Campus is in bloom with butterflies

September 14, 2018

See nature in action at the Environmental Interpretive Center’s gardens.

A large patch of purple milkweed flowers in the EIC's garden. There is a Giant Swallowtail, a light yellow and black butterfly, settled on the milkweed.

This is one time you’ll be glad to be led down the garden path.

A dozen or so butterfly species — including the Monarch, Giant Swallowtail and Red-spotted Purple Admiral — are all a-flutter in the Environmental Interpretive Center's natural areas.

The EIC’s gardens are full of butterfly food favorites like milkweed and aster. As the butterflies descend upon the gardens — the plants provide food, shelter and a safe place to lay eggs — Natural Areas Manager Rick Simek says visitors are the ones who reap the rewards.

Butterfly at EIC

They are so colorful, and watching them go from plant to plant is mesmerizing. Not only are we rewarded by their beauty, it’s also good to know that we are doing something right to help them,” Simek said. “With development destroying habitats that house their food sources, it’s important to find ways to give them the nectar they need. As you can see, they do appreciate it.”

Simek said butterfly activity is at its peak now. And with the Monarch fall migration approaching, it won’t last much longer.

Located on the north end of campus, visitors can explore the EIC’s natural areas from sunrise to sunset. Simek encourages faculty, staff and students to take a break before the butterflies take flight for good.

“It’s good to get away from the office for a few minutes to recharge,” he said. “ We have benches and a council ring where you can take a seat. We also have paths if you like to take a walk on your lunch.”

Can’t stop by the gardens? Check out the video to catch a glimpse of some of Simek’s favorite butterflies.