Archive for Sunday, September 13, 2009

Community learns about monarch butterflies, conservation

Ashlyn Bailey, 1, had a  friend on her shoulder as her mother, Diana Bailey, was at the Monarch Watch Fall Open House Saturday at Kansas University’s Foley Hall.

Ashlyn Bailey, 1, had a friend on her shoulder as her mother, Diana Bailey, was at the Monarch Watch Fall Open House Saturday at Kansas University’s Foley Hall.

September 13, 2009

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Upcoming tagging event

From 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, participants can learn how to net and tag monarch butterflies at the Baker University Wetlands, on 31st Street between Haskell and Louisiana streets.

The event is free and open to all ages, and no experience is required. Equipment will be provided.

For more information, visit Monarch Watch’s Web site at monarchwatch.org, or call 864-4441.

Not only was Chip Taylor wearing a monarch butterfly T-shirt but also five butterflies — attached to his beard, hair and eyebrows — as he strolled through Kansas University’s Foley Hall on Saturday at the Monarch Watch Fall Open House.

“It’s an attention getter,” said Taylor, founder and director of Monarch Watch. “They’re hanging up to dry.”

The annual event marks the arrival of monarch butterflies migrating from the North, and is designed to raise awareness about conservation techniques.

But the monarchs were doing just fine attracting their own awareness, as kids and parents roamed through the event learning about the life cycle of the butterflies, examining pupae in various stages of growth, and simply enjoying the colorful insects as they fluttered about in an outdoor BioHouse.

Ethan Wood, a 6-year-old from Lawrence, was having fun following the butterflies around with his 3-year-old sister, Elizabeth. He was learning, too.

“Butterflies like bright colors,” said Ethan, explaining that the monarchs were closely following his sister around because of her brightly colored shirt. It was Ethan’s third time at the event, and his mother, Erin, said his favorite part is taking home butterfly pupae and watching them grow. She said the event helps her kids “appreciate the life cycle.”

Learning about the monarchs is an easy way to get kids interested early in protecting species of all kinds, Taylor said.

“Butterflies are becoming a symbol for conservation,” he said.

It’s a fact not lost on 9-year-old Alexander Erwin, who’s been raising monarchs at his home for several years. If monarchs aren’t protected, that could lead to fewer of the insects in the area.

“There would be a lot less pollination,” said Alexander of the negative consequences of not conserving the habitats of the butterflies.

But his reason for enjoying the butterflies is less than scientific.

“I just think they’re cool,” he said.

The “cool factor” certainly helps with awareness, Taylor said.

“They’re large, brightly colored, approachable. … (They’ve) got charisma,” he said.

Comments

Scott Drummond 5 years, 9 months ago

Let's build a highway through the Wetlands instead. Who needs pollination or the natural world. I need to get to Olathe 3 minutes quicker.

mrf 5 years, 9 months ago

Wow, a comment removed? And about a butterfly story? Who knew the most innocuous stories would incite such a violation.

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