May 1997

We just finished mulching the butterfly garden for its spring debut. Remember Oak leaf mulch is the best, if slugs are a problem for you, but Tansy works wonders also. Spring, gardening and butterflies always seem to go hand in hand. After another Winter of worrying about the Monarchs, it feels good again to start digging in the yard to provide butterfly friendly habitat.

It's at this time many folks run out and buy the "notorious " butterfly houses. After placing them in their lepidopteran oasis, they are quickly disappointed when their guests do not arrive. They look great and add color to any garden, but many times they do not work. If you find yourself in this predicament, please consult the main menu and find out how to make them more effective. You will also find the listings of both nectar and host plants that butterflies crave and need. We want you to download, dig, and delight in your gardens, school yards, and public parks. Do not worry about having too many butterflies coming to your yard. That would be like complaining because the Lottery Money was too green when you won.

After a few hours of top soil, manure, and mulch, it is rewarding to sit back and enjoy what you have accomplished. To me, spring is always marked as the monarchs leave their wintering sites, assuring us that once again the circle will be unbroken . It is at this time, I can finally pause for a few moments and reflect on the happenings of the year gone bye. We were so fortunate to meet many of you through our seminars. How many times everyone hated to leave the lecture room because we did not want the day to end.

In that time so many of you have finally found your niches in the world of butterflies. Others, we only met through e-mail or through the WEB site discussion group. We hope to meet more enthusiasts and communicate directly through open forums. We will be announcing the times on our main page, and we sincerely hope everyone joins in. If you do not have any questions, please join in with your answers. There are so many wonderful people out there with excellent methods to this butterfly madness. We encourage everyone to participate in our global village block party.

It seems ever where I travel, more and more butterfly zoos and exhibits are opening around the world. These are wonderful places where young and old alike fall under the spell of these magnificent creatures. Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Mackinaw City Butterfly House the list goes on. They can be found from Guernsey to Kauai, and each one has it special charm.

Recently I was privileged to meet with many of the directors and suppliers of these establishments. We met in a congress hosted by Joris and Maria of the Butterfly Farm in Costa Rica. If you know butterflies, then you are already infatuated with the winged riches this tiny country has to offer. Orchids, Macaws, Volcanoes and friendly people. Costa Rica has it all. It was during this stay that I got to see presentations of the latest and best in butterfly exhibits. They are all beautiful. In fact they were so impressive that we want you to see and read about them personally. We at the WEB site will spotlight one of these facilities every month. When a new one is not opening, we will take you back to visit some of the more established facilities. With written descriptions and photos, perhaps we can take you there. We will also debut the newest kids on the block.

Behind the scenes of the great exhibits is an assembly of dedicated individuals. They make a daily difference in the lives of people that never get to see an exhibit. They are people such as Dr. Ian Gordon in Kenya, Francisco Serrano in El Salvador, or Augusto Mulanovich and Alfredo Rios in Peru. Through their efforts, indigenous people in various parts of the world can earn an honest living. It is all accomplished in an environmentally friendly manner that provides the participants with a decent standard of life. These courageous souls have gone unnoticed until now; every month we would like to highlight one of the butterfly projects around the world. We would like to show you various cases of "Butterflies Helping People".

If you would like to see this first hand, please come and join me Costa Rica.

I was so impressed with what I saw while visiting with Joris and Maria at the Butterfly Farm that we will be operating a tour there. Would you like to dodge Morphos as they glide past your head, or get that perfect photo of an Owl as it nectars inches away from your lens? There is plenty of excitement for birders also. If you would like a glimpse of what awaits you Please visit The Butterfly Farm at their site http://www.butterflyfarm.co.cr For more about our 7 or 10 day trips consult the main menu for details. If your group has a special desire such as white water rafting, we can address that too.

The most rewarding part of the past year however, was visiting with school children from all over the United States. I average 150 plus presentations per year. To stand in front of a group of wide eyed children makes one contemplate the thought of Heaven. How could it be any better. More and more schools are putting in butterfly gardens and habitats. The fortunate students and teachers at Steckle Elementary in Whitehall Pennsylvania went ahead and even built their own butterfly zoo. Their story can also be found through the main menu. If your school does a butterfly project send us the story and let us know about it. We would love to post your story also.

For this installment I would like to end by saying that every year I am involved with butterflies is better than the one before. As you have seen for yourself, butterflies enrich our lives, and instill a love for all living things . Without them, the world would be a colorless place without a soul. For as everyone knows; our souls become butterflies when we die. The bad people become Gypsy Moths.

Wishing You Warm Winds

Rick Mikula

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Last Updated: May 22, 1997: butterfly@mgfx.com
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