Volunteers needed for local monarch monitoring project

STONINGTON – Peninsula Point is known not only for its lighthouse and bird watching opportunities, monarch butterflies can be found throughout the summer nectaring on the many wildflowers and milkweed plants.

Volunteers are being sought to help with two university research projects involving the butterflies.

Due to the large congregation of monarch butterflies in late summer-early autumn, Peninsula Point has become a popular area where monarchs are both observed and studied. Two nationwide monitoring projects continue at Peninsula Point. Information collected by citizens allows scientists to learn more about the monarch butterfly and track the annual numbers during the summer and fall months.

Larval monitoring is a part of the Larval Monitoring Project at the University of Minnesota. Larval monitoring begins in May continuing through September and consists of measuring the milkweed plants and counting the number of monarch eggs and larvae each Wednesday morning.

Migration census is conducted in early August through September consisting of counting the number of monarch butterflies. Tagging is also conducted during this time. Small tags are applied to the wing of the butterfly and the number recorded as part of the Monarch Watch Project, Kansas University. Recoveries of tagged monarchs help scientist determine the butterflies’ migratory route.

Information gathered will assist scientist at several colleges and universities working to conserve monarch butterflies.

Volunteers are needed to help with the projects. If you are interested in participating in any of the above volunteer activities (small volunteer stipend available) or to learn more about this volunteer opportunity on the Hiawatha National Forest, contact Janet Ekstrum at (906) 474-6442 ext 140