by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher

On October 2021, hundreds of butterfly enthusiasts of all ages gathered at War Memorial Park in Pass Christian to celebrate Monarch Butterflies. The 2021 Monarch Butterfly Festival in The Pass was an overwhelming success enjoyed by old and young alike.

Hundreds of people from all over the Mississippi Gulf Coast attended this year’s event that featured educational events, guest speakers, butterfly rock painting, butterfly tagging lectures, booths from the Mississippi Forestry Commission and The Crosby Arboretum….just a whole lot of fun.

Event organizer and Pass Christian Head Librarian Wendy Allard was very happy with this year’s event. She commented “We were so excited with our 2nd Butterflies in the Pass Monarch Festival!”

She added, “We’re so grateful that the rain held off until after the festival was over.  We estimate over 500 people attended our educational festival that is held in conjunction with the weekly Market in the Park.  We started (and will continue) the Butterflies in the Pass Monarch Festival to celebrate Monarch butterflies.  The festival is timed to be held just prior to their fall migration through our Gulf Coast area.  The festival also hopes to educate our community on how we can work to conserve and protect these butterflies and other pollinators.”

Programs like this provide conservationists with the opportunity to educate the public on the importance of Monarch Butterfly conservation. As noted in a publication produced by the Monarch Joint Venture, “The monarch butterfly is a flagship species for conservation.”  Monarchs are considered key “pollinators “ with a geographical reach of over 3,000 miles. Unfortunately habitats for these pollinators has decreased making it more difficult for Monarchs to do their jobs as pollinators.

Citizens are encouraged to create pollinator way stations/habitats by planting milkweeds in their yards. Monarchs migrate in the fall and planting milkweed provides them much needed nourishment during their long trek from Canada to Florida. For further information on benefits of milkweed visit www.plantmilkweed.org.

Furthermore volunteers are needed to tag and observe Monarch butterflies. Citizens can be trained to successfully and safely tag and track butterflies which helps with studying these amazing pollinators. If you’d like additional information for how to get involved in this effort, you can visit www.monarchwatch.orgwww.monarchjointventure.org or www.mlmp.org.