Butterfly

The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History presented their annual butterfly release, “Wish Upon a Butterfly,” on July 21 as monarch butterflies flew into the Bryan-College Station skies in front of the museum Saturday morning.

Although this is the museum’s sixth-annual butterfly release during the summer, it is the first time the museum presented the community with monarch butterflies. With an estimated 375 monarch butterflies, those who bought one got to whisper their wish and release their butterfly into the sky.

“I love the joy on the everybody’s faces when they see the butterflies,” Maria Lazo, associate director and education coordinator, said. “It’s just a magical moment and that’s my favorite part.”

Wishes ranged from making an A on a final to peace on earth; or for the butterflies symbolic meaning of rebirth, as people released their butterflies in the remembrance of a loved one Dr. Deborah Cowman, museum director, said.

“There’s an ancient butterfly legend that reads, ‘If anyone desires a wish to come true, they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it,” Cowman read. “Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish. So according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and granted.”

Wish Upon a Butterfly was rewarded as one of the most creative events by philanthropist, Denise Fries from Fries Financials, who offered the museum a grant and helped the event get started in 2012. Not only is this event used to make a wish, but to also show awareness of the conservation of butterflies and educate the community according to Cowman.

“It’s great because it’s a family event and so many kids get to come,” Dr. Rebecca Ingram, curator of exhibits and collections, said. “So many kids get to experience nature in a way that they might not be able to at home; and to see all the butterflies flying around our lawn is of course fantastic. It’s a great event to get the community involved with the Museum.”

The Wish Upon a Butterfly event got its name from a butterfly farm in Pennsylvania where the butterflies are raised and then shipped to the museum. The butterflies arrived around 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 20, and were kept cool and in a dark place until Saturday’s event. To ensure that the butterflies were safe and sound Cowman listens closely to the legs of the butterflies in a paper trifold box. The movement is an indicator that the butterflies will be ready for release the next morning Cowman said.

The event also included activities such as making a memory card, caterpillar crafts, face-painting, live performances and a catering service. The event also had organizations including Texas A&M’s Garden Club, Butterflies in the Brazos family and others who joined the event and set up educational booths for the attendees.

“We like the fact that the kids can get close to nature,” Alexandra Gonzalez, mother and local member of the BCS community, said. “I especially like that [the children] get to see the butterfly that is alive and the way it can fly away. They get to learn a lot.”

Tina Washington, mother and local member of the BCS community, also stated that she enjoys the hands-on interaction the kids receive during the event.

“[This event] is educational for the kids to know where butterflies come from,” Washington said.

“[In school] we have studies about [the butterflies] and here I can actually see how they look when they fly,” Washington’s oldest son said.

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