DETROIT -- Brenda Dziedzic flutters along the path inside Brenda's Butterfly Habitat in Westland, Mich., and she spots a giant swallowtail that is weak and dying.
She holds the butterfly up to a flower, begging for it to eat.
"Don't die on me," she says.
Dziedzic wears a yellow shirt decorated with butterflies, and she drives a car with a butterfly sunscreen, and she sports a tattoo on her right leg - two monarchs on swamp milkweed.
She is carefree and lighthearted. She feels a connection to butterflies. She understands them. And sometimes, yes, she feels like a butterfly, too, like a creature that has undergone a transformation.
Dziedzic has traveled around the world looking for butterflies, going from Mexico to the Amazon rainforest. She wrote a self-published book, "Butterflies in the Garden," and in 2007, she helped form the Southeast Michigan Butterfly Association, a group of butterfly enthusiasts that has more than 100 members.
Smith said that Dziedzic's butterfly habitat is unusual because Dziedzic is raising her own butterflies, and all of them can be found in Michigan.
By comparison, the butterfly house at the Detroit Zoo is filled with butterflies that are native to Costa Rica and El Salvador. At any given time, the Detroit Zoo averages 30-40 butterfly species.
"Most exhibits tend to focus on exotics. Her place is very unique that it's free and you can buy plants at a nursery that have not been treated with chemicals that would harm butterflies. That's very unusual."
BRENDA'S BUTTERFLY HABITAT
The public is invited to visit Brenda's butterfly exhibit at Barson's Greenhouse, 6414 Merriman, in Westland, Mich. Admission is free; donations are accepted. The exhibit is open 1-6 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday . It is closed Monday and Wednesday. For more: www.ButterfliesInTheGarden.com