We live in Southeastern Pa and have a couple of acres of mostly large oak trees and a fair amount of tranquility. I would like my granddaughters to have the joy of learning about butterflys and their development. Where would you suggest I start my education. Which tools will be most usefull.
The first thing is to learn which butterflies are in your area. This link will answer that question for you. http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/map?ds=39&_dcs=1 Local libraries may have books that focus on butterflies in PA.
Next, plant a garden with plants butterflies need: BOTH host and nectar plants. They need nectar plants (although there are quite a few in nature that we call 'weeds'). But most important are host plants - the plants that the caterpillars eat. Each species is very specific about which plant the caterpillars eat. The mom butterfly lays eggs on those plants only. If you plant the plants, the butterflies will come. Absolutely.
Once you have the plants planted, remember that they are insects. Insecticides will kill them! A plant with holes in the leaf may mean that a caterpillar is eating and growing into a butterfly.
You'll have fun!