The educational mission of the BFCI is to:

  • promote, protect and restore native North American butterflies and their habitats through a variety of educational initiatives including programs, special events and exhibits, interpretive signage, curriculum, workshops, and activism;
  • and to increase public exposure of BFCI goals, objectives and programs.

Butterfly Education and Outreach Programs

Butterfly Education and Outreach Programs Workshop

In March 2005, the BFCI, San Diego Zoo, and Monarch Watch co-hosted the Creating Successful Butterfly Conservation Education and Outreach Programs workshop. Butterfly conservation outreach efforts including habitat development, monitoring networks, and partnerships were discussed while successful butterfly education activities were shared as a way to provide new ideas for others.

The Butterfly Beltway in New York

The Seneca Park Zoo is promoting butterfly conservation and education by planting butterfly gardens at more than 20 assisted living centers as part of their Butterfly Beltway program and through other outreach activities.

Making your land butterfly friendly!

Land alteration and fragmentation, chemicals (such as pesticides), and non-native species are leading contributors to the decline of butterfly populations in North America. BFCI encourages you to earn recognition for your efforts to combat these forces by having your garden or land certified as Backyard Habitat and Pollinator Friendly. These programs will help you incorporate butterfly, pollinator, and bird-friendly practices into your gardening and land management.

Backyard Habitat is operated by BFCI partner National Wildlife Federation and the Pollinator Friendly Practices program was developed through a collaborative effort between the Wildlife Habitat Council and BFCI partner the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.

Butterfly Education Resources

Butterfly Festivals

BFCI Festivals Manual CoverMake your butterfly festivals more successful with this butterfly festival manual (1.5MB pdf) developed by the Toledo Zoo with support from the George Gund Foundation. You'll find lists to help you prepare, templates for press releases, hints for gaining support from local sponsors, and activity ideas.

Before hosting your butterfly festival, learn from others' successes and find out what visitors liked and remembered most about three festivals in Ohio. Carol Saunders from the Brookfield Zoo, with support from the George Gund Foundation, surveyed butterfly and bug festivals at the Akron Zoological Park, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and Toledo Zoos in 2003 and 2004.

BFCI Butterfly Activity Guide

AZA and the National Wildlife Federation have jointly produced a Butterfly Activity Guide. You can download the entire guide, or each individual activity.

Both the AZA and the National Wildlife Federation are BFCI partners.

The Monarch Lab - Butterflies and Education Standards

The University of Minnesota's Monarch Lab provides educational activities and supporting materials that link monarchs to national and state-specific education standards. There is also a wealth of information about monarch and milkweed biology, ongoing and need monarch research, and funding opportunities for teachers to plant or expand schoolyard gardens.

The Monarch Butterfly Manual

Order your free copy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service's The Monarch Butterfly Manual, Royal Mail: A Manual for the Environmental Educator from:

National Conservation Training Center
Publications Unit Mail Stop #15
Route 1, Box 166
Shepardstown, WV 25443

Developed for grades Pre-K through 12, this manual offers activities that promote conservation of the Monarch Butterfly. Each activity includes an overview, background information, and a sidebar that highlights the skills and concepts students will use, along with the learning objectives they will meet.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is a BFCI partner.

Butterfly School at the Butterfly House

With separate Web pages for kids and teachers, the Butterfly School, includes butterfly life history information, gardening tips, and arts and crafts activities.

Created by the Butterfly House, a BFCI member.

Butterfly Web Site

The Butterfly Web Site offers activity and curriculum ideas geared mainly towards children in grades K-3. Includes tips to match activities to the Illinois State Learning Standards for Early Elementary Students.

Butterfly Resources

Learn about basic butterfly biology, butterflies in your area, butterfly gardening, and more.

Species Profiles

BFCI's species profiles — for endangered, threatened, and vulnerable butterfly species in the U.S. — comprise a single-source summary of recovery needs for North America's most imperiled butterflies.

Join the Educators' Mailing List

This mailing list is appropriate for educators looking for new ideas or who would like to begin incorporating butterfly activities and information into their curricula. The majority of people on this listserv work at schools and zoos. To subscribe to this list, please send a request to BFCI.