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FEBRUARY 17, 2018 |

FEBRUARY 17, 2018 | DISCOVER! 4 | Nature At a Glance: WHAT: Pollinator Education Series - Native Butterflies and Moths WHERE: Dickinson County Nature Center, 2279 170th St., Okoboji WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 COST: Free CONTACT: 712-336-6352 ONLINE: Upcoming: Native Butterflies and Moths is just the first installment of the Pollinator Education Series. Next up will be Native Plants and Pollinators on March 26 followed by Native Bees in April. “The second one is about plants that help pollinators and in the third one we’ll actually talk about native bees, not honeybees, because honeybees aren’t actually native to Dickinson County,” Bryanna Kuhlman said. Armed with all this knowledge about pollinators, visitors can come back in October for the final installment of the education series: seed collecting. “If people want to create their own pollinating garden they can come collect seeds out here and take them home, or donate back to the nature center,” Kuhlman said. “If it doesn’t pan out because it rains or something, we will still probably do something inside about how to collect seeds and information on that.” RYLAN HOWE | STAFF WRITER Promoting pollinators Butterflies, moths highlighted at nature center Beautiful butterflies. Majestic moths. Both are vital pieces of the prairie ecosystem. During the first installment of the Dickinson County Nature Center’s new Pollinator Education Series, visitors will learn all about these colorful creatures. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the nature center. It is free and open to the public. “We decided to create the pollinator series this year to kind of introduce our new addition but to also dovetail into the plight of pollinators and how people can help,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, environmental education coordinator at the nature center. “We thought a good way to do that would be to educate about what native species there are here in Iowa.” When it comes to butterflies, there are actually about 70 species native to Dickinson County. “We’ll talk about native butterflies and moths and specifically what kinds you can find in this county, but we probably won’t go through all of them,” said naturalist Ashley Hansen. “We want it to be things the audience can know, relate to, and see in their own garden or backyard.” They’ll certainly be highlighting a subject popular among butterfly enthusiasts: the monarch. But there are also butterflies such as the Painted Lady and Red Admiral that will be highlighted. “We’ll talk about the differences between butterflies and moths, their life cycles, what plants they need such as host plants for caterpillars. And we’ll talk about ways to attract butterflies to your garden and what kinds of plants you would need,” Hansen said. Some of those differences include what plants are crucial to the life cycles of specific types of butterflies and moths. Also, typically butterflies are active during the day and moths are active at night, though there are exceptions to this rule. Some moth caterpillars may create their cocoon for winter and emerge in the spring, where certain butterfly species start the process in spring. They also perform different roles, pollinating different plants. They’re also part of the greater prairie ecosystem. “Bees and butterflies are important in keeping up the biodiversity of our prairie plant community and unique ecosystem,” Kuhlman said. “The bees, the plants, the butterflies. They all go together.” “For this first one we’re hoping people get a better idea of what specific butterflies and moths they can find in the area and that some are struggling with decreasing numbers. It’s good for the public to know and what they can do to help with that,” Hansen added. Come ready to learn cool things about the moths and butterflies in backyards all around Dickinson County, and how to help protect and promote these pollinators and their unique roles in the prairie. F Okoboji | Iowa

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