Butterflies: Here Today, Flutterbys Tomorrow?
The Walton County Master Gardeners will be hosting butterfly expert, MaryAnn Friedman in Santa Rosa Beach on April 1. The program will be from 10 – 11:30 a.m. in the Community Room at Padgett Park located at 810 JD Miller Road, which runs north off US 98 just west of the intersection with US 331 in Santa Rosa Beach.
MaryAnn will give a beautiful digital photographic record of her experiences in the field searching for butterfly data and will offer suggestions on how to promote butterfly conservation.
The Florida Panhandle is home to some of Florida’s rarest species of butterflies. Our area offers a variety of different ecosystems and large undeveloped conservation tracts which harbor a rich diversity of wildlife. Many of these conservation lands have undergone huge changes from both manmade and natural factors.
We’ve become accustomed to enjoying the fall migration of monarchs, but will it always be this way? Most of our native butterflies seem to be thriving, yet certain species are in severe decline.
For three years MaryAnn Friedman of Niceville worked as the Western Panhandle Regional Coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Grant entitled: A Statewide Assessment of the Current Status and Distribution of FNAI’s Tracked Butterfly Species on Florida’s Conservation Lands. A team of biologists and a group of dedicated “citizen scientists” traveled across Florida to monitor existing populations and to seek out previously unknown populations of our most vulnerable butterflies, compile and map occurrences and draw some conclusions on management techniques which might be helping or harming various species.
These programs are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions. Soil sample supplies and instruction will be available.
Seating is limited and reservations must be made by calling Cheryl at 850-892-8172 by Monday before the event.