Fall Monarch Migration Tagging

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On October 12 of this year, Adkins Arboretum conducted our second monarch migration tagging workshop. Over the last 26 years, MonarchWatch.org has tagged more than1.5 million monarchs. Adkins Arboretum began three years ago with a Master Naturalist project that entailed creating a monarch waystation to supply late-season nectar sources for fall migrating monarchs.

Two years ago, we began our monarch tagging workshops to include an educational overview of the monarch butterfly, which included their lifecycle, specialized host plant needs, and flight patterns. We also supply proper nets to catch the monarchs safely and tags from MonarchWatch.org. Each year, unique tags are created with a special code, and a data sheet is completed at the time of tagging to reflect the sex of the monarch and how many tagged with their unique tag number recorded as well.

The data collected by tagging through MonarchWatch.org helps scientists monitor the amount of monarch habitat that is changing along with climate, and this is just one way of monitoring these changes in our environment.

Another organization, Journey North, is an online way for citizen scientists to monitor spring and fall migrations and seasons. The first monarchs migrating this fall arrived in Mexico, their winter habitat, on November 7. This is exciting news and fun to follow, so be sure to sign up for email updates.

by Robyn Affron
Visitor Services & Volunteer Coordinator

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