June Butterfly Count Programs
Contact: Lauren Gurniewicz, 803-647-3969
Contact: Terri Hogan, 803-647-3960
The public is invited to join park staff in June for two free butterfly programs at Congaree National Park. Sponsored by the park's Old-Growth Bottomland Forest Research and Education Center, the programs are coordinated in partnership with the Carolina Butterfly Society and the North American Butterfly Association (NABA).The upcoming programs engage "citizen scientist" volunteers to help identify and count butterflies in the park.
Butterflies are beautiful elements of the natural world and ecologically important as pollinators, consumers, and food sources for other animals.Scientists recognize that butterflies are also important indicators of ecosystem health. These programs provide data not only for the park, but also contribute to long-term, nationwide monitoring of butterfly populations.The NABA Butterfly Count has been held annually since 1975.Volunteers all over North America select a count area 15 miles in diameter and conduct a one-day census of all butterflies observed within that circle.
Two separate programs are being offered at Congaree:
Saturday, June 8, 2013, 9:00 am-11:30 am - Butterfly Identification Training: This optional program will involve a short introduction to butterflies in Congaree and basic butterfly identification skills before a short hike to practice new skills.Meet at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center.
Saturday, June 15, 2013, 9:00 am-4:30 pm -Annual NABA Butterfly Count:Participants will conduct a day of field observations counting butterflies along the park's trail system and within various habitats of Congaree. Program is weather permitting. Come for all or just part of the day. Meet at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center.
All ages and experience levels are welcome at both programs.These programs are free, but space is limited.Advance reservations are required by calling 803 776-4396.Participants should wear long-pants and closed-toed shoes.Sun protection, bug spray, water, snacks and a sack lunch (June 15) are recommended.Binoculars are recommended as well, but not required; a limited supply will be available for use during the programs. For more information, contact Terri Hogan, Chief of Integrated Resource Management, e-mail us or 803 647-3960.
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Did You Know?
In North America, only the conifer forests of the Western U.S. coastal region are substantially taller. East of the Mississippi, just a few patches of white pine and some cove forests in Great Smoky Mountains NP are taller. When compared to all of the world's forests, Congaree is among the tallest.