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Butterflies take the stage at Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve

A Monarch butterfly rests on a dead leaf. Photo by Chris Johnson
A Monarch butterfly rests on a dead leaf. Photo by Chris Johnson

Nature lovers had the chance to walk through the Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve to observe butterflies in their native habitat.

The Northwest Illinois Audubon Society hosted a Butterfly Festival July 21 at the preserve near Forreston.

“It was a nice day,” said Keith Blackmore, Forreston. “We identified 14 different species during the festival.”

A steady stream of visitors arrived to the preserve and began hunting for butterflies.

While walking through the preserve, visitors quickly realized that in order to spot butterflies and other insects they would need to slow down and patiently observe the flowers and native plants.

“The butterfly numbers were low this year, but the turnout was quite amazing,” said Blackmore. “We are always reaching out to the public.”

In a quiet area of the 43-acre preserve, dozens of butterfly species could be observed.

Buckeyes and monarchs were easily spotted flying wildly across the land but the most common spotted was the clouded sulfur and orange sulfur.

In addition to butterflies, a variety of moths, bees, grasshoppers, and plants were spotted while touring the preserve.

Throughout the event guided tours were held where a guide would gently catch a butterfly for visitors to observe up close.

The preserve is located about three miles southwest of Forreston in the southeast corner of West Grove and Freeport Roads. The parking lot is off of West Grove Road.

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