KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butterflies are fluttering around Knoxville, and the University of Tennessee Gardens is working to collect research about them.
Officials said that they have tagged and released around 200 monarch butterflies over the past three weeks as they migrate south. They place lightweight stickers on their wings that are specially designed to be harmless to butterflies.
These stickers help researchers understand the population density of monarch butterflies better, as well as their migration patterns. Volunteers, interns and staff helped tag and release the butterflies.
Anyone who wants to see the butterflies before they leave, officials encouraged people to stop by this week before the temperatures dropped. They also said communities can help monarchs get off the endangered species list by reducing how much they use herbicides and by planting pollinators like milkweed.
There are some funding sources available for large-scale installations of pollinator-friendly habitats, according to UT Gardens. One of the sources includes the Pollinator Stewardship Council.
In 2020, UT Gardens also build a 5,000 square foot garden designed to attract butterflies as they migrate south, giving them a pit stop during their journey. It features more than 80 species of plants that specifically attract pollinators like the monarch butterfly.