Butterflies set for release in Vail Thursday | VailDaily.com

Butterflies set for release in Vail Thursday

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyEagle County third-graders learn about the wonders of Mother Nature at the annual Butterfly Launch at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. This year's launch is Thursday at noon.

VAIL, Colorado ” Thousands of Painted Ladies will take flight Thursday at America’s highest botanical garden.

More than 400 Eagle County third-graders are expected to participate in the annual Butterfly Launch at noon at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, in Vail’s Ford Park. The event is sponsored by the Hernreich Family Foundation.

“The Butterfly Launch is one of the most festive celebrations we offer at the Gardens. It is great fun for the children to witness Mother Nature work her wonders in transforming a caterpillar into a butterfly,” says Ann Kurronen, the Gardens’ executive director. “This is a joyous event and a wonderful learning opportunity for our local third-graders.”

The students, from both public and private schools throughout Eagle County, were supplied this spring with kits including a viewing net, two caterpillars and food. Over the course of about a month, they’ve raised the caterpillars, watching as each pupated and turned into a Painted Lady Butterfly ready to take flight.

The students gather at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens at 11:30 Thursday for lunch, then release the butterflies together. And it’s all set to music by renowned local musician Helmut Fricker performing his popular Austrian alpenhorn and squeezebox act.

The Hernreich Family Foundation, founded by the Hernreichs in 1994, is a philanthropic nonprofit organization and one of the Vail Valley’s largest independent charitable organizations. The foundation supports primarily local but also national and global charitable causes, choosing beneficiaries based on family values, charitable preferences and long-term relationships.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, at 8,250 feet above sea level in Vail’s Ford Park, is the highest botanical garden in the United States, and perhaps the world, providing free access to an estimated 100,000 visitors annually. Garden operations and programs are funded entirely through the generosity of donors; its mission is to inspire passion for plants in high-altitude communities through beautification, conservation, education and research programs.

For the complete events schedule or more information about the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, call 970-476-0103 or visit http://www.bettyfordalpinegardens.org.

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