Save the Butterfly today in Selma

Published 7:21 pm Thursday, April 15, 2010

SELMA — Today is Save the Butterfly Day.

It’s particularly important to Selma because the Queen City is also known as the Butterfly Capital of Alabama.

That’s a great deal the work of Mallieve Breeding of Selma, also known as “Madame Butterfly.”

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Selma’s designation as the buttlerfly Capital of Alabama was recognized in 1989 by Congressman Claude Harris of Alabama. He was quoted in the Congressional Record of March 21, 1989, as saluting the city for its save the butterfly campaign.

At the time, Harris said, “Under the outstanding leadership of Mrs. Mallieve Breeding of the Selma Federation of Garden Clubs these five groups [Selma Federation of Garden Clubs, Selma Beautification Council, Tourism Council, Cahaba Association of Girl Scouts and Selma District-Boy Scouts of America] have worked with considerable success to achieve their goal of creating a haven for butterflies.”

Breeding worked to save the butterflies back in the early 1990s when she realized the numbers of light yellow sulphur butterflies were diminishing. She wrote of this in an opinion column in The Selma Times-Journal.

“I know that the clouds of yellow butterflies we once saw each fall, along with the numbers in the fall migration of the Monarch, no longer exist in this area; or around the country.”

Breeding spoke to anyone who would listen about establishing butterfly gardens. She worked tirelessly to bring back the insects, known by scientists as great pollinators, second only to bees.

The butterfly garden at the School of Discovery was created to attract the insects. Breeding has led the effort to upgrade the garden, making it a joy for the children who attend school there and for those who would stop and witness the beauty.