Well it's half-past winter and I can't wait to get out of this chrysalis. It seems that with every passing day I get a little more excited about butterfly season. Some of the native North Americans waited for "Onacheewa" the warm winds of spring and the winged messengers of the Great Spirit to return to his human children. They always did put a nice spin on everything.

Winter wasn't that bad in N.E. PA. or at least it didn't look that bad as I watched the reports from the Dominican Republic. Nice place the DR. They have a lot of great things down there. Cave dwelling butterflies, butterfly petroglyphs - yes can you believe it? Hispaniola embraces a rich history for entomologists. In fact the first insect report sent from the new world was written Tuesday, December 13, 1942 by ship's captain Christo Colon. You may know him: Mrs. Columbus' pride and joy, Christopher. It seemed that he and his brother Bart hung out in the Dominican Republic when they were busy discovering new worlds.

Since the meringue was not yet invented I guess they stayed because of the beautiful scenery, safe harbor, and the indigenous people still didn't have enough reasons to do away with them. I did get to visit Chris' tomb and felt very badly about it because I do try to keep up on things. Here I am standing at his grave and I didn't even know he was sick. Honest I would have sent a card had I known.

Spring is here and now it time for us all to emerge. Since some of you do not belong to the IBBA, let me bring you up to speed on what's shaking in the world of butterflies, at least as seen through the eyes of this adult child.

First of all The American Red Cross. These fine folks have been helping people for a long time in many ways. But Frankenmuth Area Director Eve Elliott came up with a novel idea. The Red Cross will be sponsoring Butterfly Programs and workshops.  By not only will your contribution help a lot of very deserving people, but you will be helping your community. Eve has arranged for me to be in mid-Michigan from April 6th thru the 13th. We will offer many types of programs to explain different types of butterfly gardens and habitat creation. On April 10th, I also will conduct a short course workshop on the art of rearing butterflies. If you attend any of these programs, not only will you take home the knowledge to create a beautiful garden to enhance your community, you will be helping our little winged friends where they need it the most. Winter is cold in Michigan so at least come out to see some live butterflies. And yes you can pet them, but gently. So if you want to laugh, learn, and help in the process, MEET ME IN MICHIGAN. And thank You Eve for this opportunity. Only she could come up with the idea of using Butterflies to help people.

Sure all the fine people of New Jersey are saying "Bless you Eve and all the Michigonians, but what about us". Well "VERY UNFORTUNATELY" I am forced to be at Barlows Greenhouse on April 17th.  I really hate to go there and every year I hope they won't call.  They are the nicest people you could ever meet. The plants are absolutely beautiful , and the ideas they so graciously share are amazing. So where is the problem?  I spend a fortune!  In fact, my garden looks like a little Barlows annex.  I may have to buy a larger car to just accommodate the  plants  from this next outing.  But believe me "Barlows is Worth it." The staff is always eager to help or explain and it seems that the demonstrations never end. If you are every in the vicinity of Sea Girt, which is a great vicinity to be in, stop by Barlows and check out the butterfly container gardens. They have some great ideas. Hopefully you can stop by on April 17th. We will be doing a children's program in the morning, and adults in the afternoon. This year, I think we will do an afternoon  garden stroll type of program.  Well maybe more of a stroll/laugh-session/Q&A/these-are-the-ones-you-want type of afternoon. It sounds like fun to me. I'll be a watching for ya.

May means Spread Your Wings and Fly. You meet the nicest folks at our seminars. It's always refreshing to meet so many people that are crazy about butterflies. Jack usually overdoes it planning the food and refreshments, but that's only half the fun. Philly is always pretty in May. I suggest West River Drive and Boat House Row, for a very nice afternoon. Then there's Pat's for cheese steaks, Termani's on 10th and Jackson for Canolli. Oh they are to die for. Don't forget to visit the live butterfly display at the Academy of Natural Science while you are in town. It's right down on the Ben Franklin Expressway. It's totally indoors, but if you're in Philly it's a should-see. A very nice accompaniment to the seminar.

In June we get rocking with the RainForest Ramble 99. I am looking for 18 educators who want to enjoy their way through Costa Rica. June 20th thru 26th I will once again host a natural history tour of this magnificent country. If you have never been out of the USA and are dying to visit rain forest, cloud forest, volcanoes, 873 species of birds, 1200 species of orchids. We chose those dates to accommodate teachers. You will learn a great deal about this wonderful place but you gain weight in the process.  You'll watch and learn about Volcano Arenal while soaking in a mineral spring. You'll visit dazzling gardens after another gourmet meal. Daily you will meet with Costa Rica's top experts in their fields. The group will be kept small and intimate. It's relaxed, it's fun, it's extremely informative. You will not require any type of shots, you can drink the water,  you don't even need a passport.  I warn you. You'll fall in love with the CR. It seems that no one ever goes to Costa Rica only once.

Check my schedule and please join me at any of my presentations. If your child comes home from school and says the Butterfly Guy is coming, stop by and see me. Many schools like to see parents attend day time programs. Families should really see the quality programs their PTAs provide for their children. Only public appearances are listed in my schedule but it doesn't mean I will not be in a place near you soon.