May 16, 2012

Public Invited to View Emerging Butterflies at KU Field Station

The KU Natural History Museum and the Kansas Biological Survey invite the public for an impromptu field trip to experience butterflies, Kansas woodlands and science.

On Friday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the public is welcome to visit with KU scientists at the Fitch Natural History Reservation located just north of the Lawrence Municipal Airport. Natural History Museum and Biological Survey scientists will be available to offer information and guidance to visitors. 

Ornithologist Mark Robbins expects to see thousands of Emperor Hackberry butterflies emerging at the property, which is part of the KU Field Station.

It is rare to see so many of the brown and gray butterflies appear so early in the spring.  As caterpillars, the butterflies that are now emerging fed on the leaves of the many hackberry trees at the reservation. Robbins expects the trees to recover later in the season when there are not so many hungry caterpillars. 

Visitors should be prepared for wooded hiking conditions: wear loose-fitting clothing, bring water and use insect repellant. The Fitch reservation and the rest of the field station have very limited parking; carpooling to the site is encouraged. Visitors may park along E. 1600 Road near the entrance to the reservation. Directions to the site are available here. Visitors are also asked to stay on established trails. A map of the trails is available here.

For those who cannot attend the event, the KU Field Station welcomes the public any day at the Fitch reservation from dawn to dusk.