A state park in the migratory path of the monarch butterfly will host a festival to raise awareness about the declining population of this colorful creature.
Gorges State Park in Transylvania County will host the second annual Mountain Monarch Festival on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the park’s visitor center. The festival will celebrate the monarch butterfly during its migration south through North Carolina to the high-elevation fir forests of Mexico’s Neovolcanic Mountains, where they overwinter until early spring.
The festival will offer educational programs and exhibits featuring the monarch butterfly, including monarch-themed children’s crafts, plus live music, food trucks, a live photo board, face painting, local art for sale and a Monarch Migration Passport to lead families through monarch-themed activities.
Heyward Douglas, an entomologist who has worked as a park naturalist and served on the Foothills Trail Conservancy’s board of directors since 1989, will be the featured speaker. He has visited the monarch’s wintering area in Mexico.
The migratory subspecies of the monarch was recently added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “red list” of the most threatened species on Earth and is now listed as endangered. Monarch butterflies have two sets of deep orange and black-in-color wings and a wingspan of three to four inches. Male monarchs can be identified by the two black spots in the center of their hind wings. Monarchs thrive on milkweed, a native North Carolina plant. Those who wish to help monarchs return to healthy population levels can plant milkweed in their yards and support efforts to reduce pesticide use.
The Mountain Monarch Festival is sponsored by Friends of Gorges State Park and organized in partnership with Monarch Watch, Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority, Transylvania County Library, N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, N.C. Department of Commerce, EcoExplorer - NC Arboretum, Transylvania County 4-H, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service – Grand Canyon. Admission, music, and programs at the festival are free of charge. The festival will be held rain or shine.
For event details and to RSVP, visit https://www.friendsofgorges.org/mountainmonarchfestival
About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 257,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 22 million visitors annually.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.