SULPHUR – A day full of information, fun and learning about monarch butterflies is planned Saturday at the Chickasaw Cultural Center.
Outdoor classrooms will be available to teach the life cycle of the butterfly with explanations concerning how the Interstate 35 coordinator – near the CCC – is one of the creature’s primary migration paths to and from Mexico in spring and autumn. Four teaching and tour sessions are slated for 10:30 a.m.,11:30 a.m., 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. in the butterfly garden. Signs and CCC employees will help visitors find the location. Tables will be set up in the butterfly garden and in the plaza area for hands-on learning, officials said.
Additionally, Jane Breckinridge, an expert from Euchee Butterfly Farm, will be available throughout Saturday’s activities. Breckenridge will teach a course on the general history of the monarch, with emphasis on the importance of native plants to sustain the creatures. Both milkweed and nectar-rich plants are needed for the butterfly to survive.
Thalia Miller, director of horticulture for the Chickasaw Nation, will discuss the milkweed plant and how it is utilized by monarch butterflies. She will also give examples of how to plant milkweed so it thrives during times of migration to assist the monarch along its journey. Rhonda Sellers, ecological resource coordinator for the Chickasaw Nation, will give a presentation titled “Learn about Native Nectar Plants.” She will illustrate how individuals can increase the availability of milkweed and native nectar plants. A question and answer session will follow.
Native nectar plants and seed giveaways are planned throughout the day.
An informative short film concerning the monarch will be shown at 1:15 p.m. in the Anoli Theater and a question and answer session will follow.
The Chickasaw Nation is dedicated to providing the correct habitat and nutritional needs for the beautiful creatures that are currently beginning migration to wintering grounds in Mexico. Chickasaw efforts have led to the planting of milkweed plots and nectar-rich feeding grounds for the monarch and other species in locations throughout its 13-county tribal territory.
The Chickasaw Nation and six other Oklahoma tribes have joined together to help the butterfly population rebound through the University of Kansas Monarch Butterfly Project.