Every November, monarch butterflies arrive in Central Mexico by the hundreds of millions, clustering so thickly in fir forests they sometimes break the tree branches. Learn more about this amazing annual migration, as founder and director of Monarch Watch, Orley R. “Chip” Taylor, Professor Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, presents “Monarchs Wintering in Mexico: The big gamble” at 2 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. The program is free and open to adults and children.
In 1992, Taylor founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation relative to monarch butterflies. Since then, Monarch Watch has enlisted the help of thousands of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration, helping gain new information about monarch migration dynamics. Locally, hundreds of school children and adults have participated in Monarch Watch’s tagging program, as the butterflies arrive in mid to late September.
This year has been especially challenging for the small but tough orange and black creatures, as they flew through a 1000-mile corridor of drought stricken land from Kansas through Mexico. Taylor will report on roost site counts tabulated in mid-February, providing the latest information on the monarch population.
After Taylor’s presentation, activities for kids, including crafts, will take place in the KWEC class room. A display on the monarch and information on establishing butterfly-friendly plant areas will also be available. For more information about the program, call 1-877-243-9268 or 620-786-7456.