By Chickasaw Nation Media Relations
SULPHUR, Okla. – Enjoy the close of the summer season with a weekend full of fun activities Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 2-3 during the Labor Day Celebration at the Chickasaw Cultural Center (CCC), 867 Cooper Memorial Road.
Plan a return visit Sept. 16 to be introduced to the remarkable world of monarch butterflies and what the Chickasaw Nation is doing to assist these magnificent creatures.
During the Labor Day Celebration, listen to storytellers and visit with cultural instructors to discover traditions passed down from generations with cultural demonstrations, traditional games, stomp dancing and more.
The Itti’ Chokka’ TreeHouses: Look Who’s Living in the Trees! exhibit will be available through Sunday, Sept. 3, in the Aaittafamaꞌ room. Visitors can discover wildlife, build a miniature treehouse, hunt for sign left by wildlife and dance on a forest sound floor.
The celebration and exhibit are open to the public at no charge.
The animated film “The LEGO Batman Movie” will be screened at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2, in the Anoli’ Theater. Prices for the showing are $3 for children 12 and under, $4 for adults or $6 for a movie deal that includes ticket, popcorn and drink.
On Sept. 16, the Chickasaw Nation will host its Monarch Butterfly Watch Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day offers educational opportunities, beautiful views of nature and documentary films concerning butterflies.
With recent additions to life-sustaining milkweed and nectar-rich plants growing in CCC flowerbeds and in a “hoop” greenhouse constructed last year, visitors are likely to spot monarchs making their annual migratory trek south to wintering grounds in Mexico.
“The Monarch Butterfly Watch Day is geared toward families and includes pollinator games, make and take giveaways, tours, movies and free milkweed plants,” said Thalia Miller, CCC horticulture director.
“We will give a brief presentation of what the Chickasaw Nation and six Oklahoma tribes are doing to increase monarch habitat by planting thousands of milkweed (plants) on tribal properties.”
The Chickasaw Nation is dedicated to increasing the monarch butterfly population in America.
- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – milkweed giveaway in an outside area east of Aaittafamaꞌ on the CCC campus. The plants make it possible for visitors to help monarchs thrive in home flowerbeds.
- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – make and takes in CCC Chikasha Poya Exhibit Hall Plaza.
- 10:30 a.m. – Butterfly Garden tour – meet at square flowerbed in Plaza.
- 11:45 a.m. – Anoli Theater – a brief overview of the Monarch Habitat Project.
- Noon: – Anoli Theater – film “Flight of the Butterflies” (44 minutes).
- 12:45 p.m. – Anoli Theater – a question and answer session will be held.
- 1:30 p.m. – Butterfly Garden Tour – meet at square flowerbed in Plaza.
- 2:30 p.m. – Anoli Theater will host a brief overview of the Monarch Habitat Project.
- 2:45 p.m. – Anoli Theater – film “The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies” (56 minutes).
- 3:45 p.m. – Anoli Theater – question and answer session concerning the film and day’s activities.
In 2014, MonarchWatch.org, a University of Kansas educational outreach program, estimated the average area of monarch colony sites in Mexico covered only 1.65 acres, a 20-year low.
The Chickasaw Nation and six other Oklahoma tribes have partnered with Monarch Watch to give the insects a fighting chance of surviving and thriving.
Monarch caterpillars feed only on milkweed plants. Monarchs must lay eggs on milkweed so their offspring will feed. Caterpillars then spin themselves into cocoons and come out a few weeks later as brilliantly-colored insects.
The Chickasaw Nation is responding by planting milkweed and nectar plants throughout 13-counties in Oklahoma.
Ms. Miller oversaw the planting of milkweed, fruit trees and nectar-producing plants at the cultural center.
“While the milkweed plant is very important, the nectar plants are also,” she said. “For that reason, we have filled our gardens with plants that produce large amounts of nectar, such as Coreopsis, Solidago, Monardo and Echinacea.”
The “hoop” greenhouse, located near the CCC Traditional Village, offers a controlled enclosure for growing plants year-round. Monarchs may enter and depart the structure safely.
For more information, call (580) 622-7130 or visit www.chickasawculturalcenter.com.