BUTTERFLY RELEASE CELEBRATION
September 13, 2020
Small Creature, Big Journey
Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies leave their summer breeding grounds in the northeastern U.S. and Canada and travel upwards of 3,000 miles to reach overwintering grounds in southwestern Mexico.
The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do.
Decreasing day length and temperatures, along with aging milkweed and nectar sources trigger the migration.
Unlike summer monarch generations that live for two to six weeks as adults, adults in the migratory (fourth) generation can live for up to nine months.
Monarchs rely on instincts to know where they need to migrate to, but scientists are still unsure which instinct the butterflies rely on. Some possibilities are celestial cues (the sun, moon, or stars), earth’s magnetic field, landmarks (mountain ranges or bodies of water), polarized light, infra-red energy perception, or some combination of these cues. Of these, the first two are considered to be the most likely cues that monarchs use to navigate.
If the monarch lives in the Eastern states, usually east of the Rocky Mountains, it will migrate to Mexico and hibernate in oyamel fir trees. If the monarch butterfly lives west of the Rocky Mountains, then it will hibernate in and around Pacific Grove, California in eucalyptus trees.
Butterfly Release Celebration
Sunday, September 15, 2019
The purpose of this annual celebration is to...
Educate participants about native butterflies, pollinators, and their importance to the environment.
Inspire people to make better choices to help preserve all pollinators and increase their populations.
And most importantly,
Offer opportunities for children and adults to be outside engaging with nature, enjoying quality family time, and experiencing the beauty of hundreds of butterflies lifting off in flight.
Come tag a monarch butterfly! The Monarch Watch Tagging Program is a large-scale citizen science project started by the non-profit Monarch Watch to help understand the monarch's fall migration through mark and recapture. During Beech Creek's the event, visitors will actually be able to place the adhesive tracking tag on a butterfly's wing!
Insect & Pollinator Parade
Show off your best butterfly costume in our Insect & Pollinator Costume Parade great for all ages! Dress up as a butterfly, bee, another pollinator such as birds or bats, or any insect you'd like. The insects and other pollinators will "migrate" along the parade route on our grounds and end at the butterfly release site just in time for release! Children who both dress in costume and participate in the parade receive first priority when we distribute butterflies for the release session that follows. We will have some costume butterfly wings ($3-30) and insect accessories ($2-6) available for purchase on the day, but here are a few DIY butterfly wing tutorials to get you started!
Help us release hundreds of butterflies throughout our release event! Release tagged monarchs for migration as well as all our other butterfly species so that they may contribute to the local environment. It'll be a sight you won't want to miss!
Tagging 12:15-12:45 pm
Parade 1:15-1:30 pm
Release 1:30 pm
Tagging 1:45-2:15 pm
Parade 2:45-3:00 pm
Release 3:00 pm
Tagging 3:15-3:45 pm
Parade 4:15-4:30 pm
Release 4:30 pm
Tagging: Caterpillar Nursery
Release: Log Playground
Tag and release sessions are first come, first serve.
No reservations necessary.
It is possible for visitors to both tag and release a butterfly or even multiple butterflies throughout the event depending on butterfly availability per session and crowd size.
Otherwise, visitors may be limited to either just tagging or just releasing, one butterfly only for the entire event.
We will do our best to provide a hands-on memorable experience for all visitors!
A young visitor assists with the monarch tagging process during the Butterfly Release event at Beech Creek Gardens.
A tagged and released monarch butterfly rests on a pink zinnia flower before beginning its long journey to Mexico.
A young visitor holds a released monarch butterfly at the Butterfly Release event at Beech Creek Gardens.
Tag & Release Opportunities
This event will occur on the scheduled date weather permitting. Please check our website closer to the event date for updates. The rain date for the event is Tuesday, September 17, 2019 from 2-7 pm.
If the event occurs on the rain date:
The Butterfly House & Caterpillar Nursery will be closed on September 16, 2019. The rest of the grounds & facilities will still be open on the 16th, and admission will be $5 per person, free for ages 2 & younger, free for members.
On September 17th (Release Day), admission will go back to $8 per person, free for ages 2 & younger, free for members.
Fall hours and admission will begin on September 18, 2019.
For more information about general admission, please visit Hours/Admission/Contact.
Hands-On Interactive Areas
Native Ohio Butterflies
Design a butterfly mask perfect for the parade!
Create a foam butterfly necklace
Take a photo in front of huge whimsical butterfly wings!
Craft a cute caterpillar from a paper plate
Paint your face like an insect or a pollinator!
Write an inspiring message wishing the Monarchs a safe journey to Mexico on our "bon voyage board" shaped like a massive postcard
Make a monarch lollipop holder
Grasp the scale of the monarch migration by viewing their migration route on a giant map of North America
Make a pollinator stamp collage
Play a fun game demonstrating wind pollination
Pretend to be a pollinator with a fun relay game!
Learn about the annual monarch migration and the importance of tagging butterflies for research from our Butterfly House Director, Jim Nero. Hear about his first-hand experience seeing the monarchs in their winter site in Mexico!
Jim Nero, Butterfly House Director
Jim has always been a nature lover and has been an avid gardener for over 35 years. A retired engineer, he has been the director of the Butterfly House & Caterpillar Nursery at Beech Creek Gardens since its inception 12 years ago. He is an Ohio Certified Nursery Technician, an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist, and a former Master Gardener Volunteer. He is the author of Butterflies & Blooms of Beech Creek.
Monarch Migration 12:30-12:45 pm
Bees 1:45-2:00 pm
Monarch Migration 2:30-2:45 pm
Bees 3:30-3:45 pm
Learn about the large number of bee species, their lifestyles and their ways of collecting pollen. There will also be information on some of the native plants that you can plant to feed the bees.
Julie Edwards, Ohio Certiﬁed Volunteer Naturalist and Pollinator Specialist
Julie is a retired Judge, having served in the Stark County Family Court and the Fifth District Court of Appeals for a total of 24 years. In her retirement, she has pursued her interest in protecting the environment by becoming a passionate advocate for bees, the most important of the pollinating insects, and for the native plants that nourish them. Julie has taken classes to become an Ohio Certiﬁed Volunteer Naturalist and a Pollinator Specialist.
A huge thank you to Bel-Air Senior Living for providing shuttle service.