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By Robby McKittrick
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens visited the Wellesley Free Library on Tuesday, October 23, to share their collection of different butterflies and insects with the community.
Different members of the Wellesley community showed up to learn more about butterflies.
“I have always been a nature-[lover],” said Wellesley resident Tom Orsa. “I like nature, birds, and animals …[and] I hope to pick up something [at today’s event].”
During their shows, the Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens attempt to educate the public about butterflies and how to preserve them.
“We teach people about butterflies and a little bit about our facility and about the butterflies in nature and conservation,” explained Wings Butterfly worker Fred Gagnon. “[We are showing] some tropical butterflies … We are also [showing] some monarchs … [and] native butterflies that are still adults at this time of the year.”
Gagnon explained the overall goal of Tuesday’s presentation.
“I [want people to take away] a knowledge of the diversity butterflies in the world and also what’s in their own yard and what they can do to help … to preserve them.”
The Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens started around 19 years ago, and Gagnon has worked at the conservatory since it opened.
“Our main thing is that we have a 8,000 square foot facility where people can walk amongst gardens of butterflies, around 4,000 at any given time, from all over the world,” Gagnon explained. “It’s just kind of like a butterfly zoo.”
Gagnon, who is an entomologist (one who studies insects) and a lepidopterist (one who studies butterflies), has always had a passion for both creatures.
“As far I have been told, I have been interested in it since I was three,” Gagnon said. “I don’t know what caused me to be interested in them back then, but I have always just been interested in them. It’s definitely been a hobby since I can remember.”
In addition to attending the Wellesley Library, the conservatory also holds many talks and presentations throughout the year at a variety of schools.
“We will sometimes do one, or two, or three [presentations] if we go out to a school,” explained Gagnon. “It gives [the kids] a chance to see what we have. Field trips are more expensive nowadays so not every school can afford [it] … so we give them an alternative where they can still get to learn about butterflies and see the animals.”
The conservatory is open year-round and has a variety of different animals, depending on the time of year.
“We are always changing throughout the year [and] have new creatures,” Gagnon said. “We are constantly cycling new things in and it is a different experience every time you come.”