Did you know: a group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope!

This year, we’ve launched the Adopt-a-Butterfly program as an opportunity for our caring community to help capture the magic and spark that makes the Butterfly Show special and full of great educational experiences. It’s only with donor support that the show is possible year after year.

In 2022, Carleton University’s Biology Department will be hosting the 23rd Annual Biology Butterfly Show, partially in-person in the greenhouse and some elements remaining online.

During the 9 days leading into the Thanksgiving weekend, over 800 live exotic butterflies, representing 41 different species worldwide, will be released into the greenhouses of the Nesbitt Biology building.

The Butterfly Show has always been funded through the generosity of its visitors. To ensure that the Butterfly Show can run successfully in the future, and remain accessible for future generations, we encourage your support with a generous donation!

The Background

Each year, the Butterfly Show costs approximately $9,000 to run. The bulk of that cost is the importing of between 800 and 1000 tropical butterflies from around the world.

In 2022, we will be importing tropical butterflies from around the world, as well as setting up equipment that will help you to enjoy the experience from home.

We are so pleased that we are able to run this show in person again. We need your help to ensure that the Butterfly Show can continue to be accessible for future generations.

The Rollout

Donations to the Butterfly Show help us to sustain the following aspects of the show.

Pupae Importing:

Each year, the hundreds of butterflies you see in the Nesbitt Greenhouses have travelled across the world as pupae. The stars of the show make up the majority of the yearly costs (around $7,000).


The Let’s Talk Science presentations are performed by volunteers, who are students from Carleton and the University of Ottawa. The tours are offered free of charge to schools and local community groups, however the images and models used to provide a more interactive learning experience must be purchased by the department.


There are some facility costs that keep the show running each year, such as the butterfly nursery upkeep, emergence cage repairs, and signage.

Adopting a Butterfly

  • With a minimum commitment of $9 a month you’ll be adopting a new butterfly each and every month! Becoming a monthly donor is easy to do and creates a sustainable impact while helping to plan the show for next year.
  • You can adopt one, or as many as you would like, with a $9 contribution for each.
  • Adopt a flutter (11 butterflies) with a $100 donation
  • Adopt a kaleidoscope (28 butterflies) with a donation of $250
  • Any and all donations towards the show are greatly appreciated as it’s thanks to the contributions of our donors that the show continues year after year.

The Impact

Carleton University maintains close ties to the greater Ottawa community. Through events like the Butterfly Show, Carleton University can provide educational experiences beyond the classroom. The Butterfly Show enhances and further showcases the Carleton University campus experience to the patrons of the show who come each year with their families. It is an annual event that many families look forward to around the Thanksgiving season.

In 2022, we have once again partnered with Let’s Talk Science to offer talks to school or community groups who are interested in turning their virtual experience to the Butterfly Show into an even more educational experience. Let’s Talk Science volunteers will also be present in the greenhouse when we welcome the public on weekends, to answer questions and provide fun butterfly facts. There will also be public presentations live streamed from inside the butterfly greenhouse.

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Donation Total: $9.00