Recent Media Coverage

Monarch butterflies will be set free at festival

The Mirror

August 18, 2010

By Joanna Lavoi

Each year, thousands of beautiful Monarch butterflies congregate at Tommy Thompson Park before embarking on a 3,500-kilometre fall migration to Mexico.

On Saturday, Aug. 21 the colourful winged creatures will be sent off in style during the second annual Tommy Thompson Park Butterfly Migration Festival.

A celebration of butterfly conservation and biodiversity, the event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Sponsored by Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA), Ontario Nature, and Ontario Power Generation, the free-of-charge, family friendly conservation event will include guided walks through park meadows to view migratory butterflies and live Monarch butterfly tagging demonstrations by experts.

People can also plant native wildflowers and distribute native seeds as well as learn more about how to grow a garden to attract and sustain butterflies.

Expert entomologists will also be on hand to discuss insect and butterfly displays with people.

Nature lovers of all ages can also view birds of prey presented by representative from the University of Guelph's Wildlife Education and Environmental Education program.

Karen McDonald, a TRCA project manager, said Tommy Thompson Park has become a popular meeting place for myriad of butterfly species.

"As meadow enhancements continue and mature we are hoping to see an improvement in the number of butterfly species and their populations at the park. At the annual North American Butterfly Count, volunteers counted almost 200 butterflies of 16 species at Tommy Thompson Park, including the first record of a Wild Indigo Duskywing," she said in a news release.

"We are very excited about this sighting and look forward to celebrating butterflies and Toronto's amazing biodiversity at the second annual Tommy Thompson Park Butterfly (Migration) Festival."

Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature's executive director, said the festival is a great way for residents to celebrate the Monarch's epic fall journey to Mexico while learning more about conserving Ontario's butterfly species.

"Observing butterflies in their native habitat is a great hands-on way to learn about nature," she said, in a prepared statement.

"Kids are naturally attracted to butterflies because of their intriguing shapes and colours and their accessibility."

Tommy Thompson Park, also know as The Leslie Street Spit, is at the foot of Leslie Street at Unwin Avenue.

Free parking is available.

Public transit users should take the no. 83 Jones bus south from Donlands subway station to Commissioners and Leslie streets or the Queen streetcar to Leslie Street to reach the event.

A shuttle van will also run through the festival area. Bicycles and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Private vehicle and pets are not permitted in Tommy Thompson Park.

Visit www.butterflyfest.ca for more information and to register for some of the day's activities.

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