Butterfly House turns 20

PAUL SMITHS – At times elusive, butterflies are in abundance at the Paul Smith’s College VIC.

On Saturday, the VIC will celebrate the insects along with the Butterfly House, where many live in the summer months.

The occasion?

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Butterfly House, a brainchild of the late VIC naturalist Breck Chapin.

“The purpose of the Butterfly House is to educate people on the native species and plants that they’ll see around here,” VIC intern Ashley Kumburis said Thursday.

Kumburis said naturalists at the VIC net butterflies and bring them back to the house, where they live among plants such as white birch, black-eyed Susans, violets and milkweed.

“We’ll try to get a mating pair so we can show the whole life cycle,” Kumburis said. “People will be able to see up close what they might (not) see outside.”

Kumburis said the butterfly house will attract as many as 200 visitors in a day. Many of them are children.

Because of that, a big focus of Saturday’s celebration will be centered around family-friendly activities.

There will be butterfly-themed face painting for children from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., a butterfly search on the water at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., butterfly hikes at 1 p.m. and regular tours throughout the day, among other activities.

“We’re super-excited,” Kumburis said. “We have some fun crafts and games for kids to play, and we have some limited-edition anniversary buttons, too. It’s going to be really fun.”

The entire event is free, sponsored by the Friends of the VIC.