Tag Teaming the Butterflies
The Sunnyland Center and Gardens has teamed up with the non-profit organization, Southwest Monarch Study (SWMS) based out of Arizona to tag monarch butterflies within Sunnyland Gardens. The Southwest Monarch Study, studies the migration patterns of the monarch butterflies in the southwest region. SWMS wants to understand the migration patterns of the monarch, also have a greater understanding of the species. Sunnyland has a large population of monarch butterflies, so this makes the partnership an exciting one. The goal of this program is to track the butterflies’ journey throughout the southwest and determine how they interact with other migrating populations.
August 31, 2012 was the first day of participation for the Sunnyland Center. Sunnyland conducted a net, tag, and release program within the garden grounds. Several employees including the Director of Education/Environmental Programs, Michaellen Gallagner and Environmental Coordinator, Kelly Reynolds spent the morning netting, tagging and recording the information, which they will share with SWMS for future research. They tagged the monarchs with a small sticker on their wings. Sunnyland hope to track where they travel, which SWMS will notify them when they show up at other locations.
Sunnyland found that this was a great way to educate the public about their conservation program. On September 18, 2012, they invited area high schools to participate in tagging butterflies. The group included the local area high school girls’ golf teams. Seven high schools groups were guided throughout the gardens catching and tagging Monarchs. They also learned about the importance of the tagging program.
Sunnyland/Southwest Monarch program is part of the season’s new program. For more information about this program, other events, or operating hours visit www.sunnyland.org.