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File | The Journal Gazette
Irwin student visits the exhibit in 2005.

Butterfly exhibit upgrade OK’d

– Fort Wayne Parks Board members approved an upgrade to the Botanical Conservatory’s popular butterflies exhibit.

The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory’s Mitch Sheppard told the board Thursday the annual exhibit has been popular since it began eight years ago, attracting about 11,000 visitors a year.

But the Butterfly Lab, which not only hatches the butterflies visitors get to experience up close in the 30-foot-by-30-foot tented exhibit area but also serves as the vital control point that keeps possibly invasive species from escaping into the wild, is worn out and needs an upgrade.

The original lab was made of wood and designed by the conservatory in-house. The new one is made of aluminum and plastic and will allow better viewing for the public. The board voted unanimously to approve the $26,000 structure, which Sheppard said will be paid for by donations.

Golf course ash trees contract

Board members approved a $51,000 contract with Apex Tree Service to remove 110 ash trees from the parks department’s three golf courses. The trees are dead and dying after being infested by the emerald ash borer.

Officials said they were unsure when the trees would be removed because the work is dependent on the weather and golfing schedules.