IGS Internships

Butterfly Garden

Interns will assist in all aspects of running the Garden. After a training period you will be asked to serve as an interpreter for visiting guests to the Garden. In this regard you will be expected to discuss the history of the garden, the behavioral patterns of the insects in the Garden, the threats to each species from commercial development, and loss of habitat. Additional job duties will include maintaining the exhibits, propagating new species, and cleaning up after hours if needed.

The garden was founded in 1989 by a leading biologist and his wife with the aim of inspiring and education visitors about the vast array of butterflies and insects native to Costa Rica. All the butterflies in the garden are bred on the premises, unlike most gardens which buy in their chrysalides. The Garden believes in hands-on education. The biodiversity center displays a variety of insects and arachnids local to Moneteverde, many of them live, allowing visitors and up-close and personal experience, as well as information about breeding, feeding and habitats, live bug cams, and a case for viewing butterflies as they emerge from their chrysalides. Each of the four butterfly gardens represents a different Costa Rican habitat according to temperature, altitude and vegetation, ranging from hot lowlands to mid-elevation forest-edge to higher altitude cloud forest. The gardens contain more than fifty species in total, including the unique Calico butterfly, the only butterfly in the world to produce sound; the stunning Blue Morpho seen all over Monteverde, as well as transparent and barely visible Glass-Wings and unusual striped Zebra-Wings.

The medicinal plant garden is a self-guided tour of more than seventy plants used medicinally throughout the world. An information sheet lists their many different and often surprising uses.

The final, and perhaps most fascinating exhibit, is the Leaf Cutter Ant Colony, displayed under glass allowing visitors to see the ants carrying leaves along a warren of trails to their nest; here they are cultivating a fungus from the decomposing vegetation that they will use to feed on later.

The tour is informative and often very entertaining, actually more like a mini-course in tropical entomology and Costa Rican natural history! As well as learning about butterflies visitors will discover why cockroaches are actually great neighbors and how jewel scarab beetles can distort light waves.