Kansans invited to help track monarch butterflies on migration to Mexico

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 1:48 PM CDT
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GREAT BEND, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansans have been invited to help state officials track monarch butterflies on their migration to Mexico at an annual event in Great Bend.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks says that a host of critters will all be in attendance at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s annual Butterfly Festival between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, in Great Bend.

Additionally, KDWP said family-friendly activities will be made available as well as a butterfly magic show.

“This year promises to be a much better year for the monarch butterfly migration, as millions undertake their annual fall flight to Mexico,” said Pam Martin, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks education specialist.

KDWP said nets and tags will be available for those who would like to catch monarch butterflies and help tag them. This is a crucial citizen-science effort to help track migration activity.

To tag monarchs, KDWP said attendees will head out into the flower-filled fields and shelter belt to spot monarchs, with tagging leaders stationed along the trail to help the process. For the past several years, monarchs tagged at the event have been recovered at three Mexico roost sites.

New in 2023, KDWP noted that a grant from the Kansas Wildscape Foundation’s Outdoors for Kansas Kids program will be used to sponsor a wide selection of outdoor-related prizes for children in attendance. Prizes are set to include insect nets and carriers, field guides, nature vests, t-shirts, exploration kits and more.

In addition to butterflies, the Department indicated that festival guests can also expect to see walking stick insects, caterpillars, chrysalises, fluorescing scorpions and more. Plan to spend the morning as door prizes will be presented around noon - along with free milkweed plants. Then, guests are invited to stick around to visit the butterfly and pollinator garden to get ideas on how to plant wildflowers at home.

The Kansas Wetlands Education Center is located at 592 NE K-156 in Great Bend.