Sunday, April 4, 2010

Not So Ancient History, by Becky Smith

Throughout the 20th century, an ever-growing flock of birders and naturalists have peered at brightly colored and/or drab birds--in the sky, on the ground and in the bush. It took a long time to formally recognize that there was something else flying around--also brightly colored and/or drab, in the sky, on the ground and in the bush--butterflies.

Thus, in 1992 the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) formed to promote the conservation and appreciation of butterflies and moths. Birders, botanizers, gardeners, naturalists and scientists joined in swarms. Chapters appeared throughout the U.S., no where more so than in Florida, which has 12 chapters..

Florida and the nation’s southernmost chapter, Miami Blue, came into being in 2000, largely through the efforts of our chapter founder Dr. Bob Kelley. Bob, a distinguished professor and avid birder and naturalist, took an early interest in butterflies; NABA gave him a way to share his interest with others.

The chapter covers sub-tropical Florida--Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. This past winter has been the sub part of the deal, with a seemingly endless cold spell and even a few frosts (Stop laughing, ye who live north of Lake Okeechobee.). Now, our weather is delightful and we have returned to our normal, tropical weather. This climate gives us some butterflies found nowhere else in the U.S., such as the Miami Blue, and some found just north of the border in a places like the Rio Grande Valley, for example, the longwings.

Join us in exploring this southernmost land.

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