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Selma’s Breeding named the first Queen of Butterfly Awareness Day

Selma resident Mallieve Breeding waves to an onlooker Saturday during the Butterfly Awareness Day event at the Selma Farmers Market. Breeding was named the first Butterfly Queen during Saturday’s event. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

Selma resident Mallieve Breeding waves to an onlooker Saturday during the Butterfly Awareness Day event at the Selma Farmers Market. Breeding was named the first Butterfly Queen during Saturday’s event. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

In 1982, Selma was declared the Butterfly Capital of Alabama, and Saturday marked the city’s first Butterfly Awareness Day.

Saturday’s event was organized by the Dallas County Master Gardeners Association, and association president Evelyn Cox said the purpose of the occasion was to educate the public about butterflies.

“We are trying to educate the public about the importance of butterflies and how they contribute to the healthy condition of our community,” Cox said. “As well as to make the Master Gardeners a bit more visible to the community.

Cox and fellow Master Gardeners set up a display at the Selma Farmers Market Saturday featuring educational materials on butterflies native to the region, as well as ways to attract them to one’s home and garden.

Mallieve Breeding, better known to the community as Madame Butterfly, was named the first Butterfly Queen during Saturday’s event.

Breeding thanked the Masters Gardeners and the community for sharing her love of butterflies.

“I have been overwhelmed that Selma has embraced the butterfly efforts the way they have,” Breeding said. “People remember the butterflies when they might not remember other good things about Selma.”

A big part of the team that sought to earn Selma the designation as the state’s butterfly capital, Breeding said there are many reasons to embrace the tiny creatures.

“I can’t think of a single thing that isn’t good when it comes to butterflies,” Breeding said. “They don’t bite you. They are perfectly beautiful. They are spiritual. They also are pollinators — second only to the bees — and pollinators help to create food for all of us.”

Selma Mayor George Evans spoke briefly at the event, thanking Breeding for her work to earn the city its designation.

“She has actually been instrumental for Selma to be named the Butterfly Capital of Alabama,” Evans said. “We truly appreciate the work she’s done over the years.”