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Great Spangled Fritillaries, Spicebush Swallowtails, and Silver Spotted Skippers! These are just a few of the many species of butterfly you’re sure to encounter when you come to Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge for the annual butterfly count. At least 40 species of butterflies have been spotted during the survey in each of the previous counts. The refuge is especially interested in counting Monarch butterflies, whose populations have recently plummeted. These migratory beauties require native milkweeds to successfully reproduce. The loss of milkweed across the Midwest is one of the primary reasons for their decline.

Those attending should meet at the refuge office on the morning of Saturday, August 6th at 8:00 am. Survey teams will be divided up based on the length of time you wish to spend in the field. Some folks may choose to join us for the entire day; others may want to make it a half day. Bring water, bug spray, sunscreen, snacks or lunch and binoculars. Butterfly field guides are recommended, but not required. Long pants are also recommended.

A $3.00 donation to the North American Butterfly Association would be appreciated for those participating in the count.

For directions to the refuge, please call or visit www.fws.gov/refuge/big_oaks.Butterfly count