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Celebrate Pollinators This Summer!

Who runs the world? Pollinators! Did you know that about 1 out of every 3 bites of food exists because of pollinators? Eating a crunchy almond, tasting a sweet peach, or savoring a perfectly ripe tomato wouldn’t be possible without pollinators. It really is the little things in life (pollinators!) that mean the most!

Although we are deeply saddened to have had to cancel Blooming Butterflies this year for the first time in its history, we are happy to be able to offer a variety of new, socially distanced programs throughout the summer. Welcome to the wild, wonderful, and sometimes weird world of pollinators!


Bee and orange flower


Free Self-Guided Pollinator Walk  |  July 20-August 31 | 12-5 p.m.

Explore the outdoor gardens while learning at stops along the way about some familiar (and not so familiar) pollinators and the plants they frequent. After your visit, head over to Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream to enjoy a free junior ice cream, coupon for children included with experience!


Free Pollinator Activity Kits | July 20-August 31 | 12-5 p.m.

Pick up a free activity kit to bring home for the kids in your life. Activity kits include directions and basic craft supplies for each activity (you may need to provide your own scissors and glue). The craft will be suitable for most age groups. Each week the activity kit will focus on a different pollinator. Come back every week to collect all four activities! Free activity kits available while supplies last.


Date Pollinator Activity
July 20-26 Bee
July 27-August 2 Hummingbird
August 3-9 Butterfly
August 10-16 Moth


Bees and allium


Virtual Butterfly Action week  |  august 3-9

We're bringing this fun-filled butterfly conservation event online! Visit these local organizations dedicated to monarch butterfly conservation for resources and activities.

Share photos of your butterfly activities using #ButterflyActionWeek on social media!

Aldo Leopold Nature Center

Visit Aldo Leopold Nature Center’s prairie bustling with butterflies and discover a StoryWalk of the children’s book One Duck Stuck, written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Jane Chapman. At home design a monarch butterfly using a coffee filter, orange water color or orange marker/water, clothespin, and black marker.


Friends of Cherokee Marsh

Hone your butterfly spotting skills while exploring the prairies of Yahara Heights County Park or the City of Madison’s Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park – North Unit. Use this provided guide for tips on where to find butterflies fluttering around the flowers and sipping nectar. You might even spot some caterpillars!


Friends of Wisdom Prairie

Take a self-guided Butterfly walk on the beautiful Wisdom Prairie at Holy Wisdom Monastery. Walk the prairie or visit the accessible pollinator garden. Volunteers will be available August 6, 7, and 8 from 10 a.m. – noon to provide directions for good viewing. A one-page guide to butterflies and their caterpillars will be available for use anytime during the week at the parking lot kiosk.

Wisdom Prairie on Google Maps


Journey North

Become a Citizen Scientist with Journey North! Visit a public garden, park, or your backyard and observe nature. Keep a tally of all the monarch butterflies, eggs, and larvae. You can also note the hummingbirds and patches of pollinator plants that you discover. Report what you find to Journey North. The data collected is utilized to better protect our crucial pollinators.


Madison Audubon

Week four of Madison Audubon’s free virtual summer camp focuses on the incredible world of insects. A range of activities allow you to learn online, while exploring a neighborhood park, or by doing an at-home craft.


The Nature Conservancy

Create an origami butterfly from the comfort and safety of your own home. All you need is a square piece of paper, a pair of scissors, and a piece of ribbon or thread.


Bee and ladybug on yellow flower


Pop-up Pollinator Story Times  |  July 23, July 30 & August 6

Designed with our Little Sprouts audience in mind (ages 2-5), these story time pop-ups offer an opportunity for families to connect with nature together.

Pop-Up Story Times are currently sold out, but we're working on adding more dates this summer! We'll post registration the registration links here once we have them!


Bee covered with blue pollen


Pollinator Plant Sale

Purchase a variety of pollinator-friendly plants to attract pollinators to your home garden!

 Pollinator plants for sale:

  • Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’
  • Calico Aster, Aster lateriflorus (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum) ‘Lady in Black’
  • Green Twister Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Twister’
  • Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium
  • Bottle Gentian, Gentiana x ‘True Blue’
  • Blazing Star, Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’
  • Golden Dewdrops, Duranta repens (D. erecta) ‘Purple Ruffles’

Purchase Pollinator Plants HERE

Contactless curbside plant pick up will be available on Fridays from noon - 5 p.m. Pick up instructions will be emailed to each customer. Please review the map of the pick up route and location.


2020 Pollinator Partners

John J. Frautschi Family Foundation

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream


Canopy Sessions | Friday, March 6

Spring Flower Show | March 7-22

Spring Flower Show Plant Sale | Monday, March 23

Cocktails in the Conservatory | Friday, March 27

Canopy Sessions | Friday, April 3

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719