Butterfly Garden at Science Museum of Western Virginia transitioning to an ecosystem

By Lezla Gooden - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - The Science Museum of Western Virginia is switching its international butterfly display to a U.S.-based display.

The butterfly garden is being transformed into a self-sustaining ecosystem for butterflies, vegetation and insects. The exhibit will now only feature butterflies from the U.S. The museum is searching for ways to reduce the cost of international butterfly chrysalis, which are similar to cocoons.

“The tropical butterfly exhibits are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture. And one of the things (they) do is try (to) limit the reproduction that takes place in those exhibits,” said Derek Kellogg, scientific director of the Science Museum of Western Virginia. “Because of that you are constantly having to bring more and more butterflies in the chrysalis stage. And we were bringing in between one and 250 chrysalises each week.”

This new type of exhibit would allow the butterflies to naturally reproduce based on the plants that are in the exhibit.

This change will mean there will no longer be an extra cost to see the butterflies. It will now be included in the science museum ticket.

The museum is also looking to obtain more citizen involvement to help with the new ecosystem, and is always looking for hardworking volunteers.

The reopening will be sometime this fall. 

For more information on upcoming events, click here.

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