Message From the President
Hello and Welcome to the Broward County Butterfly Chapter, Thank you for your interest in the Broward County Butterfly Chapter. November 1, 2022, begins our 20th year as a Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) serving the Fort Lauderdale Area.
The NABA’s Goal is to “Promote membership and educate the public about all non-consumptive aspects of butterflying, including field identification, listing, photography, gardening, conservation, and facilitation of communication among butterfliers.” As a chapter of NABA, we are committed to “Support NABA in its efforts to increase public enjoyment and conservation of butterflies at the national and local level”.
We would love to have you join us in this endeavor. Our efforts, in this regard, typically include monthly member meetings where we feature speakers on topics related to butterflies. In addition to the speaker, we hold “raffles” for native plants that are known butterfly attractants and help members build backyard habitats for lepidoptera. Plants are typically host plants that provide food for caterpillars and nectar plants that attract butterflies to home gardens. Meetings are held at on the third Sunday at 2:00PM at Broward County’s Long Key Natural Area and Nature Center in the Town of Davie. In addition to our meetings, we also participate in NABA’s annual butterfly counts.
The purpose of these counts is to collect data on species and their numbers that are observed within the County. There are two count circles in Broward County that cover most of the urbanized areas east of the Water Conservation Areas (Florida Everglades). Counts are held in the spring, summer and fall for each circle. The information is compiled and submitted to NABA for entry in their national database, which is open to the public for research purposes. On average, 20 observers help with each count and I compile the data for submission. It’s a true labor of love.
Another activity provided through our Chapter is guided field trips. These trips are open to all members and typically include daytrips to State lands and National parks outside of Broward County. Sometimes the trips are focused on searching for rare or endangered butterflies; other times, simply for the enjoyment and expanding our knowledge of butterflies. One area near and dear to my heart is tagging and collecting spore samples from Milkweed butterflies. Yes, it sounds odd, but those of us who participate, do so to provide data for research by ecology students at the University of Georgia, in Athens.
The effort is conducted under the auspices of Project Monarch Health and, to date, over 1,000 samples have been provided. The proper name of the spore is Ophryocystic elektroscirrha or OE, for short. It is a debilitating protozoan parasite that infects Monarch and Queen butterflies. There are also various volunteer opportunities to help spread the word about the importance of butterflies to our lives. As NABA says, “If we can save the butterflies, we can save ourselves.” Happy Butterflying, Barbara DeWitt, President, Broward County Butterfly Chapter of NABA