Students at the Liberty Community Center on London Road in Delaware got a hands-on lesson about nature Thursday when they released more than a dozen butterflies as part of a project with the Stratford Ecological Center.
Stratford and the community center have partnered together many times in the past as the community center has increased nature-based activities reported Liberty Community Center’s Marci Young.
Young said a few years ago a local Eagle Scout put in a dry creek bed and started a garden, and about five years ago, the community center began to partner with Stratford. She added volunteers would come read with kids or help garden, and the children would also make trips to Statford to learn about nature and gardening.
Over the past month, Young said children at the community center have been raising butterflies from eggs through their larva and pupa stages. On Thursday, they were released as adult butterflies.
April Hoy, education director at Stratford Ecological Center, said Stratford loved Young’s idea, adding kids can learn a variety of lessons from raising butterflies.
“(They get to see) what it is like to see something start from an egg all the way through to an adult,” Hoy said. “They learn about life cycles, how to take care of something, how fragile something can be, and how important each individual life is. From the butterfly we can talk to them about plants, what plants butterflies need to eat, and what they need to grow.”
Hoy added Stratford is planning to teach the children about what plants butterflies eat and hope to plant some at the community center to try and get the butterflies to return.
“So we can start to get into habitat and native plants, that’s the continuation for these guys,” she said. “We’ll plant some flowers and have the butterflies come visit. That’s what’s great about nature, through one living creature, you can be connect to the whole web of life, essentially.”
Hoy said she’s proud of the programs Stratford and the community center have done together, she’s particularly happy about the community garden the two organizations run at the center.
“We harvest and parents can take home the produce,” Hoy said. “We’re just trying to get the kids and their families involved in growing food.”
Hoy added Stratford also gives families free passes to come out and go hiking and visit the center.
“It’s a really great affordable family activity,” she said. “(Families can) hike trails, visit animals, and spend time together without any expense.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.