During the month of April, the garden opened its gates to a major migration of butterflies, birds, and spectators. The month-long event included a series of activities and presentations for young and old. To kick off the event, the garden hours were extended daily from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm with coffee and donuts for the “early birders.”
Events included live bats, birds, and butterflies, shows for the kids including make and take arts and crafts, evening presentations, guided bird tours, all culminating in a native butterfly release at the end of the month.
With more than 300 children visiting the Garden throughout the month with their families made this migration the most successful event yet.
Noted guest speakers: Dr. Stuart Pimm, renowned conservationist; Dennis Ollie; Dr. Mark Minno, noted butterfly specialist; Cyndi Marks, Director of the Florida Bat Center; Phillip Hughes, recovery biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service; Maya Totman, bird rescue specialist. All gave programs geared for adults and children.
Also, Phillip Hughes, bird ecologist, and Dr. Mark Whiteside, President of the Keys Audubon Society, lead several guided bird tours throughout the month. More than 132 species of birds were identified at the Garden including the very rare Western Spindalis, the Indigo Bunting, and the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and 12 species of butterflies including the Giant Swallowtail, Gulf Fritillary, Large Orange Sulpher, and the Monarch.
The month was highlighted with a special one-night showing of “Winged Migration” at the Tropic Cinema on Wednesday, April 27th.
A special thanks goes out to the Curtis & Edith Munson Foundation, Chicago Title of the Florida Keys, The Key West Citizen, and Smart Choice Funding who sponsored the event, the guest presenters and speakers,and all of the volunteers involved who helped make this happen.
Also to be mentioned were donations given by local businesses that include Ben Franklin Crafts, Fairfield Inn, Rent Key West, the Wyndham Casa Marina, The Key West Butterfly Conservatory, Lobo’s, and Salsa Loca, Martha Robinson, Paradise Lending, and Jeff DeMott.