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Nonprofits secure funding for an indoor butterfly garden in Missoula

Western two-tailed swallowtail butterfly
Glenn Marangelo Missoula Insectarium

A team of nonprofits announced this week it’s raised enough funds to build Montana’s first indoor butterfly garden.

[Campaign video] “To feel that humidity and heat, and to see those explosions of color – butterflies are really feisty!”

A promotional video from the “Join the Buzz!” fundraising campaign pitches the butterfly house as an unique opportunity for science and education in Montana.

Organizers behind the campaign say they’ve raised the $5.3 million needed to fund the facility currently under construction at the Missoula County Fairgrounds.

Glenn Marangelo is the co-founder and development director of the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium, which partnered with the Healthy Acres Healthy Communities Foundation for the project.

“We’re shooting for having about 500 free-flying butterflies at any given time,” Marangelo says. “It’s going to be this incredible, immersion experience.”

The 2,500-square-foot butterfly house is part of the Gerald W. Marks Exploration Center, which will also house the Missoula County Weed District and Extension. The science center will feature a large outdoor garden, live insect exhibits and more.

Marangelo says the facility is expected to open later this year.

Austin graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program in May 2022. He came to MTPR as an evening newscast intern that summer, and jumped at the chance to join full-time as the station’s morning voice in Fall 2022.

He is best reached by emailing
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