Savannah Valley District

4-H and Katie’s Krops provide Education and Support for Monarch Butterfly Populations in Dorchester County, SC

Molly Jones- 4-H Youth Development

4-H and Katie’s Krops provide education and support for Monarch butterfly populations in Dorchester County, SC. In the spring of 2022, Dorchester County 4-H Agent Molly Jones encouraged Katie’s Krops organization to apply for a grant through the Monarch Watch organization to receive live Milkweed plant plugs to add to their Flagship Garden. This was the beginning of a fascinating project that continues to grow! On August 12, 2022, Mrs. Molly visited Katie Krops’ flagship garden outdoor classroom to teach a class on Monarch butterflies and to observe the progress of the Milkweed Monarch waystation. Youth and their parents were introduced to the Monarch butterfly species and its significance as a pollinator species and cultural symbol. The students learned about the Monarch’s lifecycle, habitat, and migration patterns. The class discussed the recent change in the status of the Monarch population as of July 2022 to an endangered species and the causes for the population decline. Each participant was given a flyer on “Five Tips To Save The Monarch”. Participants were excited and motivated to make positive changes to save the Monarchs! October 7, 2022, Mrs. Molly returned to Katie’s Krops for a Monarch Tagging Program. The Monarch Watch organization provides tagging kits as a citizen science effort to tag wild-caught and reared Monarchs. The tags are placed on the rear wing of the butterfly and documented in a data sheet. Each butterfly is assigned its own tag number, and the gender of the individual butterfly, along with if it was reared or wild-caught, is reported.

Katie’s Krops said on their Facebook page, “The iconic Monarch butterfly can be found across almost all North America, but today the butterfly faces threats from habitat destruction. As a result, these butterflies are vulnerable as they migrate thousands of miles annually to California and central Mexico for the winter. In 2022, the International Union for Conservation of Nature re-classified the migratory monarch butterfly as endangered on its “red list.” For months our young volunteers have worked with Dorchester 4-H to save the monarchs, and today, their efforts culminated in tagging the butterflies as they started their migratory journey. Additionally, they crafted letters to Dorchester County Government asking for milkweed to be planted in the county parks to increase the population in the future. We wish our Monarch friends a safe journey and are excited to expand our efforts in 2023 by building a butterfly house and dramatically increasing the amount of milkweed we grow in our flagship garden. “We are proud of our young volunteers and their efforts to save the Monarch butterflies!”

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