Being a member of the International Butterfly Breeders
Association means that Butterflies & Blueberries, Inc. adheres to
the strict Code of Ethics set by the Board of Directors. All of our
butterflies are raised under sanitary conditions and with a special
diet that insure that our butterflies "grow-up" healthy and
beautiful. The butterflies for release are raised for each individual
order, then fed and exercised before carefully being packaged and shipped
over-night to our customers.
Butterflies represent re-birth and new beginnings. For
this reason we wanted to be able to bring this joy not only to children,
but also to senior citizens in retirement homes and seriously ill patients
of all ages. We are committed to developing products that can be easily
used in traditional classroom and home schooling environments.
Butterflies & Blueberries, Inc. represents the next
evolutionary step for Bill Howatt and Laurel Brown. The idea for
the corporation was inspired by and conceived in Aruba on vacation.
There, they had the opportunity to visit a butterfly farm and fell
in love with the idea of not only breeding and raising live butterflies
but also growing the plants that attract them.
Bill and Laurel met in High School in a suburb of
Worcester, MA in the early 70ís and worked together at the local
hospital kitchen through high school. "We had a lot of friends in
common. Bill was a great guy and a lot of fun to be with but definitely
a wild spirit", says Laurel. They each went their own ways after
graduating, Bill, to University of Idaho and Laurel to the University
of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Over the next 20 years, Laurel earned her BS in Marketing and Management, got married, had two children and divorced. She moved with her children to a wonderful small town community
in NH. "We didnít know
a single person. However, it did not take long for the kids to get
involved in sports and school activities. The community embraced
us, the schools were top notch and we were very happy in Milford, NH",
Bill fell in love with Idaho remaining there for
a few years after getting his degree in Forestry. But he also knew
his father had always dreamed of farming the 140-acre farm where
Bill grew up so Bill returned to Massachusetts to help his father
achieve his dream. They developed the plan that gave birth to Spring
Ledge Tree Farm. Over the next 18 years, Bill and his Dad cleared
over 17 acres of forest, planted, nurtured, and sold thousands of
Christmas trees. "When I first started I didnít even have a chain-saw."
he said, shaking his head, "I started clearing the land with an
ax: Paul Bunyan style!" He chose to live a very simple life in a
small house on a pond in a neighboring town and managed to maintain
his cherished "bachelor status".
In 1995, Bill called Laurel and asked her out to dinner. She was
very busy with her children and their activities, but Bill persisted,
and they agreed to meet. (It had been 23 years since they had last
seen each other.) They did "car-pool duty" to soccer practice on
their way to dinner and then had to leave their meals in the middle
of dinner to pick up the kids, returning to the restaurant an hour
later to finish their dinner! "It was my first introduction to life
with children" and it never slowed down after that." Bill laughs,
"I asked her to work with me on the tree farm that fall and to help
me sell the trees at Christmas. I quickly fell in love with Laurel
and her children."
Planting and maintaining thousands of Christmas trees
year after year was beginning to take a toll on Bill physically
and he began looking for his next "farming" opportunity. After the
Aruba vacation in January 1999, Bill came back excited to "farm"
butterflies and their plants. In 2001 they formed the corporation, Butterflies & Blueberries,
Looking for direction and inspiration for his new
venture, Bill reflected back to the various enterprises he had embarked
upon during the years of tree farming and found a product he had
developed 15 years previously. "After a few modifications, I developed
Billís Butterfly Nursery, which in turn, inspired all the other
educational butterfly raising products we have to offer," he explained.
Bill started breeding beautiful Painted Lady butterflies so that
he would be able to supply the entire line of butterfly raising
kits with larvae. "We have had a tremendous amount of positive feedback
from parents, children, teachers and students, alike, from all over
Butterflies & Blueberries, Inc. soon began to offer
beautiful live Painted Lady, Mourning Cloaks and Monarch butterflies for release at
weddings, memorial services, fundraisers, graduations, and other
life celebrations across the continental United States.
In July 2001, Bill & Laurel moved back to Billís
home on the pond. "The kids were in college. We were ready for the
move back to Billís house. We are excited to be back in the area where we grew up", says
Laurel. On a beautiful, warm, autumn day in October 2002 they were
married on the pond's edge. "Of course, we had to release beautiful
Painted Lady, Monarch and Mourning Cloak butterflies to celebrate", Bill smiled. "Everyone