Back in high school biology, each fall, part of our homework was to tag monarch butterflies. It involves capturing the little orange and black buggers and putting a small, special tagged sticker on them and then releasing them back into the world.
Why do this? Well, I have to say that I never forgot that biology class and running around Sunset Park with a butterfly net. But on a more practical and less specific level, it allows biologists (real ones, not high schoolers) to see when and where a butterfly was first captured and tagged and track it to where it was recovered to look at migration patterns, effects of weather, life span, etc. (I suppose at the other end of the migration path are people looking for dead butterflies with stickers on them, which seems less fun.) You can find out about the project at Monarch Watch.
And why do I ramble on about this? Because the monarch butterflies have arrived in Kansas, and Chaplin Nature Center will be running a free event this Saturday 9/26 from 10am to 3pm where you can help capture and tag monarchs as well as learn more about their migration through the Sunflower State.
There will also be members of the Wichita Audubon Society leading free nature hikes throughout the day.
If you go:
Chaplin Nature Center
27814 27th Dr, Arkansas City, KS 67005
2 miles south of Geuda Springs, then 2.6 miles east on 272nd Rd, or 3 miles west of Arkansas City on Hwy 166, then north 2 1/4 miles on 31st Rd.
Trails are open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week
The Visitor’s Center is open on Saturdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. year round. It is closed Mondays and holidays.
September 1 – November 15, Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.