Department Participates In Unique Outreach Opportunity at Butterfly Release

Person releasing butterfly

Adrian Fisher releasing his butterfly. Photo by Rob Williams

The air was filled with lots of butterflies as the Department of Entomology helped celebrate the fourth annual “Wish upon a Butterfly” butterfly release at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural Science on Saturday, July 25.

The annual fundraiser helps the museum, and also was an opportunity for members of the Department’s Entomology Graduate Student Organization and Dr. Juliana Rangel’s lab to raise awareness of how butterflies benefit humanity.

According to the museum’s website, the fundraiser pays homage and well-wishes to celebration, childhood wonder, the memory and presence of loved ones, and fallen or deployed service members. Some of the activities included live music performed by Joey McGee, a light brunch, and various children’s activities.

During the release, each participant received a butterfly in a small envelope and was asked to make a wish on each of their butterflies when they opened them up.

Person looking at an insect collection display

Visitors had the chance to speak to members of the Entomology Graduate Student Organization, as well as members of Dr. Juliana Rangel lab inside the museum until noon. Activities included live music and children’s activities. Photo by Rob Williams.

Rangel Lab member and grad student Liz Walsh thought the event was a great way to promote the lab and also to raise awareness about insects and entomology.

“This has been a really great event for everyone. Our lab has a big emphasis on outreach and this is one of many we do,” Walsh said. “This is a great way for us to talk about what we do with our observation hive, as well as honey bees and our research at the lab.”

She also said that the butterfly release was a great outreach for the children, as well as adults.

“It’s so great to have a fun event like this to make people aware of insects,” she said. “I thought it was neat to watch the kids that have never touched insects before.”

EGSO member Derek Woller said that the outreach opportunity is a perfect way for people to learn about the science of entomology in a fun way.

“I think focusing on insects at events like this brings focus to an area of science that some people shy away from,” he said. “With our outreach, we are showing insects in a very different light.”

Woller also said the favorite part of the event was working with the kids.

“I love working with the kids,” he said “Kids are crucial to establishing a good foundation for science learning. It’s great seeing the local families coming out and interacting with the insects in a creative and fun way.”

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