GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As part of the fifth annual ButterflyFest, scheduled for Oct. 23-24, the Florida Museum of Natural History will hold its first gardening contest.

The contest is open to residents with gardens in Alachua, Levy and Marion counties and all communities within The Villages. Initial judging will be based on garden photos and the written entry application, followed by site visits to the top gardens. Entries must be received Aug. 23-Sept. 10. An application and contest rules are available online,

“The popularity of butterfly gardening has really taken off in the past few years and because creating a habitat for pollinators is part of the ButterflyFest mission, holding a contest just seemed like a natural progression for the museum,” said Butterfly Rainforest assistant manager Jeff Hansen.

The contest allows participants to contribute to the mission and goals of the festival by fostering a pollinator-friendly environment in their own backyards, schools, neighborhoods and communities. It is designed for amateur gardeners and divided into two categories: small gardens (up to 1,000 square feet)) and large gardens (larger than 1,000 square feet up to 40,000 square feet). Contest winners will be announced during ButterflyFest, with grand-prize and first-prize winners in each category receiving cash prizes and credit to the Florida Museum weekend plant sale. The museum also will display photos of the winning gardens during ButterflyFest and online for one year.

The museum will also hold its second annual ButterflyFest Pollinator Photography Contest. Photos must include at least one pollinator, (bat, bee, bird, butterfly or moth) and entries must be submitted Aug. 23 – Sept. 10. The winning photos will appear in the Gainesville Sun and be displayed at the Florida Museum and on the ButterflyFest website. The contest is divided into two categories, adults, ages 18 and older, and junior, ages 10-17. First-place winners in each category will receive cash awards and prize packages will be given to second- and third-place winners. For more information on the ButterflyFest photo contest, sponsored by The Gainesville Sun, visit

ButterflyFest activities include live butterfly releases, presentations, gardening workshops, family-oriented activities and more. This year’s festival features keynote speaker Chip Taylor, director of the national Monarch Watch program and University of Kansas entomology professor.

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Source: Jeff Hansen, 352-273-1898,
Writer: Vilma Jarvinen
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,