Butterfly count kicks off Aug. 17

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Join New Mexico’s unofficial “Butterfly Guy” Steve Cary at Pajarito Environmental Education Center, 7 p.m. on Aug. 15.
Cary’s talk will be before the 21st annual Los Alamos Butterfly Count on Aug. 17. Participants for the count should meet 8:30 a.m. at PEEC, or 9 a.m. at the Burnt Mesa Trailhead. Both events are free and all ages are welcome.
During the talk, Cary will show many of his own photographs, which will help attendees learn how to identify butterflies they are likely to see in this year’s butterfly count. He will also explain the effect the recent wildfires have had on our local species, and he will summarize the monitoring of monarch butterflies and offer opportunities for Los Alamoseños to participate.
On Saturday, join Cary and PEEC Butterfly interest group member Dorothy Hoard, to observe our local species of butterflies in their natural habitats. At the same time, participants will be contributing to science, as the data collected during the count is used to track the butterflies. In the past, data has been shared with the North American and New Mexico Butterfly Associations. No experience is necessary to take part in the butterfly count, and this will be a family friendly activity.
Three different habitats will be covered: mesa top, streamside and high altitude (Camp May).
Some nets will be provided and count participants are encouraged to bring binoculars.
For those who aren’t early birds, it will be possible to meet the group along the way. The group expects to arrive about 10:30 a.m. at Canon de Valle on State Road 501 (West Jemez Road). After that, they will go up to Camp May at about noon, to have lunch and count there until around 3:30 p.m.
Cary arrived in New Mexico in 1980 and began a 30-year career in environmental protection and natural resource management, yet butterflies have always been his passion. Now the Operations and Resource Manager at the Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe, Cary has become known as New Mexico’s unofficial “Butterfly Guy.”
The Pajarito Environmental Education Center was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos. It offers people of all ages a way to enrich their lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains and skies.
PEEC maintains a nature center, holds regular programs and events, and hosts a number of interest groups from birding to hiking to butterfly watching.
PEEC activities are open to everyone, however members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on programs and merchandise.
Annual memberships start at $20. To learn more, visit pajaritoeec.org.