The Roston Butterfly House, honoring Dr. Bill Roston, is a seasonal, outdoor, living display of native butterflies, moths, and plants, free of charge to the public. We run solely on volunteerism and donations and receive no funding from the Parks department. Volunteers staff the Butterfly House in the evenings and on weekends. We strive to attract families, homeschools, photographers, and many others.
The Butterfly House showcases the unique nature of the Ozarks. Barely separated from the gardens by a net house, visitors see the entire life cycle of swallowtails, fritillaries, monarchs, luna moths, and many others. The community of plants and insects changes from day to day, as flowers bloom and butterfly lives unfold. Docents point out highlights and answer questions. We also raise hundreds of native butterflies and moths for display and to donate to local schools.
The mission of Butterfly House is to show the interdependence of native plants, insects, and us. Each kind of plant is pollinated by bees and butterflies, allowing it to reproduce and bear fruits and seeds. Each kind of native butterfly and moth feeds on particular native plants. The butterflies and caterpillars in turn are food for birds and other animals. The abundance of each species regulates the abundance of the others, resulting in a stable and diverse community.
The importance of native plants and pollinators is increasingly recognized and is critical to sustaining wildlife in urban and suburban settings. Everyone loves the beauty of butterflies. They can be appreciated by people of all ages and all perspectives. Butterflies lend themselves to lessons in ecology and sustainability. The Butterfly House is also a spiritual refuge for many visitors, because butterflies are symbols of hope, renewal, and resurrection.
Springfield has a strong appeal for people that value nature, and the Butterfly House contributes another facet to this attraction. Showcasing the native species of the Ozarks helps people recognize that our area is special, and contributes to our sense of community. Thanks to our volunteer docents, we record 30-40 thousand visitors per season (mid-May to mid-October). Please consider joining us as a volunteer or as a donor.