The Biodiversity Group of GRCC (zoology and botany) will be sponsoring the second annual Monarch Butterfly Release at the John Ball Zoo this Sunday, September 12th, between (roughly) 12:00 and 5:00.
The life cycle of the Monarch butterfly will be demonstrated at various locations throughout the zoo, but the actual (hourly) release will be coordinated near the Mexico Exhibit (overlooking Monkey Island). Children can put their names in a hat and every hour 10 or so names will be drawn and the children will be allowed to release the butterflies. Their direction of flight will be documented by former and current students of zoology and botany. Our students will also coordinated the release of the butterflies as well as assist at the “butterfly stations” around the zoo.
These migratory monarchs will use several different types of physical cues to orient their flight to the state of Michoacan, Mexico, where they will reside in an archipelago of mountain islands at 10,000 feet for the entire winter. They have never seen these sites before and will never see them again, and yet, they will fly over 2,000 miles as the crow flies to 7 overwintering sites no bigger than the central campus of GRCC. There is no other migration quite like this on the planet, and it is still a complete mystery despite years of research.
They are expecting a good crowd and hope everyone can make it. We must release the butterflies regardless of the weather conditions (the weatherman is currently promising a nice, sunny day).