Monarch Mania fluttering to Discovery Center

News from the region
Kansas City
Published Date

Kansas City Mo -- Discover nature at Monarch Mania and book signing from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center at 4750 Troost Ave. in Kansas City, east of the Country Club Plaza. 

Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff will have live monarch butterflies onsite for participants to apply small ID tags to wings, which help scientists track butterfly populations and their winter migrations to the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.

Some wild butterflies will be onsite for families to tag and release. The tags are small paper circles lightly glued to the underside of the butterfly wing. On the tag is an identification number registered with Monarch Watch, an organization at the University of Kansas that monitors butterfly populations and migrations. The tag also includes a website and telephone number. So if the butterfly is recaptured during its journey, the find can be reported. Those

Other hands-on butterfly activities for children and families will also be available.

Monarch Mania will also offer participants a chance to make a “butterfly seed ball” with soil, water and seeds from flowering plants that attract butterflies, so they can plant it in a home garden.

There will also be Monarch Stations that teach about butterfly food sources and how they undergo metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis before they emerge as colorful adults.

Author and photographer Betsy Boutros of Mission will autograph copies of her book, “A Photographic Field Guide to Butterflies in the Kansas City Region,” which was published by Kansas City Star Books.

The event is free. For more information, call 816-759-7300.

Monarch butterflies make a remarkable southward migration each autumn. Those passing through the Kansas City area head toward forests in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.

A few of the delicate orange and black monarchs flitting over backyard flower beds could be part of the migration. But also, sometimes migrating clouds of monarchs by the thousands can be seen passing overhead or gathering for a night on trees.

Monarch butterflies tend to move slowly southward over several generations, said Steve Jacobsen, MDC education specialist at the Discovery Center. A tagged butterfly may head south but it might be the offspring that reach Mexico, although, it’s possible for Kansas City area butterflies to make the trek with luck and good winds.

If a butterfly tagged at the Discovery Center makes it to Mexico and is found there, the family or person who tagged it will be notified, Jacobsen said.

Weather permitting, the event will be held outdoors near the butterfly garden in the Discovery Center’s natural prairie, wetland and forest landscape garden.