Science takes flight at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens with annual Butterfly Launch | VailDaily.com

Science takes flight at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens with annual Butterfly Launch

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In April, butterfly kits were sent to third-grade classrooms across the valley. Over the course of a month, the students watched the caterpillars morph into butterflies, ready to be launched at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens on Thursday, May 17.

VAIL — About 600 third-grade students will unleash nearly 600 butterflies into the air at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 17, celebrating this spring season.

The Betty ford Alpine Gardens will be filled with curious minds as students congregate to release the butterflies.

The annual Butterfly Launch is a highly anticipated event for both students and teachers.

In third grade, students learn that the stages of life are different with each species and the duration of each stage varies.

The more you know

Butterflies demonstrate one of the most visibly dramatic changes. The insects are considered to be advanced and undergo complete metamorphosis with four distinct stages: the egg, larvae, pupa and adult butterfly.

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The eggs are mint green and barrel-shaped and hatch in three to five days.

The larva or caterpillar molts five times as it grows over the course of 12-18 days and the pupa or chrysalis stage lasts about 10 days. Adult butterflies live for just two weeks.

In April, the butterfly kits were delivered to third-grade classrooms throughout the valley. The kits include a viewing net, caterpillars and food. Over the course of a month, the students watched the caterpillars morph into butterflies.

The day at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens includes live entertainment and educational activities including a scavenger hunt, pollination relay races and displays by Nature's Educators. This year's Butterfly Launch is underwritten by the Sheika and Pepi Gramshammer and the Hotel Gastohof Gramshammer.

For more information and a complete list of activities and event at the Betty For Alpine Gardens, visit http://www.bettyfordalpinegardens.org.