This 3-week hybrid course (3 online lectures, 2 field
experiences) will introduce you to the diversity, ecology, and life history of
our beautiful New England butterflies, along with management tools to support
them. This course is designed for the butterfly enthusiast who wants to dig
deeper, and for those who would like to further their appreciation of the
natural world around them.
This program consists of five classes. When registering, please make sure all five classes are selected.
Week 1: Introduction to New England Butterflies:
Diversity, Anatomy, Field Identification
Instructor: David Small
July 13, 6:30-8:30 pm
This first class will cover the butterfly basics – what
makes a butterfly, how to watch, enjoy, identify, and talk about them. You’ll
learn about the diversity of New England butterfly families, specialized
butterfly anatomy, and life cycles. We’ll discuss field marks and
identification techniques, as well as introduce you to some of the guides and
technology that is helpful for enjoying butterflies in the field.
Week 2: Butterflies in the Wild: Ecology and Behavior
Instructor: Martha Gach
July 20, 6:30-8:30 pm
This week we will consider how butterflies interact with
their environment over the course of an entire life cycle. From egg to adult,
butterflies are finely tuned organisms that must constantly read their
environment in order to respond appropriately. We’ll examine how butterflies
utilize habitat, what roles they play in the ecosystem, and how they find food,
avoid predation, attract mates, and reproduce.
Field Experience: July 24, 9:00-11:00
Led by Dolores Price, Massachusetts
Focus on butterfly field ID and
Week 3: Butterfly Conservation: Creating Habitat
Instructor: Bill Benner
July 27, 6:30-8:30 pm
Gardens can be a highly successful
tool in the butterfly conservation arsenal. This class will present gardening
from the perspective of habitat, including beneficial plant choices for
butterfly larvae and adults, physical characteristics to incorporate, and
garden management techniques to support the butterfly life cycle.
Field Experience: July 31, 9:00-11:00
Led by Dawn Vesey, Massachusetts
Focus on butterfly ID, butterfly
habitat and gardens
Bill Benner is a life-long East Coast gardener who has
been planting for wildlife and pollinators in western Massachusetts since
2004. His gardens are particularly focused on butterflies and
hummingbirds, with both nectar and host plants, and a strong emphasis on
natives. He is eager to share his enthusiasm for pollinator gardening
with others, and he has lectured and taught on butterflies and gardening for
the Native Plant Trust, the Hitchcock Center, and a number of garden centers,
garden clubs, and conservation groups. He is a past president of the
Massachusetts Butterfly Club, and currently serves as the editor of its
publication, Massachusetts Butterflies.
Martha is president of the Massachusetts Butterfly Club and
Conservation Coordinator and Regional Education Manager with Mass Audubon,
based at Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and Conservation Center in
Worcester. She also teaches at Worcester State University. An ecologist and
evolutionary biologist, Martha designed the Broad Meadow Brook campus landscape
to support butterflies and pollinators, but also birds and wildlife, and was
featured on “Ask This Old House” for a
segment on butterfly gardens.. She coordinates the annual Butterfly Festival at
Broad Meadow Brook and serves on her town’s Conservation Commission, advocating
for native plantings.
Dave is president of the 250-member Athol Bird and Nature
Club and Director of the Millers River Environmental Center. Dave shares his
passion for Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies and most recently moths through
workshops, lectures and field trips around New England.
Dave volunteers for several non-profits including Millers
River Watershed Council, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, Mass Watershed
Coalition, and Mass Audubon's Important Bird Area Technical Advisory Committee,
National Moth Week Science Advisory Board, and the Massachusetts Natural
Heritage and Endangered Species Program Advisory Committee. Working for the
Commonwealth of Mass for 35 years, Dave served as Assistant Regional Director
at the DCR Quabbin Reservoir in Central Massachusetts retiring in 2013.
$150 Member Adult, $175 Adult (Registration includes admission to the Garden on field session days)
Additional Program Information
- Online sessions will be live only.
- You will receive a zoom link to the online sessions in the confirmation email.