The Butterfly Guy brought his butterfly friends to Kutztown, much to the joy of local youth.
Children and parents packed into Kutztown Community Library for butterfly expert Rick Mikula’s presentation July 24.
Excitement was high and many found keeping quiet a challenge.
Grace Flyte, 6, Kutztown, brought her own chrysalis to the program and even had her nose tickled by a butterfly.
“We’re into butterflies,” said her grandmother Alice Flyte, Krumsville, who enjoyed seeing the butterflies and seeing the children’s excitement. “We raise butterflies.”
The lecturer and author from Hazleton dressed up as a butterfly to demonstrate how butterflies breathe, smell and taste.
“Adult butterflies, as well as caterpillars, breathe through a series of tiny openings along the sides of their bodies, called “spiracles.” From each spiracle, a tube called a “trachea” carries oxygen into the body. Butterflies don’t have noses and lungs as we do. Butterflies “smell” with their antennae. Many butterflies can taste with their feet to find out whether the leaf they sit on is good to lay eggs,” according to his website http://butterflywebsite.com.
When putting on the butterfly costume, his antennae had noses on the end to show their use for smelling.
Mikula talked about other butterfly facts from their life cycle to how the children can help butterflies.
“It’s more or less just to stimulate their curiosity and their imaginations and have them run around,” said Mikula.
Mikula hopes the children go outside and play in their gardens, “just like kids are supposed to do. Explore nature, have fun, run around and get sweaty. But in the process hopefully they’ll invent some great ideas.”
The program included how to create their own butterfly traps and habitats, as well as photos and information about various butterflies and the history of butterflies. He hopes the children want to go out and try experiments and investigate.
“The audience was magnificent. They laughed at all of the jokes, they were curious and they were anxious to apply what they learned,” he said.
He also encouraged the children to read.
“If you want to learn more you have to research your topic. You have to read and read,” said Mikula. “You have to be able to identify the caterpillar so you know what to feed it and to know what the adult is when it emerges.”
Mikula also suggested the children and parents go to his website for more information about butterflies, for suggestions on books to read and for free games to play. Go to www.butterflywebsite.com.