Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: The 9th Annual Butterfly Day Celebrates the Meadowlands Comeback

Growing up in the New Jersey Meadowlands I witnessed firsthand some of the worse things that man can do to his environment. But over the years I have also watched our Meadowlands return from the brink of annihilation, transformed from a place that was once thought by some better left for dead to one of the most incredible environmental come back stories in my lifetime.

Not only a New Jersey success story but a shining example of what can be accomplished nationwide when enough people care to do the right thing. Butterfly Day at DeKorte Park on Sunday July 29th is a true celebration of that triumphant return.

Butterflies are a true “Canary in a Coal Mine,” a symbol or a warning about the health of our environment. When butterflies are few and far between it means that our environment is out of whack or out of balance. That there is too much pesticide and herbicides, and too little plant biodiversity, which means an unhealthy environment, a kind of warning sign not only for the butterflies but for people too.

When butterfly habitat is protected or restored as it has at DeKorte Park, we help not only butterflies but we also help many migratory bird species and pollinators.   Even amphibians and reptiles can benefit from maintaining butterfly habitat and of course it also means a healthy in-balance planet for humans too.

DeKorte Park’s many multiple habitats, plant diversity, the continued reintroduction of natives plants and the hard work and dedication of park naturalist Gabrielle Bennett-Meany makes it an incredible place to enjoy the many species of Butterflies, from the many tiny and diverse Skipper species to the larger, better known Swallowtails and Monarchs. They are all signs of the healthy and vigorous environment the Meadowlands has become.


Butterflies have always held a special place in the hearts of mankind. Some cultures believe butterflies can carry our prayers up to the creator and even believe they are a symbol of our own rebirth. Maybe it is the magnificent array of colors which seem to almost magically appear in Summer that bring out a feeling of delight or maybe it is their miraculous mystical metamorphosis as they transform themselves from a common caterpillar into something of incredible beauty which connects them to our very soul in a way that brings us close to our inner spirit.

We all like to believe the same is also possible for us. The butterfly is a symbol of great possibilities that like the butterfly we can one day renew ourselves for the better. All are fitting symbols of Butterfly Day and the way the Meadowlands has transformed and returned better than before.

Join us on Sunday July 29Th when we all celebrate the Butterflies of the New Jersey Meadowlands.The family-friendly, free event features butterfly walks, talks and plenty of kids activities. To register and for more info click here

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