Monarch madness is spreading and it’s not too late to get in on the fun. The annual monarch butterfly fall migration is just beginning and the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s “Mad About Monarchs” event is the place to be on Sept. 22, where participants have the opportunity to capture and tag the butterflies.
At the free event held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, participants will receive information about the tagging process before heading out with a tagging leader to search for Monarch butterflies. Tags and nets will be provided, along with instruction on how to tag and record data about captured monarchs. Preregistration is not required.
Milkweed plants and seed packets will be available free to those who would like to attract monarch butterflies to their yards and gardens. Information on butterfly-friendly plants and other attractants will be available and visitors may also walk through the wildflower/butterfly garden to view examples of butterfly-friendly plants.
Kids can make a butterfly feeder and a “migrating” monarch butterfly in the craft area and participate in butterfly activities. Door prizes include butterfly nets, field guides and t-shirts. Light refreshments will be served.
The citizen science tagging project is an ongoing 21-year research project through the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch. The response has been overwhelming, with hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies tagged over those years, adding to the knowledge base about the monarch. In past years, monarch butterflies have been recovered at overwintering sites in Central Mexico, about 1,125 miles south of Cheyenne Bottoms.
Mad About Monarchs is part of the Bikes, Bombers, and Butterflies Weekend in Great Bend; see greatbendks.net for more information or contact KWEC at 1-877-243-9268 or wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu.