The Panhandle Butterfly and Nature Center house plans to start the road after the organization unveiled its new “home” Tuesday afternoon at the Southern Charm Flower Show in Navarra.
The group will now use a mobile facility to transfer the experience of learning and spending time with butterflies to the community, rather than having the community come to a fixed building.
“We’d like to serve more Panhandle. And that’s important, too, because Northern Schools in Santa Rosa County, Navarre Butterfly House has been there for 25 years, right? Kids at Jay have never seen a Butterfly House,” said Jenny Weber, president of Panhandle Butterfly House. and Nature Center Inc.
“But this could go to Jay and this could go to Pace and this could go to all those different neighborhoods that didn’t have that on their field trip.”
The Panhandle Butterfly House left its previous location at the foot of the Navarre Beach Bridge in 2018, when the county announced it was planning to renovate the park.
In July, Keep Santa Rosa Beautiful ended its relationship with the board of directors of Panhandle Butterfly House, raising questions about the future of the Butterfly House. KSRB was the non-profit organization under which the Panhandle Butterfly House operates.
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Webber claims that she and her organizers own the Panhandle Butterfly home, saying they applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in April after they filed for separation from KSRB. According to the IRS identification letter, Panhandle Butterfly House and Nature Center received its exemption status on April 5. But on the Panhandle Butterfly House and Nature Center website, it claims to be a joint program with KSRB.
The Panhandle Butterfly House and KSRB were denied registration as vendors at the April Spring Flower Festival hosted by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Pensacola State College in Milton. The Panhandle Butterfly House team was planning to announce their new location at the April Festival.
Weber said, “I said, ‘Wait a minute, why don’t we go to them? Why don’t we (put) the money in the screen and take it straight to the school?'”
About 30 of the public, including candidates for public office, demonstrated to watch the unveiling of the group on Tuesday. Mike Clinch — who is running for Santa Rosa County’s Fourth District Committee — told the News Journal he loved the mobile project, saying that as a former science teacher, he believed Santa Rosa County needed additional educational opportunities and that could help lead to other project ideas. In the community.
Alicia Polly is a local resident who helped paint and design the exoskeleton for the movable structure. She said Webber only told her that her work would be part of the new Butterfly House, but she didn’t realize how much would be on display.
“That was a surprise to me too,” Polly said with a smile.
As of now, Weber said she’s gotten interest from two homeschooling groups about educational opportunities with the mobile butterfly house, and that her organization was originally looking for another fixed structure to house the butterflies but decided late last fall to pursue that option instead.
“So, I don’t know what’s coming out of this,” Webber said. “And we’ll see on Facebook how many people are requesting (our services).”
Ultimately, Weber said, the goal is simply to educate children and adults about Florida butterflies and their environments.