Learn about butterflies and view them at Davidson Conservation Area in two-part MDC program June 23 and 26

News from the region
Saint Louis
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SUNSET HILLS, Mo.—It seems butterflies have the power to capture just about any kid’s imagination.  Not only are they beautiful, but they’re also essential too.  As important pollinators, they help ensure a diversity of plant life that other animals and humans depend on.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is holding a two-part, hybrid program to help people learn about and appreciate butterflies.  The first half of the program is a Virtual Introduction to Beneficial Butterflies, which will be conducted online Wednesday, June 23 from 6-7:30 p.m.  The second portion is an In-Person Viewing of Beneficial Butterflies being held in the field Saturday, June 26 from 8-10 a.m. at Claire Gempp Davidson Memorial Conservation Area in Sunset Hills.

During the virtual program MDC naturalists will discuss the benefits of Missouri’s native butterflies, where to find them, and how to properly view them.  Participants will learn about what makes butterflies different from other insects, why they are so important, and how to identify a few common species, like monarchs, eastern tailed-blues, and black swallowtails.

The field portion will give participants the opportunity to study these fascinating creatures first-hand in the wild at Gempp-Davidson Conservation Area.  They’ll learn how to catch and safely release butterflies without harm, as well as how to use basic photography skills to capture the experience.

“Missouri has so many beautiful butterflies and capturing them allows us to view them up close without hurting such beneficial insects,” said MDC Natural Resource Assistant Cara Arrigo. 

MDC will provide nets.  Each participant should bring their own digital camera or smart phone for the photography section. The program will be outside in full sun, so all attendees should also bring sunscreen, a water bottle, and wear appropriate clothing.

Both halves of the program are free of charge and open to all ages.  Attending the virtual introduction is required to participate in the field portion.  Preregistration online is required for each at the following links:

  • Virtual Introduction to Beneficial Butterflies, June 23; https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZHe
  • In-Person Viewing of Beneficial Butterflies, June 26; https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZHn  

MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines.  Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when appropriate for the in-person activity. 

To reach Claire Gempp Davidson Memorial Conservation Area from the intersection of I-44 and I-270, take the I-44 east exit to Watson Road, then Watson Road east, then Sappington Road south just past Eddie and Park Road.

Program registrants should note that families now have the option to link their children’s accounts to their own which will streamline the program registration process.  Once a group account is set up, parents will be able to register their children to an event without having to logoff and login for each person.  This allows parents to register an entire family or select family members to an event at the same time. 

Stay informed of MDC latest programs by going to the MDC St. Louis regional events page at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZP6.