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"Little Wings on the Prairie" Festival

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Festival Brochure

Festival Sponsors:


Discovery CenterUSFSPheasants Forever


Pollinator Parade

The parade was small - but good. Thanks to Cindy for leading the way for the small pollinators. Charlie (Monarch) and Beesly the Bee were at the end.

Cindy C
photo by Luann and Janae
photo by Luann and Janae

Group shot of all the pollinators . . .

Photo from Oahe Downstreat Recreation Area Facebook page

And a back shot - because it's all about the wings!

Photo by Doug Backlund

And a giant thank you to the Cookie Lady (Janet McKenzie) for giving all the parade participants a cookie.

Tours of the Butterfly Garden

Amanda led two tours through the garden.

garden tour
photo by Doug Backlund

Garden Tour for Kids

Jen Fowler, author of our Butterfly Activity Guide, led kids in one of the activities she developed.
photo by Doug Backlund

Honey Tasting

We didn't have a big variety of honey, but rumor has it that the Alfalfa honey was the best or at least the sweetest.

Honey tasting
photo by Doug Backlund

Antennae Headbands

You could see antennae on many of the heads at the Festival. On the right side of this photo, Amanda is waiting for her next pollinator in need of antennae.


Rock Painting

Always popular with the kids and even the adults. Luann and Janae are decorative painters from Rapid City and we appreciated them taking the time to come help at the Festival.

Photos by Luann and Janae - I don't know where they found time to take photos, because their booth seemed the busiest all day. Charlie still refuses to say where the rocks came from, but swears it was not the decorative rock by the Oahe visitor center.

rocks 1




Cookie Painting/Coloring

Janet McKenzie, Pierre's Cookie Lady brought butterfly cutout cookies that the kids colored (yes, the markers were edible coloring!). And they ate their cookies. Check out her Facebook page for more information on her cookies or watch for her at local craft shows. Charlie has tried almost all of her flavors and they are all delicious!!

Photo by Doug Backlund

Sisters and cousins enjoying their decorated cookies (and look at those antennae). . . .

photos by Emilie Miller

The Discovery Center

Danette and Nicki showed kids how to disect plants and explained the different plant parts.


DIY Butterfly Gardening

Eileen handed out a small starter kits for butterfly gardens and information on how to do it.

diy garden

DIY Build a Native Bee Nest

Tami shows some young pollinators the bee nests. Tami, thanks for all your great help Saturday.

bee nests

bee nest


Pheasants Forever

Brandon Boehm was here from Pheasants Forever. The boys especially liked this one - time to get your hands dirty. The pollinator balls were balls of mud rolled in perennial seeds. When you are ready to plant the seeds, just crumble the ball in the area you want them to grow.

Pheasants Forever
photo by Doug Backlund


Fort Pierre National Grasslands

Ruben and Carol provided lots of information on butterflies and pollinators and some perennial seed packets. They also gave the kids a butterfly pin.

Natl grassland

Pollinator Games

Maggie's sister, Gretchen, was enlisted to help. It was windy on Saturday, so some of the games were hard to play. It was a great example for how hard it is for pollinators to fly on a windy day.

pollinator game
photo by Doug Backlund


Migration Obstacle Course

The migration course was awesome - I'm surprised people found their way back. Now they know how hard it is for monarchs to travel from Canada to Mexico and back again. So many things to look out for.

Teachers - this is a great learning course. If you are interested in using it for your class, contact Maggie Lindsey and ask to borrow the signs. We have an aerial view of the maze, but I don't want any one to cheat the next time they run the maze, so I'm not posting it here. Trust me, the maze is A-mazing! Good work designing the maze Maggie and Terry.

photo by Doug Backlund


Thanks to Casey for helping at the Welcome/Information Booth.

photo by Doug Backlund

Casey brought her new puppy, Bruin (right spelling?). If you look closely, you can see that Bruin got one of the butterfly necklaces being given to our visiting pollinators while supplies lasted (which wasn't long).

photo by Doug Backlund


I think I recognize this little bumble bee . . .


You couldn't miss us if you were visiting Oahe Downstream Recreation Area on Saturday. Here is an over view of the Festival. Ten booths with lots of information and things to do.

all tents

Checking out the flowers in the garden . . . .

photo by Doug Backlund

Maggie helped pollinators start their migration journey at the maze, but then it was all up to them to find their way.

photo by Doug Backlund

Here is Luann with another cute bumble bee. They are checking on their painted rocks at the "drying table". If you would like to try rock painting at home, look for paints called "patio paint". They are designed for painting rocks and concrete. Or paint with any acrylic paint, let it dry for a few days, then give it a coat of varnish or poly urethane. Did you notice the big good looking monarch in the background?!?!?

another bumble bee

Four young pollinators in the garden . . .

four pollinators
photo by Emilie Miller
Eve Goebel from Gettysburg, photo by Capital Journal Phu Nguyen


There is now a donation box inside the garden. If you want to help us keep the garden growing and allow us to provide educational materials and events, please consider making a donation.


And yes, there were butterflies in the garden during the Festival. At least three monarchs were seen, a blackswallow tail, tiger swallowtail, and others.

Our best guess is approximately 300 participants in this years event.


If you missed the Festival, you can visit the garden any time.


Please - please - no collecting flowers, butterflies or caterpillars in the garden. We want to keep everything in the garden so the next person can see it. Thanks.

Here is a link to the photo gallery from the Capital Journal . . .

Save the Date for 2016

We will post it here as soon as we decide. So check back. Don't miss the fun.

Tiger Swallowtail photo by Doug Backlund,



Where is the Garden?

Oahe-Downstream Location Map

Fort Pierre, South Dakota


The Garden is located south of the parking lot by the Visitor Center. A large kiosk is at the edge of the trail.


Garden Progress

You can also follow the progress on the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area facebook page:




This project was made possible with a grant from the USFWS Connecting People with Nature - Let's Go Outside fund.

lets go outside

An additional small grant came from the South Dakota Chapter of The Wildlife Society.


USFWS couldn't do this alone - many thanks go to the staff of South Dakota Game Fish & Parks for their participation during all aspects of the project -

Pat Buscher
Eileen Dowd Stukel
Maggie Lindsey
Dave Ode
Ryan Raynor
Pat Thompson



Photos have been provided by:
Doug Backlund



This website was created by Charlene "Charlie" Bessken. If you are interested in helping with this project, feel free to email me at



Last updated: July 22, 2015

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