Over 20 years ago, the Chicago Academy of Sciences developed an ambitious plan to build a new public face for Academy, and to open the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. To help make that dream become a reality, our annual Butterfly Ball fundraiser was inaugurated. Today would have marked our 22nd Butterfly Ball, and although we cannot celebrate the way we had originally planned, we are taking this opportunity to focus on some of our history and our premier exhibit–the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven!
Support from the Butterfly Ball makes all of our programs, operations, and outreach possible. With the cancellation of the Ball, this year, due to COVID-19, we need your support more than ever. Support our animals, continued educational programming, and conservation research while we are closed. Consider making a donation to the Nature Museum.
The history of the Butterfly Ball
The first Friday in May has always been a special day at the Nature Museum – it is when we hold the Butterfly Ball, the museum’s annual fundraising event. The Ball is an evening to celebrate all the wonderful work the Museum does in educational outreach throughout the City of Chicago. The Butterfly Ball was founded by Life Trustee Judy Istock (pictured here with her husband, Verne Istock, and our president and CEO, Deb Lahey) in 1998 when she was Board Chair. In the last 22 years, this event has raised over $35 Million – making it one of the largest galas in the city. If Judy’s name sounds familiar to you, it’s because she’s the namesake for the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. We are grateful for Judy’s vision and for making the first Friday in May so special!
Click here to read Classic Chicago’s coverage of the Butterfly Ball.
Where do we get our butterflies?
Have you ever wondered where our butterflies come from? Scientist, and chief curator, Doug has all the details. Click here to find out!
P.S. We know you miss our butterflies, so we’re inviting you to share you favorite butterfly moments with us! Reply to this email or share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Beautiful, and protective, coloring!
Now that you know a little bit more about the Butterfly Haven, let’s take a closer look at some of the butterflies living in it! The striking colors on this common morpho butterfly are created by light diffracting off of millions of tiny scales on its wings. A number of butterflies have muted colors under their wings and bright colors on top of their wings. This provides camouflage when they sit with their wings closed, but also gives them the ability to open their wings quickly and startle predators with a flash of color. Click here to check out the full video.
Guiding Question: Why do you think that morphos and other butterflies have this bright coloring? Do you think it might help the butterfly protect itself? How would you react to see something like this in nature?
Glasswing butterflies stand out…by not standing out. Their clear wings and small size make them seem even more delicate than their more colorful Judy Istock Butterfly Haven roommates. Their surroundings show through their translucent wings, making them hard to spot!
Guiding Question: Why do you think that glasswings have this appearance? Do you think it might help the butterfly protect itself? Why?
Make your own window clings
Bring a taste of the Butterfly Haven to your home! Check out this easy tutorial to make beautiful butterfly clings for your windows. Once you’re done, be sure to share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Enjoy family yoga at home!
We miss being able to enjoy Butterfly Haven Yoga and Family Yoga with you all! But we’re excited that our friend Amy Roulston created a fun spring-themed family yoga session for us to do at home! Click here to check it out!
Get a glimpse of the Butterfly Haven!
Need a few minutes to catch your breath and relax? Click here to reconnect with the Butterfly Haven and relax to the sound of the waterfall and the sight of the butterflies fluttering by!
Teaching Tip: Use this video and your daily interactions with the outdoors as an opportunity to engage with nature! Click here for tips and inspiration.
Behind the Scenes
There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes to bring the Butterfly Haven to life! From our horticulturists who work with the plants, to our animal caretakers and volunteers who prepare the food for the birds, to the folks who help prepare our butterfly shipments. Click here to see what its like in the day of the life of a Butterfly Haven Lab volunteer.