A release of 150 monarch butterflies in a wildflower meadow Saturday in Breezy Point will help commemorate 150 years of Minnesota statehood.
The fourth annual butterfly release is planned, rain or shine, after a short program. The event - which is free and open to the public - begins at 3:30 p.m. with a program at 4 p.m. at the Pelican Woods Cemetery and Nature Trail. Along with the butterfly release, the event includes a display table and speaker with a focus on area history and life on Pelican Lake, music and refreshments.
"We try to have a different theme each year," said Dorothy Johnson, event co-chairwoman. Johnson said organizers applied for a sesquicentennial grant and were pleased to receive one and tie it in with the butterflies.
The butterflies come from the Sassy Frass Butterfly Ranch near Little Falls and are picked up the day of the release. Johnson said they only use monarch butterflies, which are the state butterfly, for the releases.
The butterfly release began as a way to bring people to see the cemetery when the occasion was not a sad one and acquaint people with the nature trail, which runs along the perimeter, Johnson said. A tree walk along the nature trail has signs identifying native trees.
"The cemetery is open every day morning to night and we welcome people to come over and walk the trails," Johnson said.
Music at the event will include a fiddle and flute, which Johnson said "sounds lovely in the open air." A color guard and invocation are planned. A panel of Crow Wing County Master Gardeners will be available to answer gardening questions. Pequot Lakes Historical Society and Crosslake American Legion members also plan to participate.
People are invited to bring lawn chairs.
Pelican Woods Cemetery is a 1/2 mile north of the intersection of County Roads 11 and 4 in Breezy Point and then one block west on Ski Chalet Drive. Pelican Woods Cemetery is a public municipal cemetery, owned and operated by the city of Breezy Point. The site preserves natural woodland around its perimeter.
Landscaping, in its ninth year of development, was planned by Crow Wing County Master Gardeners in cooperation with Cemetery Commissioners. Johnson reported volunteers meet weekly to maintain plantings. For more information, call (218) 562-4441.
"It's lovely, very nice, inspiring," Johnson said of the butterfly release. "Sometimes they come back and sit on our shoulders or land in our wildflower meadow. It makes a good photo opportunity for people. We just welcome everyone to come. It's a lovely thing for families to do together."
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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