Monarch butterflies need your help at Cacapon State Park

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A monarch butterfly feeds in a West Virginia meadow. Photo courtesy Kyle Glenn.

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va.—Volunteers are being recruited to help monarch butterflies by participating in ‘s monarch research study Friday, July 26, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The search site is a pollinator field that has been created for a citizen science study in cooperation with the . The study will be part of a nationwide assessment to monitor the populations and habitat throughout the monarch’s breeding range.

“About four years ago, Cacapon and other state parks began to reduce mowing in some areas to establish meadows and return to a more diverse habitat between the forest and the mowed areas,” said Park Naturalist Valerie Chaney.

“Some, including Cacapon, took it a step further and seeded meadows and plots with native wildflowers that are now leaping into impressive pollinator zones.

“We now see all kinds of things flying, crawling, walking and living in these areas that you don’t typically see in the forest or in our mowed areas. That’s where we will be looking for monarchs and other butterflies. It’s an acre of blooming fun,” she said.

Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes or summer hiking boots. Meet at the nature center at 8:30 a.m. for a quick review of the overall process. It will take about three hours to complete the work.

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Youth volunteers up to age 16 will receive Young People for Parks (YPP) activity credit. All volunteers helping with the Cacapon Monarch Study will receive a Cacapon State Park – Monarch Scout patch and certificate of participation.

If interested, email Valerie Chaney at  or call 304-258-1022, dial 1, then enter extension 5209.

Volunteers who would like to stay overnight can visit  to book a cabin or lodge room.

About the monarch butterfly

West Virginia’s state butterfly, the monarch (Danaus plexippus), was officially designated on March 1, 1995, by the West Virginia Legislature through Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 11. To learn some basics about monarch butterflies, visit .

About Monarch Joint Venture

The Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) is a partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs that are working together to support and coordinate efforts to protect the monarch migration across the lower 48 United States. 

Corporations and organizations can help

Email Division of Natural Resources Regional Diversity Biologist Susan Olcott at  to learn more about establishing milkweed and other species of vegetation to support butterflies and other pollinators when reseeding site recovery and right of way areas.

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