The objective of this activity is to learn about and identify butterflies in your region while creating and maintaining a habitat for them.
There are thousands of butterflies located in the Pantanal alone and approximately 28,000 species known in the world. Different species of butterflies have different preferences of nectar, both in taste and color. Go to your school's library and find out what butterflies are in your region and what types of nectar and native flowering plants they prefer. After researching the butterflies in your region choose and buy plants you think will attract your local butterflies. Find an area to plant your garden, then watch and identify the butterflies that visit.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when planting your garden.
- A wide variety of plants will give you the largest diversity of visitors. For example, try to plant things that bloom at different times of the day and year.
- Plant the garden in a sunny area. Butterflies are ectotherms and cannot regulate their body temperature internally, so they often bask in the sun. However make sure to include some shaded areas for butterflies to cool off if it's too hot.
- Butterflies have compound eyes and are near-sighted so they are attracted to large groups of plants; therefore groups of the same plants are easier for butterflies to see than single flowers.
- Butterflies cannot see the color red well but can see purple, pink, yellow and white. Be sure to check for the appropriate colors when picking out plants for your garden.
- Butterflies will feel safer and are more attracted to well protected areas, so provide shelter from the wind and predators.
- Butterflies like puddles. To easily create your own puddle bury a bucket to the rim in the ground. Then fill it with water or a sweet drink to attract butterflies.
- Butterflies have a good sense of smell through their antennas; be sure to choose fragrant plants for your garden.
Learn how you can have your butterfly garden, or your entire yard, certified as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat (tm) site by the National Wildlife Federation.
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