Day 320: Butterfly kisses

Male monarch (did not ask directions to Mexico, landed in Tennessee)
Male monarch (did not ask directions to Mexico, so it landed in Tennessee)

I was complaining to a friend how tiring the hour commute to work and back has been for me (actually it takes an hour and a half on the return trip, for some reason ) and she jokingly suggested I stop “giving up my seat” (as I’ve mentioned here a few times). Ha, ha, very funny.

So I did take a seat on the bus today but was ready to spring to my feet if anyone with heavy bags or grey hair got on. They didn’t.

But since my seat was so near the front, I was able to thank my bus driver as I got off.

He smiled and told me to “take care and have a nice day.” Great way to start the day!

Monarch Watch project

I’d also like to share some info about a great eco-good-deed project a friend told me about (thanks, Nancy!). It’s called Monarch Watch.

For a few years now, my friend and her family have participated in the project by collecting larvae on milkweed leaves in the spring, then taking them home and caring for them until they become monarch butterflies.

9 mm tag: Almost too small for the butterflies to read.
9 mm tag: Almost too small for the butterflies to read.

Then they tag and release them. Now, this part fascinates me. I picture eagles with metal strips around their ankles.

I had trouble imagining where you’d put a tag on a butterfly. Tiny antenna handcuffs, maybe? They actually use tiny (9 mm) numbered polypropylene stickers (pictured at left) that adhere ever-so-delicately to the wings.

Then, they release the monarch into the wild and log the tag info online. If I can figure out a place to find milkweed around here, I might just watch a monarch myself.

More info from their website:

“Monarch Watch is an educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas … that produces real data that relate to a serious conservation issue. Monarch Watch gets children of all ages involved in science… Additionally, we encourage children to showcase their research or school projects on our website and we involve them in real science with the tagging program.

“Since its inception in 1992, Monarch Watch has evolved into an electronically-based program with an award-winning website, an active e-mail discussion list, and a growing online community forum. The program involves more than 2,000 schools, nature centers, and other organizations in the United States and Canada, and we estimate 100,000+ students and adults participate in tagging activities each fall.”

If you’re involved in any similar projects, I’d love to hear about it!


One thought on “Day 320: Butterfly kisses

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s