Monarch Tagging 2017

Early fall is the time of year to tag monarchs. There are several programs and events happening in central Iowa so you and your family can learn why people tag monarchs, how to do it and actually do it yourself. Take a look at the list below. If I am missing one, let me know!

Polk County Conservation

August 26 at 10 a.m.

Chichaqua Longhouse

Come learn about one of the world’s most talked about butterflies and what makes them so unique! We will also try our hand at catching and tagging monarchs as they migrate back to their winter home in Mexico.

September 9 at 1 p.m. 

Chichaqua Longhouse

Learn why monarch butterflies are “tagged” and then we’ll use nets to catch and tag a few. FREE. No registration required.

September 17 at 12 p.m.

Monarch Festival at the Blank Park Zoo

The Festival will highlight the miraculous migration of the monarch butterfly and will offer everything from traditional Mexican dancing, puppet shows, monarch tagging and habitat education to free seeds (limited supply) to start your own butterfly garden. We will even have a Bug Parade – so dress the kids up in their favorite insect costume! Join us we celebrate the monarch’s journey from Canada, through Iowa, to the mountains of Mexico! Polk County Conservation is a co-sponsor of this special event at the Blank Park Zoo. For more details, visit

Des Moines Parks and Recreation

September 12 at 10:30 a.m. Union Park by the Carousel

September 14 at 5:30 p.m. Sargent Park

September 15 at 10 a.m. Des Moines Franklin Library

September 20 at 10:30 a.m. Greenwood Park Sylvan Theater

September 23 at 10 a.m. Water Works Park Des Moines EXPO

September 23 1 p.m. Gray’s Lake Terrace Area

Throughout this fall the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation will be tagging up to 200 Monarch Butterflies at various parks and you are invited to help. At each event, participants will learn about Monarch butterfly natural history, including how their incredible migration takes them from the Des Moines city parks to the mountains of central Mexico. After a brief discussion and directions, participants will use nets to see if they can catch some Monarchs to be tagged and released. Supplies will be provided, but be prepared to hike in the tall grass while you chase Monarchs.

Warren County Conservation

September 10 at 1 p.m. at Annett Nature Center

September 16 at 1 p.m. at Buxton Park


Come discover more about monarch butterflies, their unusual lifestyle and life cycle and their miraculous migration to Mexico. A Warren County Conservation Naturalist will teach you how to catch and handle a monarch, determine gender, and properly tag them in the wild as part of a national research project. All monarchs will be released after they are tagged. Bring a butterfly net if you have one, or share a park net if you don’t. Fun for the whole family! This event is held in partnership with Indianola Parks & Recreation. Please register by September 13th here!

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