfly release at the Meade County History Museum. At least 67 people, 23 of which were children, were in attendance.
Monarch butterflies in the eastern part of North America make the long journey to the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico for the winter. Some fly as far as 3,000 miles to reach that destination, and the journey can take as long as two months to complete. Once they’ve migrated, they stay from October until late March before returning. Monarch butterflies are the only butterflies known to make a two-way migration pattern, like birds.
Guests this past Saturday were shown videos that explained the insects’ growth and migration patterns before heading outside to release the butterflies themselves.
Kempf removed the butterflies from their protective housings, and children lined up to release them on their migration journey to Mexico. Kempf placed the butterflies on either the fingers or noses of children, whichever they were more comfortable with. The butterflies flew away when they were ready, and some were a bit more reluctant to go than others.
Only 12 butterflies emerged from their chrysalis. With that in mind, the museum will be hosting another release this Saturday at 1 p.m. in the hopes that more are ready to fly.