The iconic monarch butterfly is the focus of a program on Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m. in the visitors center at Renfrew Park. Sponsored by Renfrew Institute, the program is free and open to the public.

Local artist and musician Tom McFarland will discuss the success he has had over several years raising monarch caterpillars on milkweed growing outside his art classroom at St. Maria Goretti High School in Hagerstown.

Throughout North America, the monarch butterfly population is in decline. Conservationists and other concerned citizens are working to reverse this trend by creating and enhancing environments where the caterpillars and later, butterflies, will thrive.

“I think it’s important for people to do what they can to save the monarch for future generations. It’s going to take a lot of people in a lot of places,” McFarland said. “Let’s see what we can do right here.”

Monarch caterpillars need milkweed to grow. With photographs to illustrate the talk, McFarland will share information on different types of milkweed, and on the natural history of monarch butterflies, their life stages and food preferences. Attendees will receive milkweed seeds to plant.

A high school art teacher for more than 30 years, McFarland is recognized world wide for his signature turtle sculptures.

Parking is available behind the visitors center. For more information, email the institute at info@renfrewinstitute.org or call 717-762-0373.

This program is underwritten in part by Marge Kiersz, Lucinda D. Potter, CPA, Smith Elliott Kearns & Company, and by Renfrew Institute’s Today’s Horizon Fund contributors: The Nora Roberts Foundation, APX Enclosures, Inc., and the Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin. Facility support is provided by Renfrew Museum and Park.