Monarch butterflies migrate southward from northern states in early autumn, swelling their numbers for a time in the Kansas City region. To celebrate these beautiful orange and black butterflies and to promote their conservation, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host several programs for monarchs and other butterflies during September.
The monarch butterfly events will be hosted by MDC’s Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs and the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City. A butterfly event will also be offered at Platte County’s Platte Ridge Park.
COVID-19 safety precautions will be observed. Some programs are walk-in for the whole family, others may require registration and have an age requirement. All events connect people with one of nature’s most visibly wondrous creatures.
Burr Oak Woods Nature Center
Join the Butterfly Picnic sessions on Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. This program is part of the ongoing Nature Rx series that connects people with nature for health and wellness. Participants will take blankets and snacks out onto the prairie to relax, play some games, do a butterfly survey, and learn about butterflies.
This program is for participants ages 18 and older. To register for the Sept. 27 program, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4qW.
Connect with Monarch Magic from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. This program will explore the monarch migration spectacle. Monarchs migrate south in autumn and overwinter in Mexico. New generations move northward in spring and summer in their cycles of eggs, larvae, pupae, and emergent butterfly. Visitors will join a citizen science effort by tagging and releasing live butterflies to help scientists track migrations and populations. Registration is required for this all-ages program. To register, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4qm.
A Migrate Like a Monarch program for children ages 3 to 5 will be offered from 10 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Registration for this program will open on Sept. 1. To register, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4qs.
Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center
Enjoy Monarch Mania from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. Visitors will be able to tag and release live monarch butterflies for scientific research. The center will provide free milkweed plants for visitors to take home. Milkweed is the favored host plant for monarch larvae. See butterfly exhibits, learn about monarch conservation efforts, and tour the center’s native plant garden. Registration is not required for this walk-in program for all ages. The Discovery Center is at 4750 Troost Ave.
Platte Ridge Park
Catch various butterflies in nets and put small tracking tags on the wings of monarchs from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Platte Ridge Park north of Platte City. Kathleen Savaiano, MDC conservation educator, will lead this citizen science project. Participants should dress appropriately for weather conditions. Insect repellent and long pants are recommended. This program is for ages 5 and older. Registration is required. To register for the 9 a.m. session, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4qe. To register for the 11 a.m. session, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4qn.
Monarch butterflies have declined in America due to habitat loss and other environmental factors. Every bit of habitat helps, including home native plant gardens. To learn more about monarch butterflies in Missouri and ways you can assist with conservation efforts, visit Monarch | Missouri Department of Conservation.