Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Save the date to celebrate wings and backyard things at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s sixth annual ButterflyFest Oct. 22 and 23.

The free event includes tagged Monarch releases, plant sales, special presentations and much more.

“ButterflyFest is the museum’s signature event,” said Jaret Daniels, Florida Museum assistant director of exhibits and public programs. “We hope visitors will have a fun experience and learn something about pollinators and their importance to the environment and humans.”

Last year, more than 5,400 people interacted with local non-profit organizations, listened to presentations from Monarch Watch Director Chip Taylor and participated in hands-on activities during the two-day festival.

“This year, in addition to highlighting pollinators, we will highlight the importance of biodiversity,” said Florida Museum educator coordinator Kendra Lanza-Kaduce. “We plan to showcase the work of various museum research collections to illustrate the importance of all life on earth.”

The museum will also host the third annual Pollinator Photography Contest, which promotes awareness of local pollinators. Photos must include at least one pollinator, (bat, bee, bird, butterfly or moth) and entries must be received between Aug. 22 and Sept. 9.

Winning photographs will appear in The Gainesville Sun and on the ButterflyFest website, and will be displayed in the museum.

The contest, which had more than 120 entries last year, is divided into two categories: adult, ages 18 and older; and junior, ages 10-17. First- and second-place winners in each category will receive cash prizes and third-place winners will receive Butterfly Rainforest tickets.

For more information about the ButterflyFest Pollinator Photography Contest, sponsored by The Gainesville Sun, visit or call 352-273-2061.

Admission to the museum and ButterflyFest presentations and activities are free. There is an admission fee for the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit.

Food, merchandise and other vendors will also be at the festival and may charge for their services. The museum does not have an ATM machine, so visitors are encouraged to bring cash if they would like to purchase items from vendors. Rainforest admission may be paid via cash, credit card or debit card.

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Source: Jaret Daniels, 352-273-2022,
Writer: Leeann Bright
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,