BGOSS Presents to Saugeen Shores Men’s Probus Club

Kerry and Melitta presented to the Saugeen Shores Men’s Probus Club on July 2. Through videos, images, stories and a guitar sing-along, information was shared about the plight of monarchs, the challenges they face, the role and importance of milkweed and native plants and what Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores is doing to make a difference. BGOSS always welcomes the opportunity to share information through its presentations.

Monarch butterfly nectaring on a black eyed susan flower.

BGOSS Presents To St. Joseph School

Diane, Melitta and Kerry shared stories about milkweeds, native plants and sang the BGOSS song, “Come Fly With Me”, to grade 1 and 2 student from St Joseph’s School in Port Elgin. Each student was given a copy of the Caterpillar Corner Activity Book to take home with them. According to Melitta, “It is so nice to see the children get excited and have fun with nature.”

BGOSS Collector’s Post Card #7

BGOSS collector’s post card #7 is now available at our Nature Lending Library and at our pod posts. This post card shows the beauty of Butterfly flower in full bloom. It is a native milkweed plant that attracts a variety of pollinating insects. This is a beautiful plant to have in your garden and it is a food source for monarch caterpillars. You can use the post card to send a message to a friend, use it as a bookmark, or place it on your fridge door.

BGOSS collector’s post card #7

The Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores Nature “Little Free” Library Returns Soon!

Barb standing in front of the Nature LibraryOn a brisk sunny morning the first butterfly of the season fluttered over a patch of spring flowers before disappearing into the breeze. It was a welcome sight, even if it didn’t linger.
Emerging from our cozy winter hideaways we join other hibernating and migratory species eagerly anticipating longer days and new growth. We want blooms and butterflies!
Soon we will see the return of the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores Nature “Little Free” Library. First unveiled on June 7, 2018 our Nature Library will be re-mounted on its post at the entrance to the Captain Spence trail, near the flag at the foot of High St.

Residents and visitors are invited to browse a variety of nature themed books for all ages, available to be borrowed and returned. Everyone is also welcome to take a bookmark and a copy of the popular Caterpillar Corner Activity book – both theirs to keep! If you have a garden help yourself to an envelope of seeds from several kinds of native perennial milkweed plants, collected by our pollinator partner Grange Hollow. Remember to sign the yellow guestbook.

The response to the library and its contents has been enthusiastic.
Visitors from around the world signed the guestbook in 2018, including nature lovers from South Africa, Ireland, Bosnia, Taiwan, Barbados, Austria, Colorado, Washington, Vancouver Island, Calgary, Winnipeg, Quebec and all over Ontario. Sadly, the original guestbook disappeared during the Civic Holiday weekend. Luckily most of the pages had been copied. Here are a few of the comments:
“This is a wonderful library with helpful informative reading for young and old.”
“Thank you for all of your efforts both towards the butterflies themselves but also the very important education piece.”
“Brilliant spot for a library – a place to relax and enjoy the lake.”
“I hope the butterflies love it as much as I do!!”
“Southampton is a magical place in all seasons. Thank you for all your hard work making it even more so!”
“Monarchs are happy this year.”
“Thank you for the activity books! Had a great day searching for pods and doing the scavenger hunt around Fairy Lake.”
“Took a stroll & came across this cute little library. What a wonderful idea.”
“Thank you so much for the packet of swamp milkweed seeds. I will add them to my garden in my effort to preserve the monarch butterfly.”

One thing we hope to improve upon this year is the book return rate. When the library was taken down for the winter in 2018 not one of the 200 purchased and donated books remained!
Our optimistic hope for 2019 is that our new selection of donated and purchased books will be read, enjoyed and then returned.

If you have any North American nature books that you are interested in donating to the library please contact us at:

See you at the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores Nature “Little Free” Library!

Barb Weismann
BGOSS Nature Library co-ordinator

6 Monarchs Recovered in Mexico – Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores Community Tagging Days

Monarch butterfly with tag on its wing.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.

The Word is Spreading!

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:

Logo for Ontario Insects“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

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!


Record Monarchs Tagged in Saugeen Shores 2018, Monarch Tagging Summary

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.”

Chart depicting the number of butterflies tagged in Saugeen Shores
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.

Adventure Talk Series: Celebrations Around the World

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.

Hand Holding a Tagged Monarch Butterfly


BGOSS Family Rearing Program 2018

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!

Girl holding a monarch butterfly and a tagged monarch butterfly

Submitted by: Chris and Sarah Poole