Coastal Master Naturalists...

Volunteers are needed to help with Monarch Butterfly Research along the SC Coast!

There is a research project on wintering monarchs developing and your volunteer assistance is needed to make it happen!! The project will require volunteer citizen scientists who can help with tagging monarchs (and/or recovery of tagged monarchs) and will be accomplished through cooperation between the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Billy McCord with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

Wintering behavior by monarchs likely occurs all along the southern section of the SC coast, beginning around McClellanville. Coastal communities typically provide enough trees and cover for the monarchs to use them during the cooler months as protected roosting sites when weather is not appropriate for butterfly activity.

McCord needs several volunteers to help tag (and find recovery tagged monarchs) at sites along the central SC coast. McCord is hopeful to have as many as 16 tagging sites established for this study. This means there is a call for volunteers to work as teams or individually – from as far south as Edisto Beach to as far north as McClellanville. Other sites within the study area could include Kiawah, Seabrook Island, Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. The hope is that volunteers live at, or very near, these sites. This is also a perfect combination of an experience that will count towards advanced training hours (initially) and then volunteer hours!! Win-win!!

Tagging may begin as early as the second half of November and extend though the spring. McCord will arrange at least one training session towards the end of October or early November on how to properly handle and tag monarchs. The project will also supply tags, tagging platforms, glassine envelopes in which to stash monarchs before tagging, and butterfly nets.

Please email Billy McCord at for more information. Also, please do not hesitate to share this information with anyone who lives in these areas that you think might be interested in helping with this very important research project!