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Butterfly Heaven
Volunteers tag Monarchs
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Dee Holman of Great Bend captures a Monarch butterly at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center Saturday. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

Dakota Ochs was quick on her feet and calm, a perfect combination to capture a Monarch butterfly Saturday morning at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center.
Sure enough, Ochs strategy worked effectively as she snared a Monarch with her net at the Mad about Monarchs event. 
“I’ve been out here all morning,” said Ochs, a seventh-grade student at Great Bend Middle School.
Volunteer Vic Martin tagged the butterfly and Ochs gently tossed the butterfly into the air.
“Maybe it will make it to Mexico,” Martin said.
Martin offered advice to the children hunting for the best spots to find the Monarchs.
“Where you see the sunflowers, you’ll see the Monarchs,” he told the children.
About 100 people signed up with 80 Monarchs being tagged. Groups were sent out with volunteers who helped tag the butterflies.
“We tagged 80 and they were some that got away,” said Pam Martin, Kansas Wildlife and Parks educator at the Wetlands Education Center. “There was a trick in getting their net flipped over. One gal who had about eight butterflies finally kept one.”
The Monarchs are famous for its southward migration and northward return in summer from Canada to Mexico and Baja Calif., which spans the life of three to four generations of the butterfly.
Butterfly taggers had to battle through waves of mosquitos along with an army of bees seeking the same sunflowers as the butterflies. Participants learn about monarchs and headed out with a tagging leader to tag to record data about captured Monarchs.
Master gardeners James and Betty Taylor, Hutchinson, provided information about plants that will attract butterflies to gardens. Crafts and activities for the younger members of the family.
Several other events will showcase Monarchs in the next two weeks.
The Barton County Historical Society, 85 South U.S. 281, is inviting the public to bring in their favorite snapshots of monarchs for “Monarch Migration Mementos.” Anyone, young or old, is welcome to provide a photo of any of the phases of a monarch’s life to exhibit at the Historical Society Museum during the month of October. Submissions will be accepted through the end of September.
The Shafer Gallery, 245 NE 30 Rd, will hold a reception and award prizes for “Endangered Journey: Monarch Migrations,” a regional juried art show Oct. 2. The gallery will feature the work of Dr. John Cody, “the Audobon of Moths,” and “Bugging Out,” new works by Ellinwood artist Robert Joy.
The Barton County Arts Center, 1401 Main, Great Bend, will feature a variety of artworks created by area elementary school students starting Oct. 4. “Kids Love Butterflies,” teaches the students about the migratory journey of a Monarch.