Are you interested in learning more about the butterflies you see fluttering around the valley or help monitor their activity? Then the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department has a program for you!
On Saturday, October 1 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm, the department will host its first virtual Beginner Butterfly Training program. During the training, attendees will learn how to identify twenty-five different species of butterflies, the areas within the parks where the butterflies will be monitored, which apps are the most helpful when conducting identification in the field, and much more.
“Our team is excited to start collecting data on butterfly population trends, the richness of the various species, and the diversity of species found in our regional parks,” stated R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department Director. “In late August, a number of our parks experienced a surge of caterpillars. While the bulk of the caterpillars appeared to be White-Lined Sphinx Moths, we noticed there were several other species present, so we expect to see quite a few butterflies emerge in the upcoming weeks.”
“Our team has been working closely with our friends from the Central Arizona Butterfly Association, Arizona Master Naturalist, and McDowell Sonoran Conservancy over the past year to develop the Butterfly Monitoring Program. They’ve been gracious enough to share their expertise and resources on Arizona’s butterflies, and now we want to pass this knowledge along to you,” said Juanita Armstrong, Natural Resource Specialist.
Once participants have completed the initial training, they’ll have an opportunity to register for an October 2 Butterfly Monitoring Program at one of four parks: Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Hassayampa River Preserve, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, or White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
Each monitoring session will be spearheaded by a butterfly expert and contain no more than five participants. The monitoring programs will adhere to CDC Covid recommendations and participants are required to bring masks.
To register for the training program, visit signup.com/go/JdzPECA. The October 1 training program is limited to 35 participants, and registration closes on September 28. To learn more about the department’s natural resource programs, visit maricopacountyparks.net/about-us/natural-resource-programs/.