Hope 4 the Future hosted an event on May 27 to release the butterflies they had acquired and nurtured, into the wild. The Painted Lady butterflies were raised in captivity at the Strathmore Municipal Library from caterpillars since early April.John Watson

Original Published 04:59 Jun 05, 2022

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Hope 4 the Future hosted its final youth event at the Strathmore Library over the weekend to release the butterflies that were being nurtured at the facility. 

“It is an all-age event. Usually, we do Hope 4 the Future events in three parts — we have a senior portion that is 55 and above, we have a ‘Building Foundations’ which is 15 to 24, and a parents of preschoolers,” explained Audra Anderson, a wellness facilitator with Hope 4 the Future.

“We got some butterflies and we have grown them. They arrived as really tiny caterpillars and the library was gracious enough to pair with us and we have been having the butterflies grow at the library,” she said. 

The Painted Lady butterflies were brought into the library as caterpillars earlier in the spring and were available to be observed while they were nurtured to maturity. 

“They have gone from the caterpillar to the chrysalis and now they are butterflies, and they are all ready, so today is our release of the butterflies,” said Anderson on May 27. “This is the first time that Hope 4 the Future has done a butterfly release because we are a grant initiative that was started in July of 2021 and this is the final event for the youth portion of Hope 4 the Future.”

The event, which was free to attend for the public, offered snacks, crafts, prizes and planned to release the butterflies so long as the weather remained clear and without rain. Luckily, during the event on May 27, local weather held and the butterflies were released on schedule. 

“The caterpillars were ordered in April so it has been a really short timeline, but we got them to come – they came at the beginning of April, we set them up in the library … and they have just grown. There has been somebody looking after them every day,” said Anderson. “It was just a project that was brought forward to us and we thought it was a great idea. We like that it goes with our philosophy of Hope 4 the Future.”

Hope 4 the Future is a program which was started for seniors, youth and parents of preschoolers in the community to help support mental health through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to Anderson, the raising the butterflies marked the last youth project the organization had grant funding to do.

“Hope 4 the Future has mostly to do with living and recovery from COVID-19, bringing people out into the community again and we though the butterflies symbolize that really well,” said Anderson. “At the moment, this grant fund was supposed to be done in March of 2022, but we have been extended now to May, and the seniors and the parents of preschoolers have been extended further.”

She was unable to specify how long programs have been extended to, however Hope 4 the Future is coming to the end of its run, as it has served its purpose within the community.

This item reprinted with permission from Strathmore Times, Strathmore, Alberta