Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Monarch Tagging at the Children's Garden

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomology

Come to the UK-LGUCG Arboretum in Lexington Kentucky during the month of September to help with monarch butterfly tagging!

Monarch butterflies are one of the few butterfly species that migrate long distances. The monarchs that hatch in Kentucky during the summer actually migrate all the way to Mexico at the end of the year. Then, they return to Kentucky next year to lay more eggs! Scientists are interested in studying their migration patterns and survival rates, and the best way to do this is by capturing live monarch butterflies and tagging them with  harmless stickers. Then, when the butterflies have completed their southern migration, those stickers are cataloged by scientists in Mexico.

Kids (and their parents) can help by going to the Children's Garden at the Lexington Arboretum. There, you can take command of a butterfly net and try to catch a monarch. It's tougher than it sounds: I chased one around for 15 minutes the other day and I still couldn't catch it. They're aerodynamic! But most kids are faster than I am, so take a trip to the Children's Garden on a sunny, warm day in September and ask to help with butterfly tagging!

You can read more about the monarch tagging project at MonarchWatch.org.