Monarchs, Monarchs, Monarchs

What a great year for our migratory pollinators. This year Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery had lots of Monarch Butterflies use the Hatchery’s Pollinator Garden on their northern migratory journey from their hibernation grounds in Mexico. Many visitors were able to enjoy these butterflies and their various life stages, as they benefitted from our pollinator garden for their unique journey. Within our hatchery-made butterfly nursery hutch, we were able to successfully raise and release numerous monarch butterflies. Our butterfly hutch gained much attention from adults and children alike, providing a unique learning opportunity about pollinators and what role they can play to assist pollinators in their own backyard. Another way that we were able to teach the public about monarch butterflies this year was by creating a Pollinator Investigation Program for Children and teachers visiting on filed trips. Students were placed into small groups and those groups we were able to investigate the hatchery’s various pollinator areas and look for evidence of monarch caterpillars. Students looked for grazing marks, and sometimes feces, on milkweed plants to find the caterpillars hiding somewhere on the plant. The group that found the highest number of caterpillars won bragging rights. By using the tools that nature has given to us, we were able to accomplish our goal of connecting people with nature.