Meet Camilla, our laboratory manager and most excellent outreach specialist! Camilla joined us all the way from Rome (yes, the one in Italy) in early 2017 to tackle the challenging position of livestock manager during the 2017 spring busy season. This is no easy feat, as it requires managing upwards of 30 000 insects at a time: luckily, Camilla has a strong background in butterfly breeding, having overseen breeding programs at conservation and education sites in Costa Rica (which is actually how Corrianne met her!).
It was pretty immediate that we couldn't live without her, so we went ahead and stole her away from Italy to stay in frosty northern Canada as our Laboratory Manager forever - and we wouldn't have it any other way!
If you've gotten mantis, bees, isopods, or of course caterpillars from us, they came via Camilla's expertise. She's in charge of all creatures great and small in the lab, from the biggest snake to the teeniest caterpillar egg, and ensures each one is in fine fettle. She's also an absolute delight in the classroom: if you've had a chance to experience one of her programs, you'll know how laughter spreads wherever she goes! Saluti!
WALLY (short for Dr. Walrus Dracula) is a Hermann's tortoise who thinks he is a person. His favourite foods are dandelion, kale, and collard greens, and his favourite color is red. His preferred activity is chasing you around and biting your ankles and toes. It's true! Don't let his cuteness fool you! He will bite your feet if you sit still enough.
Wally came to us through the Edmonton Reptile Rehab & Rescue, where he had been surrendered as a youngster after a consistently bad diet and a serious injury led him to chronic health issues. We are happy to say that with the specialized and extensive care tortoises require, he is now doing great!
Follow Wally on Instagram @tortoisewally.
Meet Gloria , our mighty leader. From motherhood to business owner, her journey has always been rooted in family and raising a the next generation of helpers. Gloria was born in the Yukon and moved to Edmonton as a young adult to build a home and raise a family: a love of the north and all it's inhabitants runs deep in her. Gloria has been a scuba diving instructor, a motorcycle instructor, is a certified Toastmaster, and probably has all manner of wise one-liners to bring a little brightness to your day. Gloria really loves millipedes, and thinks everyone should know how cool they are.
Gloria founded Butterfly Wings N' Wishes Ltd. with an intent to bring food to her table in a way that makes the whole world better. She believes that having a greater purpose is an important key to happiness in our lifetime.
If you've worked with us basically ever, chances are high you've met or talked to Gloria: though she started out doing our outreach and appearing in the schools, these days she can usually be found in the office answering your questions via email or on the phone. She's thrilled to lead a team of like-minded individuals, armed with an arsenal of friendly critters, all ready to go out and "save the world, one child at a time."
Butterfly Wings N' Wishes was formed in 2000, a business born initially from one woman's interest in bugs, education, and native species conservation.
Gloria Brons, our founder, has always had an interest in unusual "creepy crawlies." From a young age, she suffered from a crippling phobia of spiders: but after having children of her own, she realized it would not be fair to pass this phobia along to her kids.
Gloria obtained her first Painted Lady Butterflies in the summer of 2000, born partly of curiosity, and partly of entrepreneurial interest. She hired the first members of our Outreach Team in 2006, and built a laboratory facility in 2010. Gloria's daughter Corrianne took over general management of operations in 2015, and obtained facility accreditation from the CFIA in 2016 for approval of our laboratory as a containment zone. Our projects and team are ever expanding, and we are constantly seeking out new ways to make a positive impact in the lives of Canadians.
We have a theory:
In places like Northern Alberta, we must learn to seek beauty by looking a little closer at things, instead of only at the bigger picture. We don't have a lot of charismatic megafauna like killer whales, tigers, and polar bears here: all of which are powerful global symbols of our disappearing habitats, and act as ambassadors. Most children are going to grow up and fall in love with those animals, but there is very little an average citizen here can do throughout their day that deeply impacts the lives of creatures like this.
Instead, we advocate starting with the daily good we can do: the animals whose lives and habitats we can positively impact with our personal lifestyle choices. The truth is our humble house spiders, our butterflies, our wood frogs and garter snakes - even our wasps! - are all just as important for conservation and ecological balance as a blue whale is. We think that you need to start small to make a big impact. Children and are not born with a fear of certain animals - they are taught them by lesson or by accident. Simply exposing people to misunderstood wildlife drastically impacts their interactions with their environment. If we don't care about saving what's under our feet, we won't have anywhere to stand.
Over a decade after we began teaching about native wildlife, BWNW now offers a wide variety of educational programs, interactions, and activities for kids of all ages.
As we like to say:
The more you understand your world, the more interesting it becomes.
Corrianne is Gloria's daughter and has been working full time with the business since 2014. Predictably, she grew up thinking that sharing the dinner table with caterpillars is a pretty normal thing. Corrianne is passionate about field herpetology and wetland conservation, a composting enthusiast, and thinks everyone should love cockroaches as much as she does. Her favourite place to be (besides a kayak in a swamp somewhere, catching garter snakes) is in the composting room or feeding the roaches, because she gets to listen to the happy rustling and munching of thousands of busy little feet and mouths.
Corrianne is our Operations Coordinator, program designer, and species specialist, managing our permit/regulations with the CFIA. She'd like to remind you that if you find an exotic insect in your kale, to give us a call intsead of releasing it! BWNW has a home for all wayward insects of dubious legal status.
If you're looking for cool in-school field trips, education events, or projects outside of the bug world, she's a great one to talk to: Corrianne coordinates outreach programs, field trips and events for a variety of not for profit societies and organizations in the Edmonton area.
Our Management Team