If you love something, set it free — after taking a few selfies

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Butterfly enthusiasts, including this lucky lepidopterist, gathered in Ames Saturday for the Butterfly Blizzard at the Reiman Gardens.

“Take all the pictures you want before you open the lid,” said the wise person at Reiman Gardens’ Butterfly Blizzard in the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing in Ames Saturday.

For a few dollars, anyone could sign up in advance to release a butterfly. Participants were given a plastic container with a butterfly inside and instructed to remove the lid and tilt the container slightly and then ever so slowly to move a finger toward the butterfly in an attempt to get the butterfly to climb upon your finger and maybe even allow you to place it on your shoulder.

But then it might just flit right out and fly away, ignoring any attempt to befriend it.

Some brief information was provided about each butterfly before its release, but most of the younger participants seemed more interested in the releasing part than the informational part.

A few of the butterflies seemed quite happy to rest upon their releasers and not fly away, with one young boy exclaiming that his butterfly had been on him for 15 minutes.

The next Butterfly Blizzard is set for Saturday, Dec. 19 from 8-9:30 a.m. Participants must pre-register with payment by Dec. 17. Cost is $5 for one butterfly, $8 for two butterflies, $12 for three butterflies and $3 for each additional butterfly. Note that the price does not include admission to the gardens.

In 1993 benefactors Roy and Bobbi Reiman provided the funds to establish the current Reiman Gardens, a 17-acre botanical center lying at the south entrance of the Iowa State campus.

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