Atalas on NSU campus, October 2009
This gorgeous "freshly minted" atala was photographed by Dr. Joshua Feingold on the campus of Nova Southeastern University, where they self-established themselves a few years ago. It is exciting when we 'plant' a colony, but even more exciting when they arrive on their own to claim a perfect habitat! And the Mezozoic Cycad garden at NSU suits them just fine (if we could convince the PTB not to trim off the palm flowers until they have been pollinated!)
I want to let everyone know that Dr. Feingold will be presenting a free lecture on NSU campus on October 15, 2009, from 10 AM to 11:25 AM, called "Atala Butterflies on the NSU Campus".
The Lifelong Learning Institute, Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, at Nova Southeastern University is located at University Park Plaza, 3424 South University Drive, Davie, Florida 33328-2022. It is just south of Nova Southeastern University’s Health Professions Division. Enter at the Pier One entrance on University Drive and continue straight though the parking lot. Park in the area in front of the academic buildings.
Don't miss this opportunity to see incredible photos of the atala, learn about their history on campus, and maybe catch a glimpse of those iridescent wings as they flutter by!
Atala days are coming to a slow period again, even though it seems that they just got started. I have been very lucky to have Marilyn Griffiths at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden send me atala population data almost every week for the past two years and I am in the process of compiling that information right now. The graphs are very interesting, and regardless of the slow start this year, the atala crash-irruption cycle is holding steady.
And I hope that I'll be seeing you in Hollywood at John Williams Park, Sheridan Oak Forest, on November 28th from 9 AM to noon for a bird & butterfly "Walk on the Wild Side" nature walk! I'll be back again on December 27, same time, same place. This walk is in the middle of the "Christmas Bird Count," which Audubon has been doing for over 100 years....you can track the bird counts across the nation, and plug into a fantastic historical archive while helping scientists monitor bird populations.
We have two more walks scheduled in 2010, so keep your calendars out for more adventure-to-come.
February 13, 2010, we'll be birding in earnest for the Great Backyard Bird Count with Broward Audubon and friends, and posting our results on Cornell University's BirdSource afterwards. YOU can help out with this simple Citizen Science project from your own back yard, too! Just log on to eBird and check it out.
On March 6, 2010, we should be seeing some robins and other early migrants as they make their way northward for breeding season. The butterflies will be enjoying the new spring growth and blooming wildflowers resplendent in Sheridan Oak Forest, too.
Remember to check the North American Butterfly Association website for local happenings in Broward as well! There are great speakers every month, plants for your garden, and lots of community.
http://www.childrenandnature.org/blog/ is a wonderful blog abut introducing kids to nature and a great resource for teachers and parents.
See you soon! Happy Full Moon and Simchat Torah :-)