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Friends of the Garden Reimagines 11th Butterfly Festival Amid COVID Concerns

Photo by Dr. Chris Barnhart A fun time learning about caterpillars and butterflies.

SPRINGFIELD – For the past decade, the Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene /Close Memorial Park has hosted thousands of gardening and butterfly enthusiasts of all ages for a day of celebrating pollinators during the annual Butterfly Festival. This year, however, will look a little different.

Due to public health concerns, organizers will take the free festival online July 13-18, providing a virtual educational and interactive space for the public to enjoy and learn about butterflies, as well as the Roston Native Butterfly House and the Springfield Botanical Gardens.

“This has been a disappointing year for many of us,” said Trysta Herzog, executive director of Friends of the Garden (FOG), the organization who oversees the event. “We didn’t want this to be just another thing that was cancelled, especially since so many kids across our region look forward to it each year.”

FOG will partner again with Young Sprouts in the Garden to host a series of online livestream events, tours, activity videos, social media costume contest and more on the FOG Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as the FOG website, with the hopes to generate excitement about our local pollinators and what we all can do to help preserve their habitats. Young Sprouts is a Master Gardeners of Greene County educational program for children.

“The Butterfly House is a cornerstone of the gardens and of our mission,” Herzog said. “We have a wonderful opportunity, and frankly a duty, to instill in the next generation an appreciation for just how necessary butterflies and bees are to our world.”

The Roston Native Butterfly House is now open to the public. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily — however, the schedule depends on volunteer staffing availability. Call the Botanical Center at 891-1515, ext. 2, to confirm hours. Admission is free, but capacity inside the Butterfly House is limited, based on current city orders.

The Butterfly Festival schedule of events will be posted on the Friends of the Garden Facebook page and on their website, You may also call 417-874-2952 or e-mail for more information.