More than 150 Eastern Monarch butterflies took flight from the Clarence Hollow Farmers Market Saturday.
“Oh, they’re fantastic,” said Mike Priebe of Clarence, who brought his kids to the market to see the release.
These colorful-winged creatures will fly to Mexico, and then new generations will return; they only live about a year.
David O’Donnell is with the Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm in Clarence.
“I’ve been raising monarchs since about 1999. I’ve been at the Clarence Farmers Market probably since 2007,” he said.
He raises about 1,500 butterflies every year, and releases them around Erie County. But this event he said, always draws a crowd.
“I just think it’s amazing to be able to see so many in one area,” said Heather Cahill of Williamsville, whose young son Lincoln also enjoyed the butterflies.
“He’s seen one or two fly by you know, in his lifetime, so it’s just amazing to get to see this many in one area.”
Some of the butterflies were more eager to take off than others, landing on kids faces and arms.
Aside from sharing a beautiful sight with market goers, O’Donnell releases monarchs every year to help keep this species going.
“The Eastern Monarch population has severely declined since 2000 and they were down like 90 percent. I’ll predict this year they’re going to have a good rebound because of the all the milkweed and all of these who are planting weed in their perennial gardens.”
Weeds, he explained, are what butterflies thrive on. O’Donnell sold plenty of milk weed at the market as well.
Before the monarchs were released, visitors got a chance to see them up close in a special butterfly tent.
Children especially were drawn to the exhibit, something O’Donnell said is necessary if future generations are going to make protecting the environment a priority.
“All these children are like little seedlings and we’re educating them. And all kids love bugs.”