Volunteers needed for dragonfly collection, butterfly tagging

September 19, 2018

Help collect dragonfly nymphs and tag monarch butterflies on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, at Homestead National Monument of America’s Education Center. These two Citizen Science projects are occurring to celebrate National Public Lands Day. Citizen Science is the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by member of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientist.

Starting at 9:30 a.m., staff and interested volunteers will gather at the Homestead Education Center to collect dragonfly nymphs from Cub Creek. Collected nymphs will be sent off to be analyzed for mercury levels. The Dragonfly Mercury Project engages citizen scientists, such as students and visitors, in national parks to collect dragonfly larvae from distinct sampling sites. The samples that are collected will be sent to laboratories at the United States Geological Survey or Dartmouth College for mercury analyses. The study connects people to parks and provides baseline data to better understand the spatial distribution of mercury contamination in national parks.

At 1 p.m. the Monarch Watch Tagging Program will take place. The Monarch Watch Tagging Program is a large-scale citizen science project that was initiated in 1992 to help understand the dynamics of the monarch’s spectacular fall migration through mark and recapture.

“Citizen Science projects like these allow everyone to contribute to the scientific community while gaining a better understanding of the natural world,” stated Park Superintendent Mark Engler.

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