One of North America's most iconic—and increasingly threatened—butterflies takes center stage at Little River Wetlands Project's fourth annual Monarch Festival, to be held Saturday, September 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Eagle Marsh barn, 6801 Engle Road, Fort Wayne.
The family-friendly festival will feature educational displays and activities related to monarchs, many along a trail framed by 10-foot-tall native sunflowers. Visitors will learn about monarchs' life cycle, migration and threats to their survival. They may see migrating monarchs nectaring on Eagle Marsh's many native wildflowers. Varieties of milkweed, the only plant on which monarchs will lay their eggs, will be given away for planting in home gardens or at the preserve.
Inside the barn, displays will showcase live monarch caterpillars in various stages of growth. Activities will include face painting for kids, presentations on monarch wintering grounds in Mexico, and more.
As monarch populations dip precipitously lower, LRWP has worked even harder to create high-quality stopovers for the butterflies at its preserves. The Monarch Festival extends that work by showcasing the monarchs' plight, but also emphasizing what anyone—from home gardeners to farmers—can do to help.
"The more we understand these butterflies and their amazing journey, the more we realize the importance of conserving plants they need to survive," said Amy Silva, LRWP executive director.