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As Month of the Monarch continues, butterfly conservation efforts to be highlighted through events this weekend

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Monarch butterflies arrive in Kansas mid-September each year, but the renowned species has recently been deemed endangered. Some events scheduled for this weekend in Lawrence will both celebrate and raise awareness of local monarch conservation efforts.

Lawrence Parks and Recreation will host a free event, “Saving the Magnificent Monarch – Support Monarch Conservation,” for attendees of all ages to become “honorary lepidopterists,” or people who study or collect butterflies or moths. Participants will catch, tag and then release monarchs back into nature.

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The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 as well as the same time on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Prairie Park Nature Center, 2730 Harper St. in Lawrence. Butterfly nets will be available for use, and no registration is required to attend.

Those interested in creating their own monarch sanctuary can purchase monarch-friendly plant seeds at the event. All proceeds from the seed sales will go toward monarch conservation efforts, according to the Parks and Recreation website.

For questions or more information on the Parks and Recreation event, call Prairie Park Nature Center at 785-832-7980 or visit its website.

Additionally, the Raven Book Store at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 will host researcher and author Sara Dykman as well as the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch program. The event is in celebration of both the Raven Book Store’s 35th anniversary and Monarch Watch’s 30th anniversary, both in September — also the Month of the Monarch, proclaimed last month by Lawrence Mayor Courtney Shipley.

Monarch Watch is a nonprofit organization that studies the butterfly’s fall migration and finds ways to conserve the species.

During the event, Dykman will share topics from her book, “Bicycling with Butterflies: My 10,201-Mile Journey Following the Monarch Migration,” which outlines her adventures tracking the migratory paths of monarchs.

As of Thursday, tickets for in-person attendance are sold out, but those interested in watching virtually can catch the livestream on the Raven Book Store’s Instagram. Directly following the event, the livestream will be posted permanently to the Raven’s Instagram page for future viewing.

Readers can also learn more about topics which will be discussed at this link and purchase Dykman’s book at the Raven Book Store or through this link. It’s also available through the Lawrence Public Library.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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