Wildlife Department To Mark Monarchs

September 19, 2016

Migrating monarch butterflies can travel up to 100 miles a day on their southern journey and many will soon be stopping at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area. Citizen scientists are invited to join biologists on the area the week of October 2 as they tag individual butterflies and learn more about their long-distance migration.

Monarchs visiting Hackberry Flat WMA will be tagged as part of the national citizen science project, "Monarch Watch." (Donnell/ODWC)
   "The Wildlife Department and Friends of Hackberry Flat will be offering several morning and evening programs this fall to celebrate the monarch butterfly's migration," said Melynda Hickman, a wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department. Reservations are not required for the following free events.
Morning Activities:
   Oct. 2, 3, 7 & 8 from 9-11 a.m. 
    Meet at the Hackberry Flat Center at 9 a.m. where monarchs will be waiting to be tagged and released*. Biologists will discuss this butterfly's life history and migration cycle and share tips for attracting this and other pollinators to your neighborhood.
   *At least four monarchs tagged at Hackberry Flat WMA in 2015 were successful in their migration to Mexico.
Evening Activities:
   Oct. 2-7 from 6:30-8 p.m. 
   Meet at the Hackberry Flat Center at 6:30 p.m. for a short trailer ride to a well-established monarch roost site. There, groups of butterflies form evening clusters in a small stand of trees to rest for the next leg of their journey and to conserve heat.
   After watching the monarchs roost, participants of the evening programs will venture into Hackberry Flat WMA to learn about other wildlife management activities. Dress for an evening outdoors.  
   "Programs will be held regardless of conditions, but monarch migration is strongly influenced by the changing fall temperature and rain events," said Hickman. "Because of this, morning tagging activities may be limited by the number of monarchs collected for the program."
    Open for scheduled events like this monarch viewing program, Hackberry Flat Center offers interpretive guidance for wildlife enthusiasts, students and educators. Participants of these educational programs are exempt from needing a Wildlife Conservation Passport or valid hunting or fishing license while on Hackberry Flat WMA. For more information about the Center, visit wildlifedepartment.com.
   To get to Hackberry Flat Center, from the south side of Frederick, take U.S. 183 south for one mile, then go east on Airport Road for three miles. Follow the blacktop road south, and continue six miles. Watch for signs to the Center.
   For more information about this event, or other educational programs held at Hackberry Flat Center, contact Hickman at melynda.hickman@odwc.ok.gov or by calling (405) 990-4977. 
Other Fall Monarch Events
Join our conservation partners to continue your celebration of monarchs.
  • Monarchs on the Mountain, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, Tulsa
  • Monarch Festival, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., OKC Zoo
  • Monarchs in the Park, Oct. 1 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Lions Park, Blanchard
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