Our gardens, backyards, parks, and meadows could be magical places filled with life if we could only slow down and pay attention for a while. This summer, you’re invited to go out to your garden or backyard, or else to a local park, forest, or meadow, to count milkweed butterflies for one hour. This project seeks to establish a tradition of bringing people together, relaying important information, and teaching the appreciation of nature that will continue for years to come.
Milkweed is a unique plant group that serves as a host to four butterflies species: the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), the queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus), the tropical milkweed butterfly (Lycorea cleobaea),and the soldier butterfly (Danaus eresimus). However, as milkweed slowly disappears, so do these butterflies. Currently, the monarch butterfly count is at a second-year low, indicating the threats that it and other similar species face.
By counting butterflies, we can survey their numbers in the United States and Canada, while having fun outside and learning more about butterflies and other wildlife. The event promises to be a fun, educational activity for children and families.
What is the 2015 Big Garden Milkweed Butterfly Count?
This year’s Big Garden Milkweed Butterfly Count is a fun, educational project with far-reaching implications. People will be invited to go outside for one hour during the weekend of July 25–26 to count the number of milkweed butterflies seen at one time. That way, we will avoid counting the same butterflies over and over again.
This project will have a specially designed website accessible via laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
The materials and website will include identifying information and illustrations that will help people to learn what milkweed butterfly species look like.
Participants can also use the website for counting that will have a 60-minute timer and where information can be entered right away. The website will also have a pop-up quiz with butterfly trivia questions and a list of games and fun activities for children.