Kansas City, Mo. – Monarch butterflies make a remarkable migration in autumn to central Mexico. But first, many make a stopover in Kansas City to refuel and rest. A small paper tag affixed to their wing may tell scientists about the rest of their journey. And citizens can help with the science. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer two monarch tagging and education programs in September. Both programs are free.
MDC’s Burr Oak Woods Nature Center will host monarch tagging sessions 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., and from 11 a.m. to noon, on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 1401 N.W. Park Road. Visitors will have a chance to learn about monarch butterfly life cycles, the native plants that support butterflies and moths, and how they can help by gardening with plants that serve as hosts.
The Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center will hold Monarch Mania 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 4750 Troost Ave. in Kansas City. Butterfly education and tagging will be offered. But also, the Missouri Prairie Foundation will hold a native plant sale. Butterflies and moths rely on native plants for food and as places for caterpillars to feed and grow.
Monarchs have declined in recent years due to habitat loss and other factors, so scientists are monitoring their populations and movements. The small paper tags attached to the underside of a wing have numbers, which when found and reported, tell scientists when and where a butterfly was tagged. Adult monarchs migrate southward to Mexico, sometimes in huge, cloudlike numbers. Their progeny in successive generations return northward in spring and summer.
For more information about monarch tagging at Burr Oak Woods, call 816-228-3766 or visit http://on.mo.gov/2bTkcSx. Information about Monarch Mania at Gorman Discovery Center is available at http://on.mo.gov/2bLer6a, or call 816-759-7300.