Education

Turtle Back Zoo and Essex County Environmental Center Host Butterfly Exhibits

e9351d7f66169d4353bb_DSCF3125.JPG
A Black Swallowtail Butterfly. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
10119a73c63e24d823d4_DSCF3117.JPG
Monarchs and Morning Cloaks nibble on watermelon. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
e40b16a50eb07b58d00c_DSCF3119.JPG
Credits: Cynthia Cumming
5b7aaffa3db273d6d581_DSCF3121.JPG
Several different types of chrysalises. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
985e44770fc7cdc027d5_DSCF3122.JPG
Painted Lady. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
ef9e31b2f7801c2701ff_DSCF3145.JPG
David Alexander, Senior Naturalist at Essex County Environmental Center. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
cb991b74e477bc117e81_DSCF3132.JPG
Monarchs mating. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
1b60463266b81555fefa_DSCF3134.JPG
A Monarch enjoys some gatorade. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
cda17f979f994b209676_DSCF3141.JPG
A young visitor is enthralled with a Black Swallowtail. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
e38701688d2e84552a82_DSCF3146.JPG
Caterpillars eat a huge amount of food everyday... here a Black Swallowtail caterpillar on view has eaten this much in only a few hours. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
e9351d7f66169d4353bb_DSCF3125.JPG

WEST ORANGE, NJ-In the midst of summer heat and humidity, there is something very cool going on at Turtle Back Zoo and the Essex County Environmental Center.

"A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam,
And for a brief moment, its glory and beauty belong to our world...
But then it flies again, and though we wish it could have stayed...
We feel lucky to have seen it. - Unknown

Standing amid the hundreds of butterflies at the Turtle Back Zoo and Essex County Environmental Center exhibits is an incredible experience. Butterflies fly about you, landing on your shoulder and eating from a stick saturated in gatorade.  They nibble on watermelon, and flutter gracefully amid the plants and foliage, creating a moment in time for visitors that is both exhilarating and calming.  

Sign Up for E-News

Our butterfly journey began at the Butterfly Tent exhibit at Turtle Back Zoo, where Acting Director Brint Spencer described how the exhibit was established.  There were four types of butterflies in the tent, purchased from a breeder in Florida: Monarchs, Giant Swallowtails, Morning Cloaks, and Painted Ladies. In addition, a huge case full of butterfly chrysalises was located in the middle of the exhibit, where visitors could observe the metamorphosis process from chrysalis to butterfly.  

Butterflies have an average life span of 5-14 days, but in that short lifetime, they manage to travel huge distances, mate, and keep the species going.  The tent has about 600 butterflies, and the number remains fairly constant. Knowing that the Butterfly Tent was a safe haven where they would be well cared for and appreciated made the experience for the adults and children that visited even more satisfying. There is an additional $2.00 fee to enter the tent.

While the Butterfly Tent at Turtle Back Zoo provided the 'wow' factor, with hundreds of butterflies and plants, the Essex County Environmental Center opened their Butterfly Tent Safari today with about 100 butterflies and plenty of educational information for visitors.  The Center had mostly Monarchs, Painted Ladies and Black Swallowtails, and they were also in the process of netting local moths and butterflies to add to the tent.  The Center purchased their butterflies from a breeder in New York.  They provided visitors with foam sticks dipped in gatorade for butterflies to sip, saying that it was a nutritionally safe nectar substitute.  

Outside the Environmental Center, several 'butterfly friendly' plants and bushes were growing, like the milkweed plant (Monarchs), Mallow (Painted Ladies) and other nectar plants like black-eyed susans, beebalm, purple coneflower, coreopsis, sweet pepperbush, and buddleia.   

David Alexander, Senior Naturalist at the Environmental Center, described the special room set aside which ran videos of the metamorphases process and provided information about butterflies in general.  A black swallowtail caterpillar was available for inspection with a magnifying glass, along with slides and microscope.  A small cage with swallowtails in metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly was also set up.

There is a suggested donation of $2.00 to visit the ECEC tent.

For more information on Turtle Back Zoo, go to http://www.turtlebackzoo.org.

For more information on the Butterfly Tent and the Essex County Environmental Center, to: http://www.essex-countynj.org/winter.php‎.

 

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Local Children Invited to Register for Essex County Summer Camps

February 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Children of all ages are invited to participate in spring and summer camp opportunities at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, Essex County Codey Arena and the Essex County Environmental Center.

The zoo has several weeklong camp adventures that will introduce children to the extraordinary world of animals, nature and science. Campers and their parents/guardians are ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_f1e8b21af9d26c31d2e7_unnamed__8_

Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

West Orange High School (Tarnoff Cafeteria), West Orange

44th Annual Orange West Orange UNICO Sports ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_f7d9574673b2c2041627_unnamed__4_

Sun, February 25, 12:00 PM

AMC Essex Green, West Orange

The 2018 West Orange Classic Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment

Celebrate Your Health this Nutrition Month

February 21, 2018

Dear Editor,

This year, we learned that the number of Americans at risk for heart attack and stroke just got a lot higher.  An estimated 103 million adults have high blood pressure, according to new statistics from the American Heart Association, and about 39.7 percent of Americans have high cholesterol.  With March being National Nutrition Month, it’s a great time to ...

Free Cardiac and Concussion Screenings for Young Athletes

February 22, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes (MJM) at RWJBarnabas Health will provide free cardiac and concussion baseline screenings to young athletes on Saturday, March 3, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Mountain Recreation Complex, Codey Arena, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ.

When preliminary testing to identify serious cardiac ...

Shouts of Racial Slurs During "Black Panther" Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  

 

The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...