In search of winged creatures

Upcoming event focuses on beauty of butterflies

Different sizes. A multitude of shapes. And, of course, an unlimited palette of colors. All these traits will be visible in the insects that have a starring role at Butterfly Day, hosted by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) on Sunday, July 28.
“[It’s] a festival dedicated to the beauty of butterflies,” said commission spokesman Brian Aberback. “It’s our signature event.”
The fourth annual Butterfly Day will attract people from all over the New York Metropolitan area to DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The highly popular, family-friendly event boasts a daylong roster of learning and fun, including butterfly walks, a scavenger hunt and butterfly costume contest for kids, and information tables.
There will be educational talks for children and adults of all ages.
Last year nearly 700 people attended this very specialized exhibition.
“Butterfly Day is the highlight of our summer programming and provides a great opportunity to bring families and people of all ages together to enjoy, learn about and appreciate these beautiful, winged marvels and the many ways that they benefit the environment,” said Marcia Karrow, executive director of the NJMC. “We invite everyone to spend a wonderful day at DeKorte Park and enjoy all the natural wonders the Meadowlands has to offer.”

“Learn about and appreciate these beautiful, winged marvels and the many ways that they benefit the environment.” – Marcia Karrow
The Butterfly Day schedule includes frequent butterfly walks and an hourly slide show and talk on the butterflies of DeKorte Park. A native plant walk is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

Children’s events

There are also daylong scavenger hunts for children. This year the commission has added a Butterfly Costume contest, inspired by the many children who have attended past events dressed in butterfly regalia. The costume contest is at 1 p.m. and is for ages 12 and under, with prizes awarded to the top three winners.
In addition, there will be several raffle drawings for great prizes, including tickets to NJMC pontoon boat cruises on the Hackensack River.

Species to watch for

About a dozen different types of butterflies can be seen in DeKorte Park at this time of year, according to Jim Wright, NJMC communications officer. They include black swallowtails, eastern tiger swallowtails, and pearl crescents.
“They don’t’ bite, they don’t buzz, they don’t sting,” he said. “And they’re not creepy looking either. Butterflies are just ephemeral, beautiful things.”


The centerpiece of Butterfly Day is the Jill Ann Ziemkiewicz Memorial Butterfly Garden. Located outside the Meadowlands Environment Center, the garden features cone flowers, butterfly bushes, and butterfly weed to attract butterflies.
The garden was built to honor the memory of the Rutherford native who was the youngest member of the flight crew assigned to TWA flight 800, which crashed into the ocean off Long Island on July 17, 1996.
“She was born in Rutherford and she loved nature,” Wright said. “We thought we’d do a memorial for her. We wanted to honor her. Her mother said she loved sunflowers and she studied environment affairs at Rutgers. We want everyone to make a difference like Jill did.”


Butterfly Day is co-sponsored by the Bergen County Audubon Society (BCAS) and the North Jersey Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association. The BCAS will set up tables with information on butterfly identification, binoculars, and gardening to attract butterflies.
To RSVP, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at or (201) 230-4983. The rain date is Sunday, Aug. 4.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunches. Food will not be sold at Butterfly Day.

Joseph Passantino may be reached at

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