ST. CLOUD -- An annual ceremony to honor lost loved ones at Munsinger Gardens may be more important in 2022 than ever before.

Quiet Oaks Hospice House teamed up with the Munsinger Clemens Botanical Society for the 11th annual Memorial Butterfly Release. Each summer, people at the event can buy a Monarch butterfly to honor or memorialize someone who has passed away and then release it alongside all the others.

This year’s event also comes less than a week after Monarchs were officially listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The migratory butterflies have been red-listed due to dwindling population numbers caused by the destruction of their food sources and habitats by pesticides and deforestation.

More than 550 butterflies were set free beside the Mississippi River Sunday afternoon. All of the money raised will benefit Compassionate Care Funds which help cover the costs of resident care at Quiet Oaks.

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The release was followed by the next installment of the Music in the Gardens outdoor summer concert series with a performance from Harper’s Chord.

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