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.
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
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.
Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores is pleased to launch its Collector’s Post Card Edition #5. Each year BGOSS releases two post cards for the public to enjoy. The new Caterpillar Corner logo is premiered on the latest post card. This adorable logo was designed by Stacey Hill of Bruce Power and depicts a pair of Monarch caterpillars on top of a milkweed leaf. Our tagline is, “Discover Our World.” Our goal is to encourage youth to make “discoveries” into the world of nature. BGOSS Collector’s Post Cards are available for free at designated BGOSS Pod Posts, the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre, Saugeen Shores libraries and the Chamber of Commerce tourism offices in Southampton and Port Elgin.
BGOSS Nature Library is officially open. Enjoy one of our nature books as you relax at the park bench by the big flag in Southampton.
While the ‘Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores’ (BGOSS) is getting ready for the return of the Monarchs, they had some exciting news. They learned that one of their tagged Monarchs was recovered in El Rosario, Mexico.
The Monarch was tagged at the Southampton Golf and Country Club on August 23, 2017 by Stew Nutt and was recovered in Mexico on March 18, 2018. This means that it travelled over 4,500 kilometers. This is a miracle when you think of the size of the butterfly and the fact that it has never been to Mexico before! 208 days elapsed for this female butterfly from the day it was tagged, until the day it was recovered.
This is the second Monarch tag recovery for BGOSS. The first recovery was in 2016. This is quite remarkable as only a limited number of the millions of overwintering Monarchs are tagged. “It is like finding a needle in a hay stack and BGOSS is ecstatic that our community tagging efforts are truly international”, says Melitta Smole, executive member of BGOSS. Tagging Monarchs is one of the most rewarding programs run by Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores (BGOSS). “It provides us with an idea of the numbers of Monarchs in Saugeen Shores and it engages our community with a hands on opportunity to see these lovely butterflies up close,” says Smole.
Over the next few weeks keep your eyes open for the return of the Monarchs to Saugeen Shores. Last year the first recorded Monarch sighting was on May 20. Let BGOSS know when you discover the first Monarch in the area by sending us an email or visiting our web site.
BGOSS is profiled in the winter 2018 issue of The Spotted Turtle. This newsletter is published by the Friends of MacGregor Park who were the first partner group to support our concept in 2014. The BGOSS pod is right beside the Visitor Center and is lovingly cared for by the summer staff. Enjoy the article. To learn more about the great things that the Friends of MacGregor Park is involved in, check out their web site.
2017 marked the 3rd year of BGOSS and was a year of many highlights. Most importantly, we saw an increase in the number of Monarch butterflies and other pollinators throughout Saugeen Shores. Our pods are now well established and we set an all time record for tagged Monarchs with 275. It is nice to think of summer in the midst of winter. Hope you enjoy this article.
As part of its ongoing partnership with Bruce Power, BGOSS has been profiled in the 2018 edition of the Wildlife Habitat Council engagement calendar. This marks the third year that BGOSS has been part of this calendar. We are about “planting plants” and “planting awareness.”
Protecting Monarchs by planting roadside milkweed does have its challenges. This article deals with some of the issues. Thanks to BJ Martin in K-W for bringing this to our attention.
Clicking the link or image will initiate a download of the article.