This week, we visited the little ones, the kids from the 1st grade of the elementary school in Villach in the south of Austria, with our butterfly workshop. The workshop is part of our project “Schmetterlingsreich“, funded by the Austrian ministry. In this class, we met some small experts on butterflies who were already experienced with caterpillar breeding. Despite the approaching holidays, the lively class was very interested. The caterpillars of the Viennese peacock moth were admired, the very brave ones even dared to touch them despite their hairy body.
The empty pupal cases of the Viennese peacock moth (Saturnia pyri) and the tree white (Aporia crataegi) were admired, and the question whether there was still a butterfly inside was asked again and again. Based on a graphic, Magdalena explained to them the procedure of the butterfly hatching from the pupa. The two butterfly pupae that we had with us were also exciting. One was from a “brown bear” (Arctia caja), a moth that pupates in an quite dense web. The other one was an admiral (Vanessa atalanta) that hung his pupa just on top of the web. Normally the pupae of admirals hang from plant structures, but this time, this smart guy simply used the web of the brown bear’s web as a hanging option. Both species will hatch this summer after a few weeks of pupal dormancy.
This time, a beautiful silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia), a tree white and Apantophus hyperantus were included as flying specimens. The kids asked many questions and wanted to know everything in detail. It´s for sure that after this workshop, there are now a few more little butterfly experts in Villach, who will certainly take care of butterfly-friendly gardening.
In the end, we released the tree white together and let him fly into the trees in front of the school. Many thanks to the motivated kids and their teacher, we wish you all relaxing holidays!