National Flight Of The Butterfly Day Celebrated In Lion’s Head And Dyers Bay

L-R: Anne James shows off the Monarch with its iconic markings of brilliant orange-red wings, featuring black veins and white spots along the edges to M.J. Amy and Norma Funston.
By Joanne Rodgers, Bruce Peninsula Press

To commemorate National Flight of the Butterfly Day on August 20, 2022 two exhibitions on the Monarch Butterflies were held, one at the parking lot of the Golden Dawn and another at the Wild By Nature Forest Sanctuary at Dyers Bay.

In July 2022, the Migratory Monarch Butterfly landed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species™ as Endangered. Monarchs are threatened by deforestation of the forests in Mexico where they winter and the loss of native plants (including milkweed species but also all nectar-producing native plants) along their migratory corridors. The increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events (linked to accelerating rapid climate change) also add risk to the survival of this regal species.

Lion’s Head resident Anne James has been an ardent advocate for the Monarchs on the Northern Bruce Peninsula, promoting the conservation of the butterflies’ natural habitats as well as fostering butterflies each year.

The purpose of the exhibits was to educate the community about the Monarchs and encourage people to plant milkweed and pollinator friendly plants. 

James showed off the butterflies at the various states of the life cycle (egg-caterpillar-chrysalis-butterfly). James is certified to raise a certain number of butterflies each year.

She demonstrated how the butterflies are tagged, each having an unique identifier number. Two of her butterflies from the 2021 season were located in Mexico, having successfully made the 4000+ km journey from Lion’s Head to Mexico.

Barbara Rabicki Canning hosted the exhibit at the Wild By Nature Forest Sanctuary at Dyers Bay. The activities included milkweed seed potting for people to take home, painting a pollinator plant display canoe, as well as monarch raising education, display and monarch butterfly release.

Barbara Rabicki Canning (left) and assistant at Wild By Nature Forest Sanctuary.

James and Canning are both certified with 

Less than 10 percent of monarch caterpillar eggs survive to become butterflies. The Monarchs being released now are of the super generation. They are the ones destined to live eight to eleven months and to fly south to the mountainous forests of Mexico. They will head to Texas next spring, lay their eggs and die. Then it will take three generations of Monarchs, each generation living approximately 30 days to arrive back to the Northern Bruce Peninsula to lay their eggs in late spring/early summer of 2023.

James and Canning say the most important thing people can do to help the Monarchs is to plant milkweed, the only plant that the monarch caterpillars eat.