Despite a rousing countdown, many of the butterflies refused to take flight when their cages and boxes were opened. One stayed put on 9-year-old Atalia Cohen’s hand. Visitors had been counseled not to try lift the butterflies by their wings, but Cohen is an experienced handler. The Sherman Oaks resident found 15 caterpillars last year and raised them to maturity herself. “She loves bugs,” said her mother, Sholeh Cohen. “We drove all the way in to see them.” Holding the butterflies was an experience in itself for some. “It feels like tiny little dots in a way,” said Christina Quezada, 10, of Tujunga. “They’re kind of sticky.” [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! • Photo Gallery: Earth Day Butterflies PASADENA – California’s painted lady butterfly population rose a little Saturday as area children and Kidspace Museum released about 200 of the colorful creatures in an event marking Earth Day and the changing season. About 100 of the native insects released were hand-reared – the museum had a caterpillar adoption program that gave children kits containing a caterpillar, food and an information booklet, said Susan Cardosi, store and merchandise programs manager. “Our goal is to have kids learn about the living world around them,” Cardosi said.