Monarch release, UT Insect Zoo, speakers and children’s activities are highlights

The University of Tennessee Arboretum Society will present its third annual Butterfly Festival on Saturday, August 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the UT Arboretum Auditorium and surrounding grounds, 901 S. Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge. It is cosponsored by the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center. The gate will be open at 9:30 a.m. The event will take place rain or shine.

The event, which drew hundreds of area participants in 2017, is designed for children and adults of all ages. There is no admission charge and there is ample parking in designated areas of the UT Arboretum adjacent to the event.

The day’s highlight will be the release of 200 butterflies at noon. It is suggested that butterflies be purchased early in the day due to limited supply. We invite children to help release the monarch butterflies, which will be offered at a cost of $10 per butterfly to cover costs. Cash or credit cards will be accepted. For the safety of all, the use of butterfly nets at this event is strictly prohibited.

Two speakers will give presentations before the monarch release. From 10:00 to 10:45, noted botanical artist Linda Fraser will speak about butterflies and other insects specific to certain plants. She will also have examples of her botanical illustrations and paintings available for purchase throughout the day. From 11:00 to 11:45, Jamie Herold, a plant ecologist for the Oak Ridge Reservation and Chair of the ORNL Native Landscaping Committee will lecture on “Planting for Pollinators.”

The festival will feature five local artisans and one native plant vendor, Lori McAllister of Tennessee Naturescapes ( from Clinton. Lori will be bringing a large selection of locally sourced nectar and larval plants for butterflies and other pollinators. She will give away one free butterfly weed plant for each family with a child while supplies last. Butterfly weed is the host plant for the monarch butterfly.

Food vendors include Dano’s Hotdogs, featuring hotdogs, hamburgers and lemonade. Mediterranean Delight will offer Middle Eastern fare and Razzleberry’s of Oak Ridge will offer ice cream. The UT Arboretum Society will be selling bottled water for $1.00 each.

From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., there will be music by Boogertown Gap, an old-time string band. Craft activities will be available for children at a cost of $1 ticket per activity or $5 for six tickets.

From 12:30 to 12:45, after the butterfly release, Abdullah Almsaeed, developer of the exciting new app, Tree Snap, will explain how to record trees in a national database.

Children of all ages will enjoy seeing Dr. Jerome Grant and his students at the UT Insect Zoo, a travelling exhibit of insects. The goal of the Insect Zoo is to have fun while sharing knowledge of insects with others to help them appreciate the important role of insects in our environment. The Insect Zoo showcases preserved and live insects and arachnids (scorpion, tarantula, etc.) found in Tennessee and throughout the world. Kids can get “up close and personal” with such insects as the Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Monarch level sponsor for this event is Peoples Home Equity of Knoxville.

Celebrating 53 years in 2018 this program is one of many lectures and activities that will continue to be offered this year by the UT Arboretum Society. The program is cosponsored by the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center.

For more information on the program, call 865-776-8227 or

Einstein Simplified Comedy Improv Returns to the Arboretum


Enjoy an early Mother’s Day with renowned comedy group Einstein Simplified

The UT Arboretum Society again presents an evening of laughter and live improv on Sunday, May 6th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge. Come enjoy the fun as this well-known Knoxville area comedy improv group entertains us with original, unrehearsed improv. If you like Second City and Saturday Night Live, this show is for you! Given today’s roller coaster political climate, we expect a very funny show. Don’t miss it!

Due to popular demand in 2017, the group is returning to the Arboretum for the second year. Tickets for this UT Arboretum Society fundraiser are now on sale and they are selling quickly. Due to space limitations, only 90 tickets can be sold. All tickets will be sold before the event. There are no walk-up sales.  Various cheeses will be served, a ticket for one glass of wine and the live show are included in the ticket price. Soft drinks will be provided. A wine tasting cash bar will be offered before, during and after the show. The preferred method of ticket sales is online at the UT Arboretum Society website.

Buy tickets here! Or visit the ticket sale site directly at

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Click Here to visit the Brown Paper Tickets event page.

If you are not able to purchase online, you can send a check to: UT Arboretum Society, 10626 Forest Crest Road, Knoxville, TN 37922 made out to the UT Arboretum Society. Please put “Einstein Simplified” on the memo line. For information call 865-776-8227.

The event is Sunday, May 6, at 5:00 p.m. at the UT Arboretum Auditorium, 901 S. Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge.  Gates open at 4:30. Social hour, with drinks and a variety of cheeses and crackers from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The show starts promptly at 6:00 p.m. and will end about 7:00 p.m.

Though the contents of the program are equivalent to a PG rating, this performance is not recommended for children.
Einstein has been a Knoxville staple for 24 years, having performed at Side Splitters and, for the past few years, every Tuesday night at Scruffy City Hall (Preservation Pub) in Market Square in Knoxville. These comedians are in demand, doing a weekly show and many special appearances. Last month, they were one of the featured national improv groups at the famous Gatlinburg Improv Fest.

For more information on Einstein Simplified check out their Facebook page.

Bring your spouse, significant other, friends and neighbors. But mostly, bring your sense of humor!!!!

Celebrating 53 years in 2018, this program is one of many activities that will be offered this year by the UT Arboretum Society. The program is cosponsored by the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center.
The Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, is one of 10 outdoor laboratories located throughout the state as part of the UT AgResearch system. AgResearch is a division of the UT Institute of Agriculture. The Institute of Agriculture also provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension offices, with locations in every county in the state.