Monarchs & Wildflowers event is Sept. 14 at Ernie Miller Park

Celebrating the monarch butterfly's amazing annual migration is the aim of a special event set for Sept. 14 at the Johnson County Park & Recreation District's Ernie Miller Park, 909 N. Kansas 7 Highway, Olathe.

Monarchs & Wildflowers is the name of the event, which is for children ages eight and up accompanied by a parent or guardian. Participants will learn about Monarchs and other amazing native butterflies. The beautiful wildflowers which attract the butterflies are another focus of the event as well.

To find this program in the JCPRD’s Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under youth and then under special events. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keyword “nature.”

This event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon. The cost for the two-hour event is $4 per person, including adults. Reservations are required and can be obtained by calling (913) 764-7759.

Drawn by late-blooming flowers in a prairie remnant which was restored in the park about ten years ago, hundreds of butterflies each year make stops from their southern migration at Ernie Miller Park during early September. About 80 percent of these visitors have been monarchs, but there have been other species as well, including painted ladies and sulfur butterflies. The butterflies are being drawn by the tall purple blooms of the gayfeather plant, as well as by other prairie plants including goldenrod and sunflowers. Many of these plants have come up naturally following prairie restoration projects completed in late 2002 in conjunction with Kansas City WildLands. Those projects removed a number of large eastern red cedar trees which previously choked out the sun-loving prairie plants.

The Johnson County Park & Recreation District's Activities catalog, with information and a registration form, is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. For more information about the Monarchs and Wildflowers event, call (913) 764-7759.

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