Friday, January 19, 2007

Within the Court of Monarchs, or, entering a world filled with wonder, mystery and transformation … all before noon!

During our recent gathering of Leafing Through the Pages, the Sterling Morton Library’s book discussion group, we found ourselves immersed in a world filled with monarch butterflies compliments of Sue Halpern’s Four Wings and a Prayer: caught in the mystery of the monarch butterfly. Halpern shares with the reader the wonder and mystery of how these butterflies find their way (without compass, Rand McNally or MapQuest) into the mountains of Central Mexico to overwinter. Along the way in Halpern’s book, our group was introduced to a diverse community of people who have studied the butterflies and their amazing migration. Near the end of our spirited discussion, our thoughts and words turned to the transformation made by the monarch from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly and how this transformation parallels ones made in our own lives!

The Sterling Morton Library has a number of resources on butterflies including field guides, children’s books and information on how to attract butterflies to your garden. Check the Library’s catalog for further information. In addition, the group viewed works from our rare book and art collections along with our collection of butterflies created by Sherman Foote Denton. This historic collection of actual butterflies and moths created in 1895 includes a number of native butterflies along with ones collected in India, South America and other exotic locales. These butterflies are frequently used by staff, teachers and guides for various Arboretum education/visitor programs and also within Arboretum exhibits.

Other sites to find out more information about these regal butterflies and their migration:

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