If there was ever a perfect symbol for spring, it’s a butterfly emerging from its winter slumber in a bright symphony of colors. At Tree Hill Nature Center, the butterfly is more than just a symbol. It’s the centerpiece of the annual Joseph A. Strasser Butterfly Festival held April 27 at the nature preserve on Lone Star Road in Arlington.
The community event offers a chance to connect with nature in a pristine setting where guests can stroll the wooded paths, enjoy homemade crafts, family-friendly activities and live music culminating in the release of hundreds of live butterflies. The butterfly release is held at 3pm, weather permitting. It’s an amazing spectacle that continues to draw visitors to the annual festival which serves as the center’s largest fundraiser of the year.
Tree Hill Nature Center is comprised of 50 acres of unspoiled wetlands and hardwood forest tucked away from the hustle of urban living. Nature trails wind through the property where a freshwater stream traces its path. The property features wildflower, hummingbird and butterfly gardens that allow each species to grow freely. A learning laboratory, history museum and amphitheater are widely used to host community outreach programs that promote ecological awareness.
It also boasts the Arlington Community Garden, 35 plots located on the grounds of Tree Hill Nature Center is a community garden dedicated to growing food for the food pantry at Arlington Community Services. The garden provides healthy produce for those who do not have access to it, by growing that food using sound environmental practices, and offers opportunities to protect the environment and promote healthier lifestyles.
The garden is managed by volunteers who “adopt” a plot for the pantry and provide irrigated raised beds, seedlings and any soil amendments needed as well as gardening advice. Volunteers also will continue their educational outreach efforts by offering several educational tables at Tree Hill’s annual Butterfly Festival with easy and healthy recipes.