Learn about monarch butterflies at MDC's Shoal Creek Center in September

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JOPLIN, Mo. – September is a great month to learn about monarch butterflies in Missouri because this is when these fascinating and beneficial insects are migrating through the Show-Me State on their way to their wintering grounds in central Mexico.

People can learn more about monarch butterflies and how humans can help them through several programs being put on by staff at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center in Joplin in the weeks ahead.

The monarch fun at the Shoal Creek Center kicks off with two free virtual MDC programs on Sept. 15. These online programs, entitled “Wildlife: Amazing Monarchs,” will be from 10-11 a.m. and from 6-7 p.m., and will be put on by the Shoal Creek staff.

People can register for the 10-11 a.m. program at


People can register for the 6-7 p.m. program at:


The importance of having monarch butterflies around is about much more than seeing pretty butterflies in flower gardens. Studies have shown that the financial benefits provided to U.S. citizens by the pollination activities of butterflies and other insects can be measured in the billions of dollars.

Just as impressive, but much more mysterious, are the annual autumn migrations monarchs make to central Mexico. No monarch makes the trip more than once (the butterflies live about a year). During these two virtual programs, MDC Naturalist Jessie Ballard will discuss theories about the annual monarch migration and will also provide tips on plants that will provide good habitat for these colorful butterflies during the time they’re in Missouri. Though these programs are free, registration is required. To participate, use the link above. Registrants must provide an e-mail, so a program link can be sent to them. This program will include a chat-based question-and-answer period where participants can interact with the presenters.

The butterfly fun continues on Sept. 17 with the Shoal Creek Center’s “Monarch Festival.” No registration is required for this event, which is from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. At this event, families can participate in monarch-themed crafts and activities and learn about conservation efforts taking place to preserve this beautiful and beneficial butterfly. People can learn more about this event at:


On that same day, Sept. 17, MDC’s Shoal Creek Center will also be holding a fall native plant sale from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. People can drop by any time during this free event to purchase native plants for their landscaping needs. Vendors will offer hardy plants and planting advice about native plants and their benefits. People can learn more about the native plant sale at:


MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center is located at 201 W. Riviera Drive in Joplin. People can stay informed about upcoming programs at the Shoal Creek Center and other nearby MDC facilities by signing up for text alerts and e-mail bulletins. People who have questions about how to sign up for text alerts from the Shoal Creek Center can call 417-629-3434.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding in-person and virtual programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/events.