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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Wish Upon A Butterfly

Photo courtesy of Deborah Cowman

A young girl watches as a butterfly walks along her shirt at the Wish Upon a Butterfly farm, part of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History.

Butterflies are a symbol of change in many cultures, and at “Wish Upon a Butterfly,” attendees can release their own monarch butterfly to make a wish or find closure. 

Located at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, Wish Upon a Butterfly is a yearly event where guests can release monarch butterflies and visit educational booths from local environmental groups, according to the Wish Upon a Butterfly event page. The insects are sourced from a butterfly farm named Wish Upon a Butterfly, inspiring the name of the event. Wish Upon a Butterfly will be on July 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the cost of attendance is the purchase of one butterfly per family, which costs $20. To purchase a butterfly, attendees can call (979) -776-2195. 
Executive Director of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History Deborah Cowman said the event has sentimental value to many guests.
“Not only are butterflies beautiful, but it’s also meaningful for a lot of people,” Cowman said. “A lot of folks release butterflies in honor of a loved one, to make a wish for someone who is battling illness or just to get an A on their final.”

Cowman said the cost of admission to the event is at least one butterfly, but only one butterfly needs to be purchased per family to keep prices reasonable. 

“We recognize that people with young families often don’t have a lot of extra funds and we’re trying to keep the price low enough that everyone can attend,” Cowman said. “We release the butterflies around 10 and 10:30 a.m. but the event lasts [un]til 12 p.m.”

Wish Upon a Butterfly will feature education about local pollinators through a variety of environmental groups in the Brazos Valley, Cowman said.

“We’ll have someone from the A&M Garden Club, and they’ll be passing out seedlings of butterfly plants, as well as the Texas Master Naturalists and more,” Cowman said. “[Monarch] numbers have been declining … for us, it’s not only a fun event, but also about education as well.”

Ashley Monahan, Class of 2019, said Texas plays a vital role in the monarch butterfly migration as a destination. 

“Some populations of the North American Monarchs [migrate] in a wave pattern from Canada to Mexico … and pretty often, they’ll pass through College Station as well,” Monahan said. “Those populations can’t get to their destination without going through Texas.”

Monahan said the monarch butterfly population is struggling due to a variety of factors, causing them to be added to the endangered species list, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  

“During migration, they have a litany of predators that they face, but perhaps the biggest obstacle that they face is a lack of milkweed,” Monahan said. “A lot of places put pesticides on the plants that monarchs eat. That has had a big impact on their population as well as climate change, global warming and the major weather disasters we’ve seen.”

For Texas locals looking to assist the monarch butterfly migration in Texas, which is typically between September and November, Monahan said there are inexpensive and easy ways to do so. 

“If it’s a really hot time of the year, you can just put out a cup of water,” Monahan said. “You can also plant milkweed, but try to get it from a local nursery if you can since they’re more likely to come without pesticides.”

Monahan said people can also use the Journey North website to report monarch butterfly sightings and to help scientists learn their migration patterns. 

Jess Goodman attended the event in the past as a performer, and said Wish Upon a Butterfly was a great way to gain experience and connect with her community.

“I don’t think I released a butterfly since I was still spooked by bugs at the time,” Goodman said. “But the positive feedback I got from the audience was a good confidence boost, so I remember it fondly.”

Goodman said the event has a special place in her heart, both for the community and their support.
“It turned out to be a fun time, even though I was super nervous,” Goodman said. “The event itself was really well-put together and I would recommend people go to support it.”

For more information on Wish Upon a Butterfly, visit the Wish Upon a Butterfly event page. 

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