Welcome to the pollinator trail! Throughout this exhibit, you will learn about and see host plants, nectar sources, and their respective butterflies and caterpillars. The signs on the trail will have preliminary information on them, but you can follow along here for more detailed guides. The trail begins at the picnic shelter by the red barn, loops up to the clubhouse, and comes back down to the parking area.
This event will last from July 9 – July 19. You are welcome to visit any time from dawn until dusk during these days. However, education stations and kiosks will be set up from 10 am to 12 noon Monday-Saturday.
Throughout this trail, we will be referring to nectar sources and host plants. Nectar is the substance in plants that adult butterflies and bees feed on. Host plants are the substances that the butterfly larvae [caterpillars] eat.
If you need help identifying the plants along the trail, you can use the smartphone app iSeek.
If you need a more detailed guide for the butterflies, you can view the Butterflies and Skippers of Ohio Field Guide from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
For an interactive map of the trail, click here.
Stop 1: Grassy ditch by the road in front of the picnic shelter
There are several nectar sources here: joe pye, milkweed, and thistle.
There are also several host plants that attract smaller butterflies.
The thistle serves as a host plant for painted ladies.
The stinging nettle serves as a host plant for red admirals.
The willow serves as a host for the viceroy.
The violet serves as a host for the meadow fritillary.
The milkweed serves as a nectar source for the great spangled fritillary and a host plant for the monarch.
Stop 2: Milkweed and Monarch Butterflies
Here, you will see milkweed, which is the host plant for monarch caterpillars.
Stop 3: Ash Trail and Conservation Loop Intersection
The nectar sources here are as follows: purple cone flower, queen anne’s lace, bee balm, and phlox.
You will see a variety of butterflies here: swallowtails, sulphur, meadow fritillary, skippers, viceroy, and monarch.
Queen Anne’s Lace and the parsley family serve as host plants for the Black Swallowtail.
The Cone Flower attracts smaller butterflies: Painted Ladies, Red Admirals, Viceroys, and Meadow Fritillary.
Education Station 1: Grey Shed
If you come through the trail Monday-Saturday between 10am and 12 noon, you will have the opportunity to visit our first education station. Here, we will have lots of information on butterflies.
Stop 4: Bee Balm
Bee Balm attracts many nectaring butterflies, such as the Pipevine Swallowtail, the Red Spotted Purple Butterfly, the Question Mark Butterfly, the Red Admiral Butterfly, and the Great Spangled Fritillary.
Education Station 2: Caterpillars and Butterflies
During staffed hours, this education station will teach guests all about different type of caterpillars. You will have the opportunity to purchase caterpillars and chrysalis at this station as well.
Stop 5: Sassafras Grove
The Sassafras grove, which contains many of the tree ID signs, also contains trees that serve as host plants for butterfly larvae [caterpillars]. If you directly face a tree ID sign, the tree that is directly behind it is the tree that the sign is referring to.
Host plants include: sassafras trees, wild cherry trees, spice bushes, and prickly ash trees.
The wild cherry attracts the Red Spotted Purple Butterfly, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, the Coral Hairstreak, the Spring Azure, and the Summer Azure.
The prickly ash attracts the Giant Swallowtail.
The Spicebush attracts the Spicebush Swallowtail.
Stop 6: Boardwalk Host Trees
From right before the boardwalk to just following it, you will see Shagbark Hickory and Black Walnut ID signs. These trees are also host plants.
Shagbark Hickory serves as a host plant for the Hickory Horn Devil moth and the Banded Hairstreak.
The Black Walnut tree also serves as a host for the Banded Hairstreak.
Stop 7: Tulip Poplar Trees
Tulip Poplar trees are a host plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, the Red Spotted Purple Butterfly, and the Viceroy.
Stop 8: Wetland
The high grasses and decaying material attracts wood nymphs, damselflies, and dragonflies.
Stop 9: Ampitheater
The Elm tree serves as a host plant for the Mourning Cloak Butterfly, the Eastern Comma Butterfly, and the Question Mark Butterfly.
The Stinging Nettle also hosts the Eastern Comma and the Question Mark.
The Hackberry serves as a host plant for the Tawny Emperor Butterfly.
Stop 10: Violets
The Violet is a host plant for the Great Spangled Fritillary and the Meadow Fritillary.
Stop 11: Butterfly Weed, Daisies, and Brown Eyed Susans.
On the hill back to the parking lot, you will see many different plants along the path. Some of them you may recognize from earlier on the trail. While the Daisies and the Brown Eyed Susans as located together, the butterfly weed is found a little further down the hill. Its bright orange flowers stand out among the green fields at the NJC.
Butterfly Weed, Daisies, and and Brown Eyed Susans serve as nectar for an assortment of butterflies. Butterfly Weed also serves as a host. The butterflies you may see here are as follows: The Silver Spotted Skipper, the Monarch, the Common Buckeye, and the Eastern Comma.
Stop 12: Plantains and Clovers
Further down the hill, you will see some clovers and plantains. While many of the purple clovers can be seen on the edge of the trail, many of the plantains can be found on the path itself. These plants stay close to the ground, and you may recognize them from your driveway.
The Plantain serves as a host plant and the Clover serves as nectar for a variety of butterflies, including the Common Buckeye, the Wood Nymph, the Painted Lady, and the Northern Pearly Eye.
Stop 13: Grassy Waterway
The Sweet Pea serves as a nectar source and host plant for the Silver Spotted Skipper.