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Old 05-10-2010, 12:08 PM   #1
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Default Two butterfly seminars and an event in one day -

Hello all -

Here's the setup; on the weekends and some evenings I work at a high-end nursery/greenhouse. One of the employees asked our GM if they could host a fundraiser at our Atrium for a child with CF; and when told it was a Butterfly Ball the GM got me involved. The mom of the child emailed and said she understood I was a butterfly expert and I quickly corrected her. I know more than the average person, but I am far from an expert. She mentioned that she hoped I could bring insects but . . .

I am the resident wildlife gardener. The bug 'n bird guy. So I was more than happy to sign up for this (he's a beautiful little boy who isn't even two yet). I am going to take a corner of the atrium and turn it into an all-Ohio native butterfly garden. I will have an enclosed gazebo where I am going to try and release painted ladies that I am going to try to raise.

Then, to top it off, management decided that since I am going to be doing all of this anyway . . . why not run two seminars in both of our stores on the same day!

So . . . I have to put together a butterfly garden using typical nursery stock . . . and I plan on driving home that you need hosts as well as nectar. I have to get my plant order turned in (and I am limited to working with two pre-determined vendors). I have to raise caterpillars. I have to write two seminars and prepare educational materials . . .

I do have some experience with this, but it has been some time ago. I ran an animal studies lab at a local university several years ago. That involved presentations.

For the ball in the evening, my wife is going to help dress it up - but I really want this to be a gorgeous display. It will be a semi-formal event.

So . . . I am more than scatterbrained right now. I'm staring at having to entertain and inform possibly hundreds of people in one day. So if anyone has thoughts or ideas on how to coalesce all of this into one tight presentation/show, bring it on . . . (event date is June 12).
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:24 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimSaupe View Post
Hello all -

Here's the setup; on the weekends and some evenings I work at a high-end nursery/greenhouse. One of the employees asked our GM if they could host a fundraiser at our Atrium for a child with CF; and when told it was a Butterfly Ball the GM got me involved. The mom of the child emailed and said she understood I was a butterfly expert and I quickly corrected her. I know more than the average person, but I am far from an expert. She mentioned that she hoped I could bring insects but . . .

I am the resident wildlife gardener. The bug 'n bird guy. So I was more than happy to sign up for this (he's a beautiful little boy who isn't even two yet). I am going to take a corner of the atrium and turn it into an all-Ohio native butterfly garden. I will have an enclosed gazebo where I am going to try and release painted ladies that I am going to try to raise.

Then, to top it off, management decided that since I am going to be doing all of this anyway . . . why not run two seminars in both of our stores on the same day!

So . . . I have to put together a butterfly garden using typical nursery stock . . . and I plan on driving home that you need hosts as well as nectar. I have to get my plant order turned in (and I am limited to working with two pre-determined vendors). I have to raise caterpillars. I have to write two seminars and prepare educational materials . . .

I do have some experience with this, but it has been some time ago. I ran an animal studies lab at a local university several years ago. That involved presentations.

For the ball in the evening, my wife is going to help dress it up - but I really want this to be a gorgeous display. It will be a semi-formal event.

So . . . I am more than scatterbrained right now. I'm staring at having to entertain and inform possibly hundreds of people in one day. So if anyone has thoughts or ideas on how to coalesce all of this into one tight presentation/show, bring it on . . . (event date is June 12).
Wow! You sure do have your plate full.

I hope the two locations are not too far apart! That is a lot to do in one day, but it might be nice to get it done once and for all. Also, with timing the butterflies right, maybe it is best to do it all the same day.

The science teacher at our school ordered painted lady caterpillars for the kids to raise. They came in a container with food on the bottom, basically all the kids had to do was observe them daily.

I have no ideas for the content of what you present, but, after reading your post, I started picturing a display of large, blown-up glossy photos of butterflies (and or all the stages of butterflies) and some native nectar and host plants. Even just one huge, oversized photo could have a nice impact. I'm not sure what your budget is, but I thought I'd throw my idea out there.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:35 PM   #3
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Could you use info from your local butterfly house as a core for your seminar? They may have a stack of handouts you could use too (?).

Here's a page of info from my local butterfly house:
MBG: The Butterfly House - Butterflies

And their educational info:
http://www.butterflyschool.org/
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:36 PM   #4
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If you are going to raise butterflies before June 12, you are really running out of time.

Maybe you can give out packs of milkweed seeds to accompany your talk about host plants. Everybody loves monarchs! I sold packets of milkweed seeds last year as a fund raiser in my school. There are lots of websites where you can buy milkweed seeds in bulk.

What if they sold chances (since it is a fund raising event) for some nice native plants? Just another idea. Or you could sell the milkweed seeds to raise funds.
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:45 PM   #5
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That's a great project, TimSaupe!
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:20 AM   #6
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I'll run through one way that I've given a butterfly gardening presentation to the general public (at a conference organized by a local Master Gardener organization for the general public) in hopes that it will give you some useful ideas.

It starts with the usual Intro and 'tell'em what you're going to tell'em' segment.

The next section is a review of the butterfly life cycle. I want to get an overall sequence of events in their mind and get some of the common words (caterpillar/larva, chrysalis/pupa etc.) out there so they can easily follow the presentation. A "typical" time frame for the sequence of events (egg - a few days, caterpillar - 1 to 2 weeks, chrysalis 1 to 2 weeks, adult form - 2 to 4 weeks) is included. I also work in a small intro to what a host plant is (every native butterfly has a native plant host) and why it's important. One goal in this section is to plant the seed that a butterfly garden is much more than a few pretty flowers that butterflies visit. I don't spend a lot of time on details in this portion, it's just to get the overall concept out there.

The next section is butterflies. This is one of two major sections. It's presented in a format similar to what you would find in a good field guide - a nice photo with descriptive and information sections. It's laid out somewhat similar to this:
Butterflies of the North Woods
(click on 'pages 82 and 83' on the bottom center of the webpage).
I don't show or discuss the detailed ID keys, I just want them to see the butterflies and provide some general info like the life cycle, caterpillar foods, adult foods, etc. Only the butterflies that have been documented in the surrounding area (maybe a 100 mile radius) are covered. Even that list is narrowed down to the most common 25 - 30 butterflies. I make it a point to tell them that they have a reasonable expectation to see any/all of these butterflies in their well planned butterfly garden.

The format allows you to take off on any detail that you want to present at any time, without losing the audience. The photos hold their attention and they are receptive to any details that you want to cover. One example: when I'm showing a slide of one of the butterflies that rarely nectars on plants, I point out that having the host plant is the best way to get this butterfly to their garden.

The second big section is the native plants. Both nectaring and host plants are covered. the format is very similar to the one for butterflies. Once again, the photos and info give them a general idea of the plant, and the format allows you to present details at a convenient moment of your choosing. If the photos of the nectaring plants have a butterfly on it, it really catches their attention.

If time permits, a butterfly garden design with the native plants that have been discussed would be a nice addition.

And finally, 'tell'em what you told'em' and answer questions.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:28 PM   #7
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How's the prep coming? Hope everything is going as you had hoped!

Don't forget to take a little time to enjoy some of the activities!
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:19 AM   #8
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Hey there - apologies as things have been major league nuts.

The garden has been built (we'll get pics once things settle down) and it has been a major hit. It is indoors in an atrium and management has decided they want to keep it up full time, they like it so much.

I have successfully raised about 30 painted ladies - they will be let loose in a netted, 100 sq ft gazebo tomorrow. Then I will attempt to catch them and release them Sunday morning.

I have two seminars to deliver tomorrow - one at 11am and the other at 2pm. Then the Cystic Fibrosis benefit starts at 6:30pm.

I am not getting much sleep and my stomach has been upset from the anxiety of it all for about a week now.

I have done seminars before, but it has been decades since I did one last. A friend of mine told me that I know what I'm talking about and my passion for it comes out every time I talk about it, but I'm concerned about getting my thoughts out in a linear fashion. So I may make myself a cheat sheet to reference.

Thanks again for asking - take care
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