Vincennes University sponsoring Monarch Madness Family Fun Day on Sept. 21

Vincennes University sponsoring Monarch Madness Family Fun Day on Sept. 21

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September 18, 2019

September 18, 2019 / Vincennes University sponsoring Monarch Madness Family Fun Day on Sept. 21

VINCENNES, Ind. – Dean of Vincennes University’s College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Curt Coffman has been tracking the incredible migration of monarch butterflies from the northern United States to Central Mexico with the help of South Knox Elementary School fifth-grade students and VU students for a decade.

They catch the butterflies, place a tag on them, take a sample of their abdominal scales, measure wing size, determine gender, and release them.

The public is invited to join in the “citizen science” program and help tag butterflies this year.

Monarch Madness Family Fun Day will take place on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Fox Ridge Nature Park, 1364 N. Hillcrest Rd.

The free, family-friendly event is being sponsored by VU, Knox County Parks and Recreation Department, Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Knox County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA), and Knox County Public Library.

"Monarch Madness is an opportunity for the community to be a part of a citizen-science research activity that Vincennes University has been a part of for the past 10 years,” Coffman said. “This project helps researchers better understand monarch butterflies and where they are coming from during their migration to Mexico. We also collect data on a parasite that infects the butterflies, which can greatly inhibit the monarch's ability to complete the migration."

Due to the nature park’s prairie habitat, Fox Ridge has become a great place for monarchs to stop during the migration.

"Monarch butterflies are an important pollinator species. Pollinators are incredibly important in Knox County where much of our produce requires pollination. In order to have pollinators, you need to have the plants that will feed them. Monarchs require native plants like milkweed to reproduce and also make their journey south. Having the event at Fox Ridge Nature Park, where much of the park was restored as a native prairie, also showcases what can be done to provide native plants so that pollinator populations stay healthy," Coffman said.

Along with catching and tagging butterflies, there will be interactive displays, educational booths, giveaways, and refreshments.

"Fewer people interact with nature now than ever before. A goal of Monarch Madness is to help people see their connection to nature and how important it is to maintain natural areas so that animals like the monarch have the habitat they need for their survival. Holding a monarch in your hand really does help you see their importance to your own life and why conserving nature matters,” Coffman said.

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers, and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Fort Branch. A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 35 other states, and 17 countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at


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MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director
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VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations,