Thursday, October 2

Monarch Butterfly Monitoring Results

Tuesday we participated in the Monarch butterfly monitoring program of the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. We met at the entrance to Cades Cove at 10:00AM, 22 of us plus Mr. Nathan and Miss Kim from Tremont (15 of us were homeschoolers :)).

After filling out the required waver of liability (there's always one of those, isn't there?) and getting aquainted a little, we proceeded to our destination, a field across the Cove on the way out. We got to the field had been mowed! No problem, we just had to walk a little farther to find the butterflies (good exercise!).

We were there about 3 hours and caught 10 Monarchs. That doesn't seem like many but they only caught 4 last week. When a Monarch was caught, it was identified, recorded, and tagged.

The tags are small, round, lightweight, stickers, each of them with a number and our state abbreviation. This information is written down, along with the name of the person who caught the butterfly and whether the Monarch is a male or female. Did you know that a male Monarch butterfly has a black spot on each of it's lower wings, and the female doesn't ?

The Monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico where they overwinter. The Monarchs are monitored in Mexico, also, and we will be notified if they catch the one with our tag!

We caught several other kinds of butterflies and caterpillers while we were in the Cove and we saw a deer and some turkeys. Everybody had a super time and it was educational, too! Needless to say, we will be doing this again.

Here are some pictures from our outing. Unfortunately, I didn't get any butterfly pictures. :(

At the entrance to Cades Cove.

A Deer

Some of the children




For more information on the Monarch monitoring program please see this post, Monarch Butterfly Monitoring and Website.

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