Years in creating, The Water Conservation Garden unveils Dorcas E. Utter Memorial Butterfly Pavilion

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Monarch, red admiral, mourning cloak and the California dogface butterflies are just a few of the species that can be seen at The Water Conservation Garden’s newest attraction—the Dorcas E Utter Memorial Butterfly Pavilion. A new interactive exhibit created to provide educational opportunities for children and adults to learn how plants and animals play an important role in our ecosystem, down to home gardening.

Monarch, red admiral, mourning cloak and the California dogface butterflies are just a few of the species that can be seen at The Water Conservation Garden’s newest attraction—the Dorcas E Utter Memorial Butterfly Pavilion. A new interactive exhibit created to provide educational opportunities for children and adults to learn how plants and animals play an important role in our ecosystem, down to home gardening.

At the ribbon cutting held on March 21, Executive Director John Bolthouse said that this pavilion was a dream come true, envisioned by the late Dorcas Utter.

“From her first day at the Garden, Dorcas began making a tremendous impact,” he said. “She started the Garden’s docent program, the training and recruitment program for volunteers and she volunteered hundreds of hours. The Butterfly Pavilion is the result of a wonderful family of philanthropists. They saw in The Water Conservation Garden a vision that captured the spirit of their beloved Dorcas in a way that would inspire in others a since of wonder for which she will always be known.”

Elyssa Robertson, Board of Governors president, said there is no better way to teach plant and animal interaction than by seeing it first hand.

“There are plants inside and outside of the pavilion that give butterflies the opportunity to lay their eggs, which will continue the butterfly cycle, thereby stocking the pavilion with new generations of butterflies year to year,” she said.

Robertson and Bolthouse both recognized the many people and organizations that made this pavilion a possibility.

Bill Utter said that his mother was known for her volunteer efforts throughout the county, but that her work at the Garden was by far her favorite.

“She also loved the critters of this land, but butterflies were her favorite,” he said. “This is a very appropriate setting and we were honored to be a part of this in both the gift and the pavilion itself. I don’t know if it is nature or nurture, probably a combination of both, but she definitely instilled the love of nature in her son.”

Glass artist Cherrie LaPorte created an archway of stained glass that welcomes guest into the pavilion and at the ribbon cutting ceremony presented a memorial stained glass plaque that will be placed inside the pavilion.

The Water Conservation Garden is celebrating this new exhibit with its first Butterfly Festival on April 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is opportunity for exhibitors and sponsors learn how to make a butterfly and/or water saving garden with a landscape designer and for the kids that dress up as a caterpillar or favorite winged pollinator (bee, butterfly, bird, bat or beetle) there is a Pollinator Parade at 11 a.m.

To find out more about the Butterfly Festival, the Butterfly Pavilion and The Water Conservation Garden go to www.thegarden.org.

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