Learn about the butterflies and moths found in Dickinson County

Five families of butterflies call Dickinson County home, including 70 different species.

But how much do you know about them?

Naturalist Ashley Hansen will teach people about the native butterflies and moths of the Iowa Great Lakes area during the first program in the new Pollinator Education series 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.

“They will be butterflies and moths people can see in their backyards and gardens,” Hansen said.

Photo of a monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

The program will go through the life cycle of lepidoptera — the order of insects that includes butterflies and moths, the differences between butterflies and moths, specific species’ host plants and how people can attract these beautiful creatures to their yards. She will specifically look at monarch butterflies and other common species seen in the area.

(Tell the difference between butterflies and moths.)

“I’ll also talk about what time of year they’re likely to be seen and what plants will attract them,” Hansen said. “I think it’s important to know what butterflies and moths we have here because some are struggling. It’s important we know what plants we can include in our gardens to help them.”

Photo of orange butterfly milkweed plant

Butterfly milkweed

Although youth are welcome at the program, the Pollinator Education series was created for adult audiences.

“We wanted to find a way to reach out to our adult audience and have something they would enjoy,” Hansen said.

(Read about the monarch life cycle.)

The Pollinator Education series will include two other programs: A look at native pollinator plants 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22, and a session on native bees at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26.

“I wanted to highlight our efforts in the pollinator community,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, Dickinson County Conservation’s environmental education coordinator.

Dickinson County Conservation has worked hard to stress the importance of pollinators and the impact that they make on our food supply. One in every three bites of food that you take is due to the pollination of insects, and a variety of conservation board programming revolves around the importance of these creatures.

(Test your monarch butterfly knowledge.)

The Dickinson County Nature Center also has a new addition under construction called Pollinator Paradise. As funds are raised for the $1.2 million addition, children’s museum-quality exhibits on butterflies, bees and other pollinators will be installed to help educate as well as entertain youth and adults.

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