Saturday, September 18, 2010

Monarch Mania

I visited the Anita B Gorman Discovery Center today to attend the Monarch Mania event, devoted to the butterfly of that name. The event featured stations positioned around the center grounds with activities for visitors of all ages. The life cycle of the Monarch butterfly was covered in its different phases. A banding project was also being carried out, with small stickers being attached under the wing of each butterfly to establish their migratory route. Visitors could also catch butterflies and other insects with nets for closer inspection at one of the stations. Captured insects were subsequently released unharmed.

A highlight of the event for me was meeting Betsy Betros, author of a terrific book about butterflies — A Photographic Field Guide to the Butterflies in the Kansas City Region (A Local Color Nature Series book). Betsy worked on the book for four years, did most of the photography herself, and even designed and prepared the layout and all the text of the 407 page guide. Wow!

Betsy helped me identify the two skippers shown in the image of an Ironweed plant (Vernonia baldwinii I took at the Heart of America Star Party on September 4. The one on the right is most likely a Sachem (Atalopedes compestris) female and the one on the left is a Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius). Betsy also told me about the Idalia Society, a Kansas City butterfly club. Needless to say, I left with a copy of Betsy’s book under my arm. (And a few other books, too.)

Here is a link to my Picasa album from the HOASP.

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