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Butterfly helpers

Kids tag and release butterflies to track the insects' migratory patterns.

SILVER-SPOTTED SKIPPER: A butterfly bush proved enticing as the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Conn., hosted an event to teach people more about butterflies.

Photos by Keelin Daly/Greenwich Time/AP

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Traipsing through the butterfly garden at Greenwich Point, Pavel Bure, 12, armed with a net, was hot on the trail of a monarch butterfly.

“They are a lot harder to catch,” he said.

Pavel was one of more than 20 people who came out recently to participate in the Bruce Museum’s first monarch butterfly tagging program.

People scoured the park for the species to place a small tag on their wing, then release them to track the insect’s migratory patterns.

Each year starting in late August, the butterflies migrate south along the coast toward Mexico, according to Sheean Haley, manager of outreach education at the museum.

“Monarchs are not considered endangered, but their migration is considered threatened,” she said.

Scientists have begun tracking the species to better understand why they make this trip each year and what can be done to prevent further erosion of their habitat, Ms. Haley said.

Whether it’s chemicals in trees or weeds, big storms, droughts, or deforestation, their habitat is slowly deteriorating, she said.

“Tagging is way to piece together why they are where they are,” she said.

Each participant in the butterfly tagging program was given a sheet to record the tag code, date, sex, and tagging location, so that when scientists happen upon the insect they can learn more about it, she said.

Those who attended came out primarily because of their interest in butterflies and nature.


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