DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Environmentalists and butterfly lovers alike were dismayed when the Monarch butterfly was listed as “endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature last year.
But next week one event in Dauphin County will teach residents how they can contribute to annual citizen science efforts to help track monarch populations.
On Tuesday, September 12 those who register for the “Monarch Tagging” event at Fort Hunter Park near Heckton Church will get to participate in an afternoon monarch tagging, capture, and release.
“This stage in the year is peak monarch migration. So it’s a great time to be out and about outdoors looking for monarchs and just enjoying the weather,” Richelle Corty, environmental educator at Dauphin County Parks and Recreation said.
At the event, Corty will teach attendees about how Monarch tagging works as well as about monarch anatomy and life cycles.
To offer the event, Harrisburg’s Wildwood Park has partnered with Monarch Watch and Project Monarch Health, two organizations from the University of Kansas and the University of Georgia that track Monarch Butterfly migrations and population trends.
The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and participants will have the opportunity to try and catch a butterfly and tag it with a sticker.
“This sticker is not damaging to their flight. It’s not heavy enough that it unbalances by putting on one side,” Corty said. “But it simply gets put on the outer side of their wings and they just carry it with them on their journey.”
Corty explained that each sticker tag has a specific code that Monarch Watch maintains and tracks. Eventually, the butterfly could be received at one of the organization’s migration destinations, allowing them to learn more about its migration journey.
The event is part of Dauphin County’s Park Rx series of programs that is sponsored by Highmark Blue Shield. It is open to both children and adults and free to attend. Pre-registration is required in advance.
To register for the event or to learn more, click here.
If you can’t make it to the event, you can still participate in Monarch Watch’s tagging efforts by following the instructions on their website.
Additionally, Corty says if you want to hatch or see monarchs at your home you can plant milkweed to attract caterpillars and other native plants that will serve as a food source for the adult butterflies.