Butterfly Day at the Mermaid

By Alisa Land Hill

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Butterfly Day  at the Mermaid
Photos by Bill Buerge
Under blue skies and surrounded by native flowers, community partners Bill Buerge, Gail McDonald-Tune of the Mountain Mermaid and the Topanga Elementary School Science and Arts Committees will be hosting the third annual Butterfly Day on Sunday, August 28, from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Our first event after COVID and we are delighted to gather again in person for a magical day of butterflies, live music, environmental education, hands-on interactive learning, and activities for children and adults alike. The event will feature a live butterfly house, live honey bee exhibit, environmental conservation tables, musical performances, with food and drinks for purchase. All proceeds will benefit science education at Topanga’s local public school, Topanga Elementary Charter School, and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. The Mermaid first launched “Monarch Day” in 2015 where free milkweed plants were offered to each of the 100 homes in Sylvia Park, the neighborhood where the Mermaid is located. It was a big hit and successive Butterfly Days followed in 2016 and 2017. In 2018 and 2019, The Mermaid and Topanga Elementary combined forces and co-hosted Butterfly Day and the Topanga Town Council proclaimed an official Butterfly Day in Topanga. This event has captured the imagination of our community—engaging students, families, educators, artists, performers, environmental activists, and community leaders alike. At this vital moment, when butterflies and other pollinators face unprecedented challenges and the pressures of climate change stress our natural resources, our community is working to raise awareness and empower us all to take collective action to conserve and protect our irreplaceable environmental legacy. To support education and awareness among our community in this work, we have invited a range of environmental partners to the event including the Audubon Society, Baby Rhino Rescue, California Native Plant Society, Full Circle Compost, Greener Empowerment Foundation, Malibu Monarch, National Wildlife Federation, Poison Free Malibu and Poison Free Topanga, the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Topanga Birdman, Sergio Jimenez Native Plant Nursery at the Mermaid, The Topanga Docents, Topanga Creek Watershed Committee, and others. Some of these partners have meaningfully engaged locally in supporting education, conservation, and the creation of pollinator habitat. Greener Empowerment Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to environmental sustainability, has partnered for years with Topanga Elementary Science in developing four pollinator habitat areas on the school campus and multiple habitat areas within the broader community. RCD of Santa Monica Mountains has also collaborated with the school, supporting environmental education in the school’s outdoor spaces. In addition, the school Science Committee received grants from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to support habitat development for monarchs and other pollinators at the school, in Topanga at large, and surrounding communities. Bill Buerge has worked to develop the Mermaid as a butterfly habitat and migratory monarch way-station while promoting awareness of pollinator importance. These partnerships and hands-on efforts remind us that we all have agency in challenging times and provide a living model for collective action in support of pollinator conservation. In celebrating this environmental activism, Butterfly Day will feature a wide array of musical performers providing a full day of entertainment. Turn the page to see the lineup before you meet the musicians, Topanga’s treasure trove of talent, on Butterfly Day. Mythical forest creatures from Theatricum Botanicum will entertain and delight throughout the day, and a variety of activities will be available for children, including visiting the Mermaid’s live butterfly house, a live honey bee display from Eli’s Bees, face-painting, tie-dye stations, and multiple hands-on butterfly-themed arts and crafts. Local artists Matt and Paul Doolin of Topanga Art & Tile and Anneli Vasser will be sharing pollinator-themed pottery and jewelry. Children’s author/illustrator, Lisa Desimini, will share her writings, and the Topanga Public Library will share books about pollinators and habitat gardening. The Topanga Town Council will also participate in its capcity as a volunteer organization dedicated to Topanga and the protection of our precious natural resources. We look forward to sharing this special day with our community and neighbors, all for the love of butterflies. The Mermaid is located at 20421 Callon Drive. Park at the Theatricum and shuttle, or park at the Clare Brown Lot next to the Mermaid. NO STREET PARKING! For information: themermaid.com; bill@themermaid.com.

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August 19, 2022