Monarch Butterfly Tagging…I Missed It This Year

After our move, a citizen science activity gets temporarily shelved.

A monarch butterfly with a tag on the hindwing, coded within formation to track its migration
Tagged Monarch before release. © Carol Labuzzetta.

After spending years learning about monarchs, starting in 2000, I began teaching the subject matter that involved their life cycle, habitat creation, restoration, and conservation. I started teaching the awe-inspiring and life-changing metaphorosis and miraculous migration of the monarch butterfly to my garden club students in 2006. By 2008, we had a certified way station on our school grounds. They were hooked and so was I.

pink coneflower and pink zinnia offer nectar for adult monarchs with a garden sign designating the area as a certified habitat for monarchs during migration
Monarch waystation at our elementary school. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2010.

I created a habitat in two yards, with several types of milkweed and nectar plants for the adults. The students helped create a habitat for the monarchs on school grounds. My husband and I, along with a few supportive friends maintained that space for the following decade. At times, it wasn’t easy. But, we persevered.

small monarch caterpillar on green milkweed leaf
Monarch larva (caterpillar) on a milkweed leaf. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021

Soon, I started teaching the material to community groups including fellow master gardeners at locally and at two conferences, one state conference and an international conference held in 2015 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I also taught at Lion’s club meetings, local community garden club meetings, and other local venues when asked, including other schools in our area.

Eventually, my habitat creation and teaching were not enough! During the winter of 2013, almost ten years ago now, scientists told us that the monarchs were in trouble! I knew I needed to do more. It was then that I became involved in tagging monarchs. I learned about tagging through Monarch Watch, one of the preeminent expert groups on monarch butterflies out of the University of Kansas.

Monarch butterfly on Liatris in my yard.
© Carol Labuzzetta, 2018.

I had been raising monarchs in my yard and in my home since 2003. My boys all got to experience the miracle of a change in form — metamorphosis in…



Carol Labuzzetta, MS Natural Resources, MS Nursing

Environmental educator with a passion for teaching youth using the science of awe. Traveler, Photographer, Author, Wife, Mother. Top Writer & Boosted Writer x3