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Beardsley Zoo Invites Winged Ones To Check In At Its New Bug Hotel & Garden

From left to right: Wilbert Frazier and Stacey Marcell of Northeast Horticultural Services, Jeanne Yuckienuz, Gregg Dancho and Jonathan Dancho of Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo
From left to right: Wilbert Frazier and Stacey Marcell of Northeast Horticultural Services, Jeanne Yuckienuz, Gregg Dancho and Jonathan Dancho of Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo Photo Credit: Shannon Calvert
The bug hotel, made of a variety of mediums to attract different insects, offers raffia grass, clay pots, cut bamboo, pine cones, wooden slats and drilled holes for night protection, overwintering and laying eggs.
The bug hotel, made of a variety of mediums to attract different insects, offers raffia grass, clay pots, cut bamboo, pine cones, wooden slats and drilled holes for night protection, overwintering and laying eggs. Photo Credit: Beardsley Zoo

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Beardsley Zoo visitors are all a-flutter— thanks to a new butterfly garden and bug hotel installed by a longtime zoo patron.

Brimming with butterfly bushes, salvia, asters and Black-Eyed Susans, the garden has something for every winged wonder from caterpillars through adults. The species were also planted with an eye to attracting other pollinators, such as honey bees, months and beetles.

The garden, located just outside the zoo’s new animal commissary, is a gift from Stacey Marcell, her husband Wilbert Frazier and their company, Northeast Horticultural Services.

“I absolutely love educating people and teaching people to be good stewards of the earth,” said Marcell. “Whenever I plant anything, I’m leaving a legacy on this earth. I’m proud to leave this legacy at the zoo.”

The garden includes a curved path made of bluestone dust bordered by plants. A bug hotel at the end of the path encourages other beneficial species to take nighttime protection, overwinter or lay eggs and basking stones allow butterflies to warm themselves.

Marcell donated the labor and installation, dozens of plants, the handcrafted bug hotel and monthly maintenance. She has been showing her support for the zoo since 2008, when she donated her time and resources to revitalize the wetlands aviary.

“Stacey has given the zoo a substantial gift of both beauty and sustainability,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “Just like the animals we have here at the zoo, butterfly populations have plummeted due to increased herbicide and pesticide use and habitat loss.

“This garden is one more way for us to sustain native populations of pollinators, critical to a healthy ecosystem.”

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