Track Monarch Butterflies As They Migrate

Curious Public Helps Researchers Study Patterns

Volunteers tagged five monarch butterflies at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage to help track their journey as they migrate for the fall.

Sunnylands Center and Gardens

Aside from the high-profile conferences that still happen at the West Coast Camp David, known as Sunnylands, a remarkable project took wing late summer -- one that will span many months.

"(Aug. 31) was the first day of Sunnyland’s Center & Gardens participation in the Southwest Monarch Program," said Michaeleen Gallagher, the director of education and environmental programs for Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage.

Researchers launched The Monarch Program in 1990 as a way to nurture a growing public interest in monarch butterflies.

At their headquarters, based in Encinitas, outside of San Diego, researchers study the behavior of the butterfly, cultivate plants in their greenhouse and offer classroom field trips to learn more about the elegant Danaus plexippus.

The creature's migration patterns are one facet of their research, and now more members of the public volunteer to tag monarchs to track their on their journey.

On the first day of the project at Sunnylands, Gallagher, environmental coordinator Kelly Reynolds and two education assistants, Danielle Sombati and Kacey Donner, netted, tagged and recorded information on five monarch butterflies found in the gardens.

The personal tagging allows Gallagher and her team the chance to track where their butterflies scatter off to.

"If these butterflies are found at other locations, we will be notified by SWMP and that information will contribute to current data," Gallagher said. "This program tracks monarchs in the southwest United States, an area that currently has very little data on migration patterns. Butterflies tagged at Sunnylands will hopefully turn up at other sites and be reported."

"Tagging parties" will be held throughout the late summer and early fall in Southern California.

For more information on The Monarch Program, click here.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Bryan Lebedevitch Lends His Expertise to My Ugly Swing

A teacher at PGA West Golf Academy since 1998, Bryan Lebedevitch has been a fixture in Golf Digest's "Best" instructional ranks in recent years, and recently lent his expertise to writer Judd Spicer's game.

Fantasy Springs Cupcake Challenge Amateur Winner Enters Son's Choice

Christina Smith may want to rethink her day job after winning first place in the amateur division of the Third Annual Fantasy Springs Cupcake Challenge on Nov. 16 at the casino’s Special Events Center.

Alexis Bittar Shines as Brightly as His Jewelry at Saks Fifth Avenue

Famed jewelry deisgner Alexis Bittar made a personal appearance and trunk show stop on Nov. 14 at tony retailer Saks Fifth Avenue in Palm Desert to showcase his luxurious, yet affordable haute couture baubles.

Maria Bartiromo Brings FOX Show to Palm Springs

Maria Bartiromo is bringing her Opening Bell" show on FOX Business Network to the EY Strategic Growth Forum on Nov. 14 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert.

Desert Willow Golf Resort Makes Short List to Play

Desert Willow Golf Resort makes the short list of courses for inquiring minds who want to know where to play golf in the Greater Palm Springs area.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Edit ModuleShow Tags