Monarch Tag and Release

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Date(s) - Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - Wednesday, October 25, 2017
10:00 am - 10:30 am

University of Maryland Extension, Baltimore County


Join us each Wednesday at 10 am in Master Gardener Demonstration Garden as we tag and release Monarch butterflies.

Learn how to protect monarchs by raising larvae and tagging adults. Watch newly emerged monarchs take to the skies.

Weather permitting.

University of Maryland Extension Baltimore County Master Gardeners are leading a community-based program that provides an opportunity to learn about monarch butterflies and contribute to research to help protect them. On Wednesday mornings at 10:00 AM, from August 16th through October 25th (weather permitting), the master gardeners will welcome assistance from residents in collecting data, tagging and releasing monarch butterflies at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park, 1114 Shawan Road, Cockeysville. The data collected will be submitted to the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch program, which tracks the epic migration of the monarch butterfly. Monarchs are the only insects that make a transcontinental migration each year from Canada, through the United States, and into the butterfly sanctuaries in Mexico, returning the following spring. The data provides Monarch Watch with information about migratory pathways, survival, and the effects of weather on the migration.

Monarchs are considered an “at risk” species. The number of migrating monarchs has dropped considerably in recent years, with some experts concerned we may lose the migration altogether in the next 20 years. Many factors have been explored to explain this decline, including weather (global warming), logging in the sanctuaries in Mexico, the use of herbicides/pesticides, and the lack of nectar sources along migratory routes.

A group of Baltimore County Master Gardeners who call themselves the Pollen Nation have been tracking the presence of all kinds of pollinators in the Demonstration Garden for the last few years. This year they are adding the tagging of monarch butterflies. Members are hand-raising monarchs in their homes. In the wild, only 1-3 percent survive to adulthood. Rearing monarchs inside increases their odds to 95 percent or better. The goal is to have 500 monarchs tagged for the migration this year.

You are invited to join the University of Maryland Extension Baltimore County Master Gardeners as they tag and release monarch butterflies through the fall. While you are there, take the opportunity to learn about other pollinators, get ideas for your gardens, and enjoy the activity and beauty of the gardens!