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NextFifty Initiative Provides Sizeable Grant to Fund Butterfly Pavilion Program that Cultivates Connection Between Older Adults and the Environment

Westminster, CO – Butterfly Pavilion is pleased to announce the return of its Healthy Habitats Gardening Program (HHGP) after a two-year hiatus since 2020 brought about by COVID-19. For the past two decades, Butterfly Pavilion has selected two to three skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and memory care facilities to work alongside the residents to plant and care for gardens populated with native perennials that attract butterflies and beneficial wildlife. This year, with the generous donation by NextFifty Initiatives, the Butterfly Pavilion horticulture team and volunteers were able to select seven locations to plant immersive gardens at a larger scale and implement seasonal educational programming. 


Healthy Habitats Gardening Program  

Since its inception in 2002, each spring the HHGP has provided social, cognitive, psychological, and physical benefits to older adults at memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation facilities across the Denver metro area. The program has, in total, reached 3000 individuals at more than 60 different facilities in the area since inception. Over the course of a year, participants at selected facilities learn about habitat gardening, engage in horticulture therapy, and enjoy the butterflies and blooms.   

“The program’s goal is to provide a home for Colorado butterflies and other wildlife while facilitating a connection to nature, continued education, and a route to physical and mental health in older adults,” said Ashley White, Community Habitats Manager at Butterfly Pavilion. “And we’re so happy to bring the program back this year, thanks largely in part to NextFifty’s donation.” 

These gardens provide important food and shelter for pollinators along the Front Range of Colorado, where rapid development threatens populations and their habitats.  This program, which was recognized with the Citizen/Community Award from the Colorado Alliance of Environmental Education in 2010, has continued to draw interest from centers throughout the Colorado Front Range.  

Residents who participate in the program are reportedly more active, and all evaluations of the program noted that residents spend more time outdoors after the program. One program activity director remarked, “Never before have the seniors spent so much time in the courtyard.  Residents who were opposed to fresh air and sunshine went outside.”   

The Healthy Habitats Gardening Program has been made possible through generous donations from NextFifty Initiative. 


About NextFifty Initiative  

NextFifty Initiative is a Colorado-based, private foundation supporting efforts to improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers. The foundation works with community leaders, experts in the field of aging, and front-line professionals to support programs and projects that positively impact aging and longevity. They focus on education, sharing best practices, and supporting innovation that will transform aging for generations to come. To learn more, visit 


About Butterfly Pavilion 

Butterfly Pavilion has been part of the Colorado community since 1995 and is the first Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited, stand-alone, non-profit invertebrate zoo in the world, currently occupying a 30,000-square foot facility situated on an 11-acre campus provided by the City of Westminster, Colorado. Butterfly Pavilion’s mission is to foster an appreciation of butterflies and other invertebrates while educating the public about the need for conservation of threatened habitats in the tropics and around the world. 

Beyond Colorado and the United States, Butterfly Pavilion conservationists are doing important invertebrate research projects around the world from Mongolia and Saudi Arabia to Sumatra and Tanzania. Closer to home, a new Butterfly Pavilion in Broomfield, Colorado is planned to open in 2025 in the Baseline community, setting the global standard for invertebrate science and conservation. The $55M, 81,000-square-foot facility will include greatly expanded guest experiences, world-class research labs and a much larger zoological facility. Learn more at