Monarch Butterfly Tagging
Did you do it when you were a kid? Chasing butterflies is one of those things it’s nearly impossible to have bad memories of. Most of us enjoyed it when we were growing up and now we can enjoy it again and help with research work as well!
Note the butterfly with tag just above and to the left of Chip’s head!
Monarch Watch is a non-profit organization founded by Chip Taylor from the University of Kansas which researches the annual migrations of the Monarch Butterfly to better understand what these and other butterflies need to survive as well as identify critical habitat for their migration and overwintering areas. With a migration route which stretches from lower Canada to the middle reaches of Mexico, this research has shed light on the fragile nature of some of our planet’s most beautiful inhabitants as well as given us a verypractical and easy way to make a difference through backyard butterfly gardens and guidance in planting native and cultured plants which will help support them on their journey — all of it done through applying a small tag to the wing of a butterfly!
While individuals and groups can purchase tags (with all proceeds going to help fund the research work) and do their own tagging at any time, this annual event held every September during the peak of the migration through our area is FREE to the public with the sponsorship of the tags being picked up by Jayhawk Audubon Society. Representatives from Monarch Watch are on hand to share their knowledge and lead the morning’s activities. Some nets are provided but you are encouraged to bring your own if you have them. Dress for the activity should be appropriate with getting out into wet grassy fields of flowers and sometimes standing water in some areas. There are trails which are marginally suitable for wheelchair access, but opportunities to catch butterflies on the trails are limited.
You can find out more on Monarch Tagging at http://www.monarchwatch.org/ as well as discovering other ways to support Monarch Watch and the Monarch Butterflies on their migration. Many thanks to Chip and his crew for sharing this opportunity with all of us as well as to Roger and Jon Boyd for helping to clear and create trails in the Baker Wetlands for the event.