Event to Celebrate Monarch Butterflies

A unique event in Central Kansas will celebrate the Monarch Butterfly.

A host of butterflies, bees and bugs will all be in residence at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s annual Butterfly Festival from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 23. In addition to a variety of family-friendly activities, “The Instars,” Steve Craig and Amy Short, will present their “Butterfly Magic” show – a melding of humor and magic that illustrates the astonishing butterfly life cycle.

“This year promises to be a much better year for the monarch butterfly migration, as millions undertake their annual fall flight to Mexico,” said Pam Martin, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks education specialist.

Nets and tags will be available for those who want to capture and tag monarch butterflies ­– a critical citizen-science effort that helps track monarch migration activity. To do this, participants head out into the flower-filled fields and shelter belt around KWEC to spot monarchs, with tagging leaders stationed along the trail to help with the tagging process. For the past several years, monarchs tagged at the event were recovered at three Mexico roost sites.

New this year, a grant from the Kansas Wildscape Foundation’s Outdoors for Kansas (OK) Kids program is being used to sponsor a wide selection of outdoor-related prizes for youth attendees. Prizes include insect nets and carriers, field guides, nature vests, t-shirts, exploration kits, and more.

In addition to butterflies, festival guests can also expect to see walking stick insects, caterpillars, chrysalises, fluorescing scorpions; and enjoy fun activities like crafting and games. Plan to spend the morning, as door prizes will be presented around noon, along with free milkweed plants (one per family while supplies last). Then, stick around to visit the butterfly and pollinator garden to get wildflower planting ideas to implement at home.