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
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 www.vinu.edu.
Vincennes University Newsroom
MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports
812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,
Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom