Volunteer Opportunity: Monarch Butterfly Tagging at Waterloo Park

Location: Meredith Heritage Tree Deck
Date: October 24, 2023
Time: 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Address: 1301 Trinity St, Austin, TX

Join us for an unforgettable experience as we tag monarch butterflies at Waterloo Park during their annual migration!

This event is perfect for nature enthusiasts (ages 12+) who want to learn more about these beautiful creatures and their incredible journey. Kids 11 and under can still lend a helping hand with their parent or guardian present.

We’ll start the day with a brief presentation on monarch butterfly migration and tagging techniques. Then, we’ll head out to our designated tagging area in the Hill Country Garden, where you’ll have the opportunity to carefully catch and tag your very own monarch butterfly. Our Horticulture Supervisor Adriane Horne will be on hand to assist and answer any questions you may have.

Not only will you have the chance to interact with these amazing creatures up close, but you’ll also be contributing to important scientific research. The information gathered from tagged butterflies helps us better understand their migration patterns and overall population health.

Don’t miss out on this unique and educational experience! Register today and join us on our monarch butterfly tagging adventure.

Thank you for your interest in monarch butterfly tagging at Waterloo Park! Due to an overwhelming response from our community, all of our volunteer slots on October 24 are filled.

About the Monarch Watch Tagging Program

The Monarch Watch Tagging Program is a large-scale community science project that was initiated in 1992 to help understand the dynamics of the monarch’s spectacular fall migration through mark and recapture.

Tagging was originally used by Dr. Fred Urquhart of the University of Toronto to help locate overwintering monarchs and later to determine where monarchs came from that wintered in Mexico. Our long-range tagging program at Monarch Watch continues to reveal much more. Tagging helps answer questions about the origins of monarchs that reach Mexico, the timing and pace of the migration, mortality during the migration, and changes in geographic distribution. It also shows that the probability of reaching Mexico is related to geographic location, size of the butterfly, and the date (particularly as this relates to the migration window for a given location).

In order to be able to associate the geographic “mark” location with that of any subsequent recapture, each butterfly tagged must be uniquely coded. A new series of unique codes is generated for each tagging season and printed using permanent inks on all-weather tags with a pressure-sensitive adhesive backing. These lightweight, circular tags were designed by Monarch Watch specifically for tagging monarchs. When applied as directed, the tags do not interfere with flight or otherwise harm the butterflies.

Each fall we distribute more than a quarter of a million tags to thousands of volunteers across North America who tag monarchs as they migrate through their area. These “community scientists” capture monarchs throughout the migration season, record the tag code, tag date, gender of the butterfly, and geographic location then tag and release them. At the end of the tagging season, these data are submitted to Monarch Watch and added to our database to be used in research.

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