Butterfly Tour Emphasizes Research

To begin the butterfly walking tour in Gulfport’s Clymer Park, participants gathered under an oak tree located next to the Gulfport Library. “When we do things like this in a circle and people witness us coming together, that changes the world,” said CreaSirene Eagan Romanelli, butterfly walking tour leader and volunteer founder of the Food Forest in the park.

While leading her first free butterfly walking tour in Clymer Park, Gulfport’s own CreaSirene Eagan Romanelli shared her knowledge sprinkled with recent survey research data documented by two Eckerd College students – and she’s planning on doing it again.

Eagan is the volunteer founder of the park’s Food Forest and loves to collaborate with then share what she knows with others. The Gulfport public park is located on three blocks that are managed differently between Beach Boulevard north and south with 22nd Avenue South at its northern border and 26th Avenue South to its south.

The forest is a place where people “choose to sustain peace, love and all good things for everybody,” said Eagan.

About 16 people attended the educational tour on the morning of Saturday, October 12 along with a program that immediately followed at the nearby Gulfport Public Library that included detailed research data results and a seed giveaway along with refreshments, some of which were inspired by the forest.

Two undergraduate students at Eckerd College began a special survey in the park in May to document the butterflies.

“A pollard walk is a type of survey method where you walk through one area and look 15 feet on either side of you and identify anything that comes in that path,” said Maia Wohlert, who recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies. She worked on the project with Emily Updegraff, a college senior.

“Currently, we have another group of Eckerd students who are taking over,” said Wohlert. “So, hopefully, this will last this fall semester and for years to come.”

Eagan also works with people who wish to support the forest when they want to honor loved ones with a living memorial. For instance, peach trees that are loved by both butterflies and bees have been added.

“I like Crea’s energy and her information,” said Maureen McDowell who grew up in Gulfport and who recently donated three trees to honor her mother, father and stepmother. “I thought it would be neat to do something living as a memorial.” McDowell now lives in St. Petersburg.

“It’s important to me to give something back to society, the Earth and the community,” said McDowell. Soon, a plaque that reads “May Peace Be With You,” will also be added.

For more information about memorials and future themed tours in the park, visit Eagan’s business website at artfulearthscapes.com.

On Saturday, November 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at the library, Eagan is leading a free session entitled “Let’s Talk About Trees!” According to the press release, the discussion will focus on creating a Grand Tree Registry in Gulfport.

As her contribution to the annual ArtJones Open Studio Tour on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8, Eagan’s website details that she will be leading a collaborative installation in the park entitled, “Fallen Tree City Memorial” that will honor and celebrate “both living and culled trees in the 11 tree cities in Pinellas County.”

“I thought it would be neat to do something living as a memorial,” said Maureen McDowell who grew up in Gulfport. She recently donated three peach trees to honor her mother, father and stepmother as a memorial. Peach trees are loved by both butterflies and bees, said CreaSirene Eagan Romanelli, leader of a butterfly walking tour held recently in Gulfport’s Clymer Park.

During a recent butterfly walking tour in Gulfport’s Clymer Park, a monarch was spotted by some of the people attending the free event.


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