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Let’s Get Ready To Celebrate Monarchs Together On August 22nd!

 

The last couple weeks has seen a surge in Monarch butterfly and caterpillar (larvae) sightings. With the up-coming national Flight of the Monarch Day on August 22, now is the perfect time to sharpen your Monarch identification skills and capture some photos and observations to share in the celebration!

 “Follow us on social media to join in the celebration on August 22nd” says Rebecca Magnus, Habitat Stewardship Coordinator with Nature Saskatchewan. “There will be something for everyone to participate  in the virtual celebration, and participants can even win prizes!” explains Magnus. “You can start now by getting out and exploring your NatureHood to see if you can spot and photograph Monarch butterflies and caterpillars”.

Monarch butterflies are identifiable by their bright orange colouring with black veins throughout their wings, along with white spots on their black body and the outside edges of their wings. “Watch out for look-a-likes such as the Viceroy,” explains Magnus. “Viceroys look very similar but have an extra stripe on their hind wings that cross their veins.” The Monarch caterpillars have distinct white, yellow and black stripes with black tentacles on both ends. Magnus adds “you will see these caterpillars nearly exclusively on milkweed plants”.

Monarchs are a species at risk throughout their range with Saskatchewan being at the northern extent of their range. Magnus says “it takes between three and four generations for Monarchs to get from their over-wintering grounds, in Mexico, to Saskatchewan.” She adds “the generation emerging now will live the longest, making the full journey south back to Mexico to overwinter, so it is extra important that we help conserve the habitat for this incredibly important generation of Monarchs.” Nature Saskatchewan runs the voluntary Stewards of Saskatchewan program that works with communities and landowners to conserve Monarch habitat and help monitor the population each year.

If you see a Monarch in Saskatchewan, or would like more information about the national Flight of the Monarch Day on August 22nd or the Stewards of Saskatchewan program, call Nature Saskatchewan’s toll-free line at 1-800-667-HOOT (4668), text (306)780-9832 or email us at outreach@naturesask.ca. Feel free to share photos, we love to see them!

Let’s Get Ready To Celebrate Monarchs Together On August 22nd!

 

Photo credit: M. Ranalli

 

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