• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Partner Projects: Fall, 2009

Issue 5 > Resource Roundup > Partner Projects
Chasing monarchs.

A school groups helps to chase down untagged monarchs in Cades Cove.

NPS photo.

Winging it

In September and October, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont invited school kids and the public into the field to tag monarch butterflies. Tagging involves putting a small sticker near the base of a wing, so not too much weight is added to the monarch's body. Monarchs make a long migration down to winter grounds in Mexico, and fly over the Smokies on their 2,000 mile journey.

Prior to beginning this study, said tagger Wanda DeWaard, no one was sure how many monarchs flapped over the Smokies or if monarchs spotted here ever made it to their final stop. Now, butterflies tagged here have been found in Mexico, confirming that the monarchs that fly through here do indeed winter with the rest.

Return to Resource Roundup: Fall, 2009.

Did You Know?

Great Horned Owls can be heard most often in January and February

More than 240 species of birds have been found in the park. Sixty species are year-round residents. Nearly 120 species breed in the park, including 52 species from the neo-tropics. Many other species use the park as an important stopover and foraging area during their semiannual migration. More...