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July 2015

July 2015 Newsletter

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Using a Butterfly Net for Citizen Science

Remember when a bug catcher and a butterfly net were one of your first pieces of equipment to explore the natural world? It's never too late to re-discover that sense of excitement - by participating in a butterfly count!

Butterfly counts were started up years ago through the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) as a way to survey the status of our native butterflies. Citizen science projects such as butterfly counts allow everyone to get involved, not just the experts. You'll have a chance to learn from others, and the numbers you contribute help scientists to gain long-term data about distribution and population status of native butterflies. 

If you want more of a faster-paced event, try a Dragonfly count! These have been gaining in popularity over the recent years since "ode-ing" (the practice of watching Odonates, a.k.a dragonflies & damselflies) has become akin to butterfly-watching. In fact, many people are contributing first-time records of some species in certain areas, species that were once thought be rare or uncommon, since now more people are out there and involved.

One of the newest types of insect counts to gain popularity is National Moth Week. Forget about chasing butterflies with a net - all you have to do is turn on a light (black lights are usually used) and sit back in your chair and let the moths come to you. This night-time activity let's you keep exploring after the sun goes down and the moths wake up!
 
With pollinators in the news, bees and butterflies (day-flying bugs) are getting most of the attention, which makes sense: these animals are well-known and well-studied. When it comes to night-flying pollinators – moths – we have little-to-no data regarding their status.
 
This is in part why National Moth Week was created: what started out as a nation-wide citizen science project soon turned global, and anyone who wants to spend a relaxing evening watching moths can contribute to useful data gathering on these important insects.

Contact your local nature club to inquire about an insect count in your area, or visit the Toronto Entomologist's Association website for a list of this year's counts. Check out the National Moth Week website to learn more about moths or find a public event, or create your own private moth-ing event! Here are a few that are coming up in our area:
  • Butterfly Count: Saturday July 18. Huron Natural Area: Kitchener.
  • Dragonfly Count: Sunday Aug. 9, Pelee Island. 

The goal of citizen science counts such as these is to learn and have fun at the same time. They are often family-friendly as well, a great way to get the kids hooked Not only is it a great way to get outside, enjoy some fresh air and discover the amazing diversity of life in your own backyard (or beyond) - you can contribute to valuable research regarding insects in your area.

Butterfly of the Month 


The Rothschild moth (Rothschildia orizaba) is native to Central and South America. Belonging to the Saturniid family of silk moths, it is a tropical cousin to our famous Cecropia and Polyphemus moths. They all have large, fuzzy bodies and wide wings.

Butterfly Photo Safari


As you explore the Conservatory, use your camera to go on a hunt for the perfect butterfly photo and share on our hashtag #butterflyphotosafari  View submitted photos on our webpage!

Delicious Summer Menu


Our Executive Chef has unveiled his new summer menu! Rave reviews have already been pouring in about the Smoked Prime Rib Burger and Twisted BLT sandwich! The Cafe is open 7 days a week, 10 am - 4 pm.

Summer Guided Tours


We are pleased to offer daily summer programming for visitors. Come for our kid-friendly activities at 11 am, & guided tours at 1 and 3 pm. Read more online or call for details to plan your visit!
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