The day we spent at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha had the added experience of a Monarch tagging booth outside the Butterfly Pavilion. I was surprised to learn that butterflies are the second most important pollinators on earth after bees. Therefore, protecting these important pollinators is important for our world’s food supply.
Monarch Watch is an educational outreach program founded in 1992 at nearby University of Kansas. There are now more than 10,000 students and adults at more than 2,000 schools, nature centers, and other organizations in the United States and Canada who participate in their annual Monarch tagging program each fall.
Tagging a Wild Monarch Photo #1. After a volunteer caught a wild Monarch in the garden near the Butterfly Pavilion, her first step was to identify it as male or female. Males have black spots on their hind wings.
Tagging a Wild Monarch Photo #2. After determining the butterfly’s sex, the volunteer showed a little girl in the crowd the proper way to hold a butterfly using “scissor fingers.”
Tagging a Wild Monarch Photo #3. A small sticker was applied to a specific area of the Monarch’s wing to tag it. The location of the sticker is important so that it doesn’t interfere with the butterfly’s ability to fly. Then, it was released back into the wild where it will continue its migration southward.
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