Alberta's Environmental Educators - Since 2000
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.
She started by simply encouraging her children to take an interest in the unusual and uncommon: releasing spiders found in the bathtub back outside (instead of killing them), raising caterpillars instead of squishing them, having a pet snake as well as a pet hamster. With this sense of curiosity instead of fear, her kids grew up without the phobias that had so affected her own childhood. And so began a journey of discovery.
Gloria obtained her first Painted Lady Butterflies in the summer of 2000, born party of curiosity, and partly of entrepreneurial interest. She hired the first members of our Outreach Team in 2006, and we built a laboratory facility in 2010. Gloria's daughter Corrianne took over general management of operations in 2015, and we 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, Butterfly Wings N' Wishes now offers a wide variety of educational programs, interactions, and fun activities for kids of all ages - always with backyard conservation and real-world application in mind.
As we like to say:
The more you understand your world, the more interesting it becomes.
Meet Gloria Brons, our mighty founder. 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 little 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 in the past, 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 asenal of friendly critters, all ready to go out and "save the world, one child at a time."