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Monday, December 04, 2023

About 4,000 people — some wearing butterfly costumes, carving pumpkins and tasting honey — attended the Florida Museum of Natural History’s seventh annual ButterflyFest this weekend.

About 500 native Florida butterflies were released during the event.

There was also a plant sale on the front lawn of the cultural plaza.

Florida Museum of Natural History’s public programs coordinator Catherine Carey said the most popular plant was milkweed.

“The plant sale is aimed at encouraging more sustainable landscaping and wildlife-friendly landscaping,” said Jaret Daniels, the McGuire Center assistant curator of Lepidoptera.

Another event was the Pollinator Photography contest award ceremony, during which Chappie McChesney, founder of the Alachua County Beekeepers Club, won first place in the adult division.

Volunteers became roving "pollinators," asking children trivia questions and rewarding them with hand stamps.

McGuire Center research associate Tom Neal said he was amazed by the number of people he spoke with at the festival who had never touched an insect.

“The first hurdle is to touch one,” Neal said.

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