Several weeks ago, Kansas University ornithologist Mark Robbins spotted tens of thousands of caterpillars at the Fitch Natural History Reservation. Those caterpillars are now emerging as butterflies.
To give the public an opportunity to see them, the KU Natural History Museum and the Kansas Biological Survey are hosting an impromptu field trip to the woodlands just north of the Lawrence Municipal Airport.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, the public is welcome to visit with KU scientists at the Fitch reservation, which is part of the KU field station. The scientists will provide information and guidance about the butterflies and their habitat.
In coming weeks, Robbins expects to see thousands of Hackberry Emperor butterflies at the property. Robbins, who has observed the natural happenings at the field station for years, has never seen so many butterflies so early in spring.
If you’re heading to the site, wear loose-fitting clothing, take water and use insect repellent. Parking at the Fitch reservation and the rest of the field station is limited, so carpooling is encouraged. Visitors can park along East 1600 Road near the entrance to the reservation. Directions to the site can be found online here.