Meet Brookside Neighborhood's 'Butterfly Lady'

Tuesday, August 10th 2010, 5:27 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Wouldn't it be something if every neighborhood could have its own wildlife habitat and butterfly way station?

One midtown Tulsa neighborhood has both in one yard. 

Photojournalist Todd Ruffin said his Brookside neighborhood had its own butterfly lady. So Rick Wells wanted to see it. When they went to her house, she wasn't home.

"Most weekends she's out here toiling in the dirt," said Bill Brock, a neighbor.

Brock says his neighbor has worked hard enough to get her yard certified. You can't miss the signs out front. There's one from the wildlife federation, one from the humane society and another from Monarch watch. It's a certified Monarch butterfly way station.

"I told her butterflies can't read, but they still show up," said Sheila Naifeh, a neighbor.

Sheila and Bill live across the street. They enjoy the butterflies and a little good natured fun with the butterfly lady neighbor.

The News On 6 found out the butterfly lady is Clara Nipper who's a court clerk in Tulsa County. She said Monarch season runs from spring through the fall, kind of like tax season.

"The big migration one way is in April," said Nipper. "Then the migration back through is in October."

She said the species is suffering and unprecedented numbers of them die off right now, and she says she's doing what she can to preserve Monarchs and butterflies in general.

"We're taking away habitat, and we can restore it," said Nipper.

Too much of our landscape is devoted to grass, she says, and recommends planting more flowers and flowering bushes. The News On 6 asked if she was finished with the project -- nope.

"There's a lot more grass to be taken out," Nipper said.

Wonder if she'll get any help from the neighbors across the street…

If you'd like more information on the process, there are three organizations Nipper dealt with to get her yard certified.