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Butterflies, Ballerinas of the Skies  Interlake Spectator, May 9, 2005


May 9, 2005

Butterflies...Ballerinas of the Skies 

Like the ceremonial release of white doves as a symbol of peace and love, the release of butterflies is quickly becoming the choice of many to mark a special event.

Dianne Fitzmaurice, who lives on property just outside of Gimli, is the lone butterfly rancher in Manitoba.

Fitzmaurice, the sole proprietor of Creature Comforts Cottage, got the idea of raising butterflies, for releases at special events, after reading an article in Western Producer magazine.

Working out of a small building on the property Fitzmaurice grows the butterflies from eggs, the size of a pinpoint, to the emerging adult. The Painted Ladies and Monarch butterflies, both natural species in the province, take about six weeks to mature.

Fitzmaurice?s marketing efforts focus on weddings, christenings, birthdays, anniversaries and any other celebration that signals a change in life?s circumstances.

?A bouquet bursting with butterflies is a wonderful way to mark a memorable moment,? she says.

In addition to butterfly releases, Fitzmaurice is involved in the supply of children?s school metamorphosis kits to study the life cycle of the butterfly. ?When the butterfly emerges from its cocoon the children are spell-bound,? she says.

In a small way, Fitzmaurice feels her efforts are also eco-friendly. She says that only two per cent of butterflies survive naturally and more are killed every year by mosquito spraying,pesticides and the destruction of their natural habitat ?Releasing butterflies,? she says, ?helps to replenish their stock and ensure their survival.?

Because of the cool spring, Fitzmaurice?s crop of butterflies is only now beginning to emerge, just in time for spring graduation and June weddings.