If you marvel at majestic monarchs, with their beautiful, bright orange and black wings, then you won’t want to miss a special event on Sept. 30, 2023. Fans of these fancy fliers can flock to see them as they begin their fall migration southward.

Photo by Erin Minuskin, Unsplash

By Peg Cameron Gill

Autumn is when monarch butterflies begin migrating southward, and it’s a good time to study them. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer a free Monarch Mania event from 10 AM to 2 PM on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center in Kansas City.

The staff will have fun monarch activities for children to take part in, and will also show visitors how to tag butterflies. 

The small paper tags are attached to the monarch’s wings. When the tagged monarchs are found and reported, the information goes into a database that scientists use to monitor movements and population trends. 

Monarch butterfly populations have been trending downward in recent decades due to habitat loss.

Photo by Lasclay, Unsplash

One key to sustaining monarch butterfly populations is the availability of milkweed. Monarchs lay eggs on milkweed, and after hatching, the larvae feed on the leaves. To help ensure an adequate food supply, the Discovery Center will have milkweed plant giveaways so visitors can establish this beneficial plant in their own home gardens.

Staff will also provide information on other types of native plants— such as bergamot (also called bee balm) — that are useful for home gardens and benefit all pollinator species such as butterflies and bees. 

This event is open to all ages and registration is not required. For more information, call 816-759-7300 or visit this link.

The Gorman Discovery Center offers eight acres of natural areas with short paved and natural trails through forest, woodland, wetland, and prairie habitats. The area has demonstration beds showcasing how native plants can be used for home landscaping, as well as Sycamore Station, a children’s natural play area. 

You can view nature exhibits inside the building, and free nature programs are offered regularly. The Center’s building is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 AM–5 PM, and Saturday from 9 AM–4 PM. 

On the first and third Tuesday of each month, the building is open until 7 PM.

The Center offers free nature programs each Saturday,  and free nature programs for Missouri schools can be reserved.

Photo by Unsplash

To read more about what you can do to help preserve our majestic monarch population, click here.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.