So Beautiful, So Endangered

photo of the week for Saturday, 2009, September 5
Photographer: Rick Cech

If you find yourself in Biscayne National Park in the coming months, stop by the park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery to enjoy Butterflies of Biscayne, a photo exhibit put together by the North American Butterfly Association. The exhibit opens September 11 and runs through November 15. A "meet the photographers" reception is scheduled for Sunday, September 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Both the show and the reception are free and open to the public. The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is located at 9700 SW 328 Street, 9 miles east of Homestead, Florida.

Here's how the park describes the show:

More a "field guide on a wall" than a traditional art exhibit, Butterflies of Biscayne nonetheless incorporates stunning photography as a means of discovering and appreciating these beautiful insects. The show focuses on species found in Biscayne National Park, from the common zebra longwing (Florida’s state butterfly) to the elusive, ephemeral and endangered Schaus’ swallowtail, found only on the northernmost Florida Keys, including those in Biscayne National Park. In addition to the photos, educational posters covering topics such as butterfly life cycles and ways to attract butterflies to home gardens are included. At 11:00 a.m., the public is invited to join enthusiasts from the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association on a guided walk around the park’s Convoy Point area. Leaders will provide tips and insights for viewing the insects, as well as assistance with identification and natural history. From 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., some of the show’s photographers will be on hand to discuss their work, and share photo tips and stories. At 2:00 p.m., Marc C. Minno, author of Florida Butterfly Caterpillars and Their Host Plants, Butterflies Through Binoculars and Florida Butterfly Gardening will present the compelling story of efforts to reintroduce the endangered Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly to Biscayne National Park.

The show is even more amazing when you realize that a strong majority of the park is under water, and so the photographers had to trek to islands and mangrove forest to snap these shots.

On the Web: www.nps.gov/bisc

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