Kansas City, Mo. – Monarch butterflies that spent last winter in Mexico rode a powerful south wind into the Kansas City region in early April, arriving so early the milkweed needed to feed the next generation had barely spouted from the ground. But now as autumn arrives, those following generations are beginning a migration back south. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering free sessions for the public to learn about monarchs and also to tag butterflies to help scientists track their migrations.
The Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs will offer Monarch Magic sessions 1 to 3 p.m. on: Wednesday, Sept. 6; Saturday, Sept. 16, and Thursday, Sept. 21. Attendees will learn about monarch migrations and also have a chance to tag monarchs. The tags are tiny paper circles affixed to a wing and bearing a tracking number. If the tag is found and reported, scientists can tell where the butterfly was tagged and how far it traveled. Advance registration is required for these sessions. Burr Oak Woods is at 1401 NW Park Road.
MDC’s Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center at 4750 Troost Ave. in Kansas City will offer free Monarch Mania 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16. Habitat loss has caused a decline in monarch butterfly populations in recent decades. MDC staff will talk about how citizens can help by planting monarch-friendly native plants. Milkweed and other native plant giveaways and hands-on butterfly themed crafts will be offered. Attendees will also have a chance to tag live monarchs.
The Missouri Prairie Foundation will also be at the Discovery Center during the Monarch Mania event and offering native prairie plants for sale. These plants are suitable for home lawn and garden landscaping use. They help add host plants in an urban setting for wild birds, butteflies, moths and other pollinator species.
For information about the monarch programs at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, and to register for them, call 816-228-3766. For information about Monarch Mania at the Discovery Center, call 816-759-7300.
To learn more about monarch butterflies in Missouri, visit http://on.mo.gov/2pxcS5T.