A special dedication by Special Populations for the Mohr Family Butterfly House was held Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center. Now it is fully open for the individuals that attend programs there, and the community to enjoy.
The city of Cape Coral’s Special Populations program provides continuing education, employment training and recreation for persons with intellectual disabilities.
“The house was made possible by a very generous donation by the Mohr family,” said Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan at the ceremony, referring to Fred and Jane Mohr. “Things like the Mohr support are what makes Cape Coral a great place to live.”
The Mohr Family Butterfly House has been in the works for several months, said Special Populations supervisor Sara Sansone. It’s relaxing and beautiful atmosphere has already touched the hearts of those who have helped landscape and decorate it, including her.
“I was in the butterfly house the other day and a butterfly landed right on my heart,” Sansone said. “It was a beautiful moment for me.”
It will be an exceptional educational venue as well as one for people to enjoy, said Vincent Marcucci, president of the Guardian Angels for Special Populations. That is the organization’s non-profit support group, which has raised more than $200,000 since 1996 to be used for a variety of projects. Now, they will help foot the bill for the milkweed many of the creatures eat.
“In the future it will be milkweed, more milkweed and more milkweed,” Marcucci said. “They eat a lot.”
He thanked the Mohr’s for their “incredibly thoughtful gift.”
“The educational value is obvious,” he said. “You can teach it, read about it but to see it everyday – that’s incredible.”
Four program participants from Special Populations were speakers, and shared what they have already learned about butterflies in a short amount of time, including Judy Radford, Chelsea Tinker, Rob Burgess and Lisa Butler. Displays are available there that describe “everything butterfly.”
Fred Mohr said this was an important donation for his family.
“We just felt touched by the special needs people in Cape Coral, and thought this was a good way to support them and for them to enjoy,” he said.
His wife Jane Mohr agreed.
“I just think we are fortunate, blessed with two daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren who are all healthy, and that we are able to give back,” she said. “I think everyone will really enjoy it, it is very relaxing.”
A big part of that relaxing atmosphere is the many grown butterflies flying around inside and out now, and about 45 chrysalis hanging there. Pots painted with butterfly themes are in the house area.
Others who attended and thanked the Mohrs included city of Cape Coral Park & Recreation Director Steve Pohlman and City Councilmembers Lenny Nesta, Chris Chulakes-Leetz and Rana Erbrick.
Sansone also wanted to thank the local Lowe’s Home Improvement Store and Home Depot, which donated paint and plants.
“Anyone can visit, and can call for a tour,” said Sansone. Call 574-0574 to make arrangements.
The butterfly house is open to the public weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (excluding city holidays).
The center and new butterfly house is located within Lake Kennedy Park between Lake Kennedy Senior Center and Sun Splash Family Waterpark, at 410 Santa Barbara Blvd.