I’ll never forget the time that I went to the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Fall, Ont. It was a magical experience unlike anything else that I had ever done. My takeaway from the visit was that Buffalo should also have something of this nature, maybe down at Canalside. After all, while I love the idea of visiting, cross the border every time seemed rather daunting, especially when I’m more of a “when inspiration strikes” type of person.
That’s why I am so excited to hear that the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens has just received $1.5 million in funding from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) – part of Round VIII of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative. The funding would allow The Botanical Gardens to demolish several outdated buildings, which would free up the organization to build an addition that would house a butterfly conservatory, educational classrooms, expanded grow houses, event space, a variety of unique exhibits, a café, and expanded visitor and admissions areas.
This is incredible news, because for years I have been hoping that The Botanical Gardens would build a café, which would make the complex a one-stop-shop for visitors who are looking to get something to eat and drink, while spending time browsing the gardens and the water features. The news of the funding for a butterfly conservatory is the icing on the cake.
In previous years, The Botanical Gardens has hosted temporary butterfly exhibits, which allowed them to gauge the interest in visitors seeking out the alluring fluttering insects. An enclosed tent would be set up, which would be filled with butterflies from Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm.
Not only will the new Butterfly Conservatory be fun, it will also be informative when it comes to the plight of various species such as Monarchs, which are suffering from habitat loss, herbicides, and global warming. With fewer and fewer pollinators, natural ecosystems are out of whack. The Botanical Gardens is the perfect organization to teach the lessons, showcase the butterflies, and hopefully send a message home that there are ways that we can combat the eradication of the pollinators, if we all do our part.
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens | 2655 South Park Avenue | Buffalo, NY 14218
A full list of the 2018 REDC awards is available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov
Lead image courtesy Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens