by Sandy Swegel
I have friends who are serious eco-tourists. They were the first people I knew to swim with dolphins. Then they starting swimming or boating with whales, petting them and picking lice off whales. This year the trip de rigeur was down to Mexico where you can be surrounded by tens of thousands of flying monarch butterflies. We mere humans don’t have wings, but down in the monarch migration zones, it’s almost like having wings. My friends were awed and literally touched by clouds of fluttering butterflies. They appreciate and LOVE butterflies in a new way now.
The best thing about butterfly love? Or bee love or whale love? It’s going to be what saves species. When I was a kid, studying butterflies involved using straight pins to pin dead butterflies to styrofoam blocks. Kids now go to nature camps or butterfly pavillions or good schools and become so aware of what magical creatures butterflies are that children become society’s butterfly protectors. Last summer a friend wasn’t watching where she was going and was going to accidentally stomp on a butterfly as she was tromping in the garden. One of the kids playing nearby wailed “Stop! Watch out! There’s a butterfly!”
So, find some ways to experience butterflies up close. In Denver, we’re lucky to have a Butterfly Pavillion. Almost as intense is a 3-D IMAX movie, “Flight of the Butterflies” now showing around the country. Saving species, or saving the world is really pretty easy when the first step is learning to love our earthly companions. The kids will explain it to you.