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Virginia Living Museum’s new Butterfly Haven and Native Plant Sale celebrate local species and biodiversity!

Virginia Living Museum’s new Butterfly Haven and Native Plant Sale celebrate local species and biodiversity!

Newport News, VA (August 30, 2021) –  Celebrate fall’s arrival at the Virginia Living Museum’s Butterfly Haven, a seasonal butterfly and moth exhibit!  Immerse yourself in the beauty of Virginia’s native species of butterflies and moths, displayed among a variety of their native host plants in the exciting new exhibit. To further support native butterflies, moths, and other wildlife, participate in the Museum’s Fall Native Plant Sale in September!

Virginia is home to many beautiful species of butterflies and moths. These important pollinators are experiencing a population decline due to deforestation, a changing climate, and heavy herbicide and pesticide use. The Museum’s Butterfly Haven connects visitors to native butterflies and moths to inspire conservation of these fantastic animals. The Museum actively participates in butterfly conservation efforts by actively tagging and releasing Monarchs for over 30 years, through many programs such as Monarch SAFE, Monarch Watch, the NABA Butterfly Count, and more.

The new Butterfly Haven provides the wonder of upclose experiences, see a zebra swallowtail sipping nectar, a Monarch caterpillar crawling on a milkweed leaf, and eggs spread along host plant leaves. Take a peek inside the Butterfly Haven’s puparium, and you may see a butterfly emerge from the chrysalis!  From egg, to caterpillar, to pupa, to butterfly- the entire life cycle of a butterfly is at hand in Butterfly Haven. Observe natural butterfly behaviors, like basking in the sun and perching, which is a male mating behavior, and butterflies and caterpillars snacking on nectar and host plants.

While butterflies choose nectar from a variety of sources, they’re a bit more selective when it comes to the plants on which they lay eggs and the plants the caterpillars eat. These plants are called host plants, which are also on display in Butterfly Haven. Native host plants are an important part of butterfly and moth survival.  For those who feel inspired, or want to add some native flair to their gardens, the Virginia Living Museum’s Fall Native Plant Sale occurs in September.

For the 35th year, the Museum will offer unique plant species for sale, including native Virginia Living Museum nursery-propagated perennials, vines, shrubs, and trees for local yard and gardens. Gardening with native plants not only creates a beautiful garden, it provides food and shelter for native wildlife, including pollinators found in Butterfly Haven. Imagine a Monarch visiting to lay eggs on your milkweed, or butterflies visiting to sip from your beebalm.  Native plants are also adapted to survive in Virginia’s climate and soils, so they may need less watering and fertilization, and be more resistant to diseases or pests.  For a helpful plant guide visit: https://thevlm.org/wp-content/uploads/Plant-Guide-Handout-2021-FALL.pdf

The Plant Sale will be both online and onsite. The Onsite Public Sale will be held over two weekends, September 18-19 and 25-26 from 9am to 4:30pm. The sale will be held on the Museum’s Conservation Garden Lawn and is free to the public, admission is not required.

Museum Members can participate in Online sales beginning Monday September 13, 2021 or enjoy the first pick of plants during the Onsite Member Preview Thursday, September 16, 2021 from 4pm to 6pm. Online sales to the general public begin Friday, September 17, 2021. All Online Sales will end at 5pm on Thursday, September 23, 2021. Plant pick-up for online sales is Saturday, September 25 and/or Sunday, September 26 between 10am and 3pm. Visit the Virginia Living Museum website: https://thevlm.org/events/shop-now/ for online sales.

Butterfly Haven is located alongside the Museum’s outdoor Virginia Garden, by the Wason Education Center, and is open daily 9am-5pm through early October 2021. Learn about butterflies and their conservation, and get your own garden involved by bringing some native plants home from the Museum’s Fall Native Plant Sale.

The Virginia Living Museum is a leader in the use of natural living exhibits (animals, plants, marine life, reptiles, amphibians, and birds) to present its mission—connecting people to nature through educational experiences that promote conservation. An independent 501c3 organization, the Museum is a successful public/private partnership with the City of Newport News and all guests. Accredited by both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum’s high standards are its hallmark, as only fourteen institutions share this designation in the country. It is a certified Virginia Green attraction dedicated to environmentally friendly practices. Located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News (I-64, exit 258-A) it is open 9 to 5 daily. Facial coverings are encouraged during Museum visits. For more information visit thevlm.org or call 757-595-1900. You can also find the Museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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