2018 was an amazing year for Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores (BGOSS) as they tagged 893 Monarchs. To top it off, Monarch Watch, from the University of Kansas, who co-ordinates the tagging program, has just announced that 6 Monarchs from Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores were recovered in Mexico.
The recovered Monarchs were tagged in late August and early September in Southampton at the Saugeen Golf course, Captain Spence Path, Perkins Park and the Saugeen Rail Trail. “This is quite an unexpected surprise,” says Kerry Jarvis, co-founder of BGOSS. “The odds of having one recovery is rare, but to have 6 in one year is quite exciting, especially when you consider that there are millions of Monarchs over wintering in Mexico.” The recovered monarchs were found in 2 of the major reserves in Mexico: El Rosario, and Cerro Pelon and would have travelled a distance of over 4,500 kilometers. Since it began its Community Tagging Days in 2015, BGOSS has tagged over 1,400 Monarchs and has 9 recoveries.
Now, Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores is eagerly waiting for the return of the great-grand children from the fall migrating Monarchs to grace their presence in our community.
Ontario Insects, the news journal of the Toronto Entomological Association published an article in its recent edition (Vol. 24 #2) entitled, ‘Monarch Rescue: A Good Idea?’ Author, Alan MacNaughton talks about a variety of ethical issues dealing with rearing Monarchs. He concludes his article by asking:
“What else can we do? The key message is habitat, habit, habitat – we need more. This can be through our personal efforts in our gardens – plant milkweed. Or we can encourage the planting of milkweed in public spaces, as Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores (led by TEA members Kerry Jarvis and Melitta Smole) have done – see butterflygardensofss.ca”
It is nice to see that the good work we are doing in Saugeen Shores is being recognized outside of our area. Together we are making a difference!
Tagging Monarchs is one of the most popular programs led by the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores (BGOSS). It brings people of all ages together to experience butterflies up close. According to Melitta Smole, BGOSS executive, “2018 marked the fourth year of our tagging program. It was an awesome year! We had a record number of 893 tagged monarchs — 574 males and 319 females.”
Smole attributes the increased numbers to a variety of reasons, including; the healthy mature plants in our butterfly garden pods throughout Saugeen Shores, and more people in our community planting native plants and milkweed.
One monarch, tagged by Carl Raynard on August 25, 2018 in Southampton, was recovered alive in Indianola, Iowa on September 9, — some 15 days later and 2,000 kilometres away. This tagged butterfly was re-released and hopefully has joined the millions of monarchs in Mexico.
In March, the overwintering monarchs will start the second leg of their spring migration to Texas. By the end of May and into early June the first monarch will be spotted in Saugeen Shores. “We are looking forward to another exciting year of monarchs flying in our community and bringing us joy,” says Smole.
Join Kerry and Melitta as they “Celebrate the Monarch Migration” through videos, images, stories and music. Discover and learn about the mysterious and marvellous Monarch butterflies and their special appeal as the most celebrated insect in North America. In the spring we celebrate their return to Saugeen Shores as people of all ages enjoy their beauty and free spirit. In the fall we celebrate with community tagging days and bid them adios and safe travels on their arduous journey to their overwintering grounds in Mexico.
When: Wednesday, February 13 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Time: Doors open at 10:00 a.m. for coffee and treats.
Where: Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre, 33 Victoria Street North, Southampton
Tickets: Purchase tickets by calling 519-797-2080 or drop into the Museum Visitor Services Reception.
Late in 2017 Kerry Jarvis submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources an “Application for a Wildlife Scientific Collectors Authorization for 2018 & 2019.” The application included the names of ten families who would participate in the capture, rearing and release program for Monarch Butterflies.
Kerry Jarvis and Melitta Smole founders of the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores have been instrumental in establishing the butterfly gardens you see throughout our beautiful community.
In June of 2018, Kerry approached me to see if my daughter Sarah and I would like to be the coordinators for the Family rearing program. On July 12 we met with the other nine families, discussed the intent of the program and passed out the new butterfly nets and clip boards.
Over the course of the next three months, eight out of ten families released ninety-four adult Monarch Butterflies. Although we had the eggs and caterpillars in ideal conditions free from predators, we still had some mortality. The mortality rate was far below what the eggs and caterpillars would have experienced in the wild.
We did learn that as the caterpillars enter their final stage, they are ferocious eaters. They will eat every piece of milk weed in its path including the very small eggs on the leaves.
Watching the caterpillar morph into its final stage is a remarkable experience. It’s one thing to watch it on YouTube and yet something else to see it in real life. Releasing the butterflies can be a challenge full of fun!
Submitted by: Chris and Sarah Poole
Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores (BGOSS) recently participated in the 30th annual Wildlife Habitat Council Conference in Baltimore, Maryland with an exhibit booth. With over 400 delegates, BGOSS had an opportunity to showcase the many projects they have been working on and to share copies of the Caterpillar Corner Activity Book.
Children learned and discovered how and why Monarchs are tagged as part of the Caterpillar Corner program led by Barb, Melitta and Kerry at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in Southampton. Just look at the expressions on the children’s faces as they release a tagged monarch butterfly. Priceless!
Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores and Caterpillar Corner had lots of fun with 16 children who belong to the “For our Youth“ club of the Ripley Horticultural Society. They learned, observed and discovered all about Monarch butterflies, native plants and played citizen scientist by tagging Monarchs. Children had fun singing the BGOSS song, “Come Fly With Me” and doing activities from the popular Caterpillar Corner Activity Book. You can read more about our time together in this article from The Kincardine Record.
Children from the Ripley Youth Horticultural group had a fun time learning, discovering, observing and tagging Monarchs at Perkins Park as part of BGOSS new program, called Caterpillar Corner. Children were given copies of the CC Activity Book to help them learn and identify milkweed and native plants.
BGOSS gets lots of visitors to our pods. One visitor shared their experience in an email.
“You guys are great! Just visited a few of your pods today while passing through to Tobermory. Great job everyone! I have raised Monarchs for over 50 years. I have made many Monarch friends through FB. I am from Chatham/Kent and Erieau down south on Lake Erie. You all have done a fabulous job. Keep it up!. Thank you Thank you.”