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September events to focus on Monarch butterfly conservation

By Staff | Aug 19, 2016

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society and The Monarch Alliance will sponsor two weeks of events in this area during mid-September to focus attention on the importance of Monarch Butterfly conservation.

The events will be held from Sept. 3-17 in Jefferson County and Washington County, Maryland. They are being timed to coincide with the Monarchs’ annual fall migration southward, which peaks in this area during that period.

All the events will be free and everyone is invited to attend. The events will be especially well-suited to families with children.

Specific events will be as follows:

u Saturday, Sept. 3, 1 p.m. Hagerstown Maryland’s Discovery Station, will show the acclaimed film, “Journey of the Monarchs” and offer a special exhibit of Monarch Lego Robotics for families and children. The facility is located at 101 W. Washington Street.

u Sunday, Sept. 4, 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland, will host an effort to find and tag Monarchs in the field. Come to the Burnside Bridge parking area to participate.

u Saturday, Sept. 10, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Monarch Alliance will conduct a Monarch tagging demonstration at Kiwanis Park, 371 Dynasty Drive, Hagerstown.

u Saturday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The National Conservation Training Center outside Shepherdstown will host an effort to find and tag Monarchs in the field. This event will be limited to 20 participants, and will require advance registration (by Sept. 5) on the the Potomac Valley Audubon Society website at www.potomacaudubon.org.

u Saturday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Monarch Alliance will conduct a Monarch tagging demonstration at Hager House, in Hagerstown’s City Park.

u Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Monarch Alliance will hold its Fall Plant Sale at Sunny Meadows Garden Center, 7437 Sharpsburg Pike, Boonsboro, Maryland. Plants offered will include Butterfly Weed, Swamp Milkweed, and other plants that attract Monarchs. In addition, University of Maryland Master Gardeners will be on hand to offer conservation-landscaping advice.

The eastern Monarch butterfly population has been in serious decline over the last 20 years, according to annual counts taken in area of Mexico where the insects overwinter.

Monarch Watch estimates that this year’s population may be down to about 70-100 million, a sharp reduction from historically high numbers of about one billion or more.

Experts agree that increased public awareness of these problems is an important first step in the effort to conserve and restore Monarch numbers. Property owners who live along Monarch migration routes can greatly assist Monarch survival rates by adding plants these insects favor, especially milkweed.

For further information, contact Sandy Sagalkin at 240-291-6465 or sandy. sagalkin@gmail.com.