With the start of summer, people around the state are looking for fun activities to fill the long summer months. Citizen Science is a great way to learn, have fun, and contribute to important research all at once. For people who enjoy looking at our beautiful native butterflies, the newly formed Texas Butterfly Monitoring Network is a fun and easy way to engage in Citizen Science and also learn your local butterflies!
There are more butterfly species in Texas than any other state in the United States of America. These butterflies are seen in neighborhoods, in parks, in abandoned lots, and on the sides of highways as well as in nature preserves and pollinator gardens. The Texas Butterfly Monitoring Network is a Citizen Science project started this year with the goal of recording and monitoring these butterflies over many years, giving us a picture of butterfly success and movement throughout the state.
The Texas Butterfly Monitoring Network was started this spring in cooperation with the greater North American Butterfly Monitoring Network. Participants in the program walk the same route at least nine times over the course of the year and will record every butterfly seen, giving us a comprehensive picture of what butterflies are occurring where throughout the Lone Star State. Long-term monitoring is crucial to understanding butterfly movement and assessing the health of butterfly habitats, and this amount of data can only be collected with the help of Citizen Scientists around the state!
The Texas Butterfly Monitoring Network is designed for both seasoned observers of butterflies and newly interested people just starting butterfly observations. There are provided resources for new members to learn their butterflies and butterfly watchers of any level are encouraged to try. Monitoring routes can be in cities, in nature areas or parks, or even in local gardens and neighborhoods. The collected data will help advise butterfly conservation plans and will provide scientists with much-needed long-term data, but the activity is also fun and enriching for participants. Interested parties should email Kathryn Hokamp, the Cockrell Butterfly Center Lepidopterist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or should call 713-639-4750.