Volunteer helps the Butterfly Pavilion soar

Posted at 2:24 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 16:29:44-05
7Everyday Hero Pat Tennant was not always a big fan of bugs. 
But then she started volunteering at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster. 
"Who doesn't like a butterfly?" said Tennant. 
The Butterfly Pavilion is home to 1,600 butterflies and Tennant can name just about everyone of them. 
She gives her time at least twice a week for the last seven years. 
"She's done almost 2,500 hours in that time, 500 of which were in 2015 alone," said Julia McCleary. 
"I love the kids.  I don't have any grandchildren yet myself, so I come here for my grandmother jollies," said Tennant. 
Tennant calls the butterflies "flying flowers." 
But they are just part of the 5,000 creatures that call this invertebrate zoo home. 
When Tennant first started volunteering at the Butterfly Pavilion she would not even set foot in the so-called "crawl-a-see-em" part of the zoo. 
Now she handles Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches like a pro. 
"They have an air bladder on each side of their bodies and when they're frightened they squeeze it and go hiss," said Tennant. 
Tennant says the real ambassador at the Butterfly Pavilion is "Rosie," a Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula. 
"It's always fun to watch a little kid's face when he comes up afraid and after he's held Rosie his eyes get big and go 'oh, I did it!,'" said Tennant. 
Pat Tennant's love of helping people understand and enjoy nature rubs off on everyone who visits the Butterfly Pavilion. 
"This is all God's creation and the more we appreciate it the more fun we have," said Tennant.
To learn more about the Butterfly Pavilion go to 
Mitch Jelniker anchors 7NEWS Now in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everday Hero here