State College

On Centre: Centre Region | Park opens arms, wings to visitors for Saturday celebration

What does Chaos Theory have to do with the Centre Region?

Inside Chaos Theory, loosely described as how complex mathematical systems behave when conditions are changed slightly, lives what you might know as The Butterfly Effect.

The Butterfly Effect takes its name from what potentially could result when a little butterfly flaps its wings — it pushes air from its wings that over distance and time eventually could be the catalyst of a hurricane. In human terms, think of what would have happened if George Bailey was never born in the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

If you’re still with me, then here’s where it hits home: A 17-year-old boy who enjoyed collecting butterflies passes away, and a park is named in his memory. A close friend of the boy’s family suffers the loss of his child at the same age. A butterfly garden within that park is created in her memory.

You may know the story of the Tom Tudek Memorial Park in Ferguson Township. You may also have walked through the 3-acre butterfly garden just up from the pavilion created by Robert Snetsinger, professor emeritus of entomology at Penn State.

Snetsinger created this once-little butterfly garden with just six different types of butterflies, and today, it boasts more than 30 resident species of butterflies and 100 species of native plants that serve as caterpillar hosts.

On Saturday, visitors to the park can attend a celebration at the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden, which includes educational activities provided by members of the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Centre County. Visitors can also take part in the inaugural “Pollinator Parade.” To participate, come dressed as your favorite pollinator, such as a butterfly, bee or bird.

The Wings in the Park celebration runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit

And in other garden news ...

Roll up your sleeves with the the ClearWater Conservancy on Wednesday for a work and learn session from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in ClearWater’s Native Plant Garden.

Lead garden volunteer Terry Melton will lead a weeding and mulching session in the gardens, then will chat with attendees about native plants. The idea is to help gardeners learn tips about how to grow better gardens naturally and support insects and wildlife.

All equipment — gloves, tools and materials — will provided, but registration is required for the free event, which is limited to 20 people.

The event is at 2555 N. Atherton St. in State College. For more information, check out