The Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park will host its first Lupine Festival on Saturday, complete with the first public tours of a fire tower moved to the park last year from Luther Forest.
The festival date was chosen to coincide with the peak bloom of the wild blue lupine and the emergence of the first hatch of the endangered Karner blue butterfly, said Margo Olson, executive director of the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park.
The blue lupine plant is the natural habitat for the quarter-sized blue butterfly. The preserve and park is home to the largest population of Karner blue butterflies in the Northeast, Olson said.
The events will be held in the old Camp Saratoga section of the park on Scout Road from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Events include nature walks and presentations, live animals, crafts and tours of the Cornell Hill Fire Tower, which was taken from Luther Forest in Stillwater last fall, restored by experts and then reassembled on land owned by the town of Wilton off Scout Road near old Camp Saratoga.
The town property is part of the more than 2,000 acres of land protected as open space and known as the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park, a not-for-profit partnership of the town, the state, Saratoga County and the Nature Conservancy.
“So many people who live so close to here don’t know how gorgeous it is,” Olson said.
She said the Lupine Festival is a way of showcasing the preserve and park when the Karner blue butterfly is out and the lupine is in bloom.
The preserve and park offers a variety of nature trail systems at several locations on the east side of the Northway in Wilton.
The day will include hourly walks, starting at 10:30 a.m., in the Saratoga Sand Plains Habitat restoration area led by Kathy O’Brien, a Karner blue expert and a state wildlife biologist, and Chris Zimmerman, a conservation ecologist with Nature Conservancy.
Live native reptiles and amphibians will be on display, courtesy of Kenny Barnett, “the Naturalist Guy.” North Country Wild Care will have native birds of prey on display.
Food will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the camp barbecue pit.
The festival will take place rain or shine, with activities moving under cover of the former scout camp’s pavilions, dining hall, and International Paper winter lodge.