Tree Hill Nature Center has been offering Jacksonville the quintessential spring celebration with the Joseph A. Strasser Butterfly Festival since 2002. This year the festival will take place on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-4pm, allowing visitors plenty of time to shop, walk the trails, and see all of the exhibits as well as have lunch and a sweet treat. Tree Hill uses all of the funds from the event to implement their educational programs and to care for their animals. Tree Hill works with Duval County’s public, charter, and private schools as well as schools from neighboring counties to teach children about the native plants and animals that live on Tree Hill’s 50 acres of preserved land.
This year celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Festival, and it’s shaping up to be as much of a crowd pleaser as ever. Joseph A. Strasser has been the Title Sponsor for ten years now. He strongly believes in Tree Hill and their mission. Without his philanthropic support the festival would not be possible. “He has been an integral part of Tree Hill, and his financial support has made the festival possible when budgets would not allow it,” says Executive Director Mark Mummaw. “With his help, I feel this will be our best festival ever.”
Each year, thousands of visitors attend the Festival for their favorite activities. Kids can enjoy the bounce house and the arts and crafts vendors as well as an animal encounter and live music. Adults enjoy the local vendors selling handmade gifts and jewelry, walking trails through the woods, and tours of the Arlington Community Garden. Of course, the best part of the day is the live butterfly release. A native species is always chosen, usually the Monarch butterfly because of its size and beauty. Between the butterfly house, the Arlington Community Garden, and the JEA Butterfly Garden, the butterflies find plenty to eat at Tree Hill.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of this family event, Tree Hill has new additions to offer. A raffle is being held with many prizes, and all proceeds go to the care of the animals and Tree Hill’s educational programming. These are the sponsors who have made a contribution to the raffle: Trader Joe’s, Native Sun Natural Foods Market, 29 South Restaurant, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Cummer Museum and Gardens, Adventure Landing, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Black Sheep Restaurant, Donut Shoppe, Earth Fare, Congaree and Penn Farm and Mills, and Space Walk Jacksonville. Everyone is welcome to join the raffle and can purchase tickets for $3 each or 4 tickets for $10.
A new band, Beasely and the Bass Walker, is being added to the entertainment line up. Guests will also be able to see the new goat pen that was recently rebuilt and expanded. The goat area is still being updated, and will be complete before the end of the year. You can buy an annual membership at the Festival, which will allow you to stop by and check on the goats any time! With a little luck, visitors will also see the 4 week old baby chicks who are the newest additions to the Tree Hill family.
The Joseph A. Strasser Butterfly Festival is the only fundraising event that Tree Hill Nature Center puts on each year. Tree Hill offers the community so much throughout the year, and the Festival is a chance to say thank you for all they do to preserve our natural world. Your contributions at the event allow Tree Hill Nature Center to provide excellent science and conservation education to children and adults alike. Tree Hill offers urban residents the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life!
Tree Hill Nature Center is grateful for the support of all its sponsors: Mr. Joseph A. Strasser, EU Jacksonville, Jax Metro Credit Union, I Know Jax, Mallen Construction, Jax4Kids, Todd Lake Tattoo Studio, Fast Signs, Space Walk of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Mazda Owners Club. Be sure to come out and support Tree Hill Nature Center and all they offer for the 15th Annual 2016 Joseph A. Strasser Butterfly Festival! For more information, visit www.treehill.org.