Annual Butterfly Count scheduled August 5 at Sycamore Shoals Park

Published 8:52 am Friday, July 21, 2023

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The 20th Annual Elizabethton Butterfly Count will be held Saturday, Aug. 5, at Sycamore Shoals State Park, W. Elk Avenue.
The annual count will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The morning will be spent at Sycamore Shoals and the afternoon in other areas of Elizabethton. Participants may come for all or part of the day.
Don Holt, local naturalist, will be host for this day-long winged adventure across town, which is sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association.
Sycamore Shoals State Park is among Tennessee state parks designated as a Monarch Waystation. The designation recognizes that the park meets the habitat needs of monarch butterflies during their annual migration across North America.
However, monarch butterflies are not the only butterflies that flutter about the park. According to the Tennessee Conservation magazine, Tennessee is home to around 130 species of butterflies that occur here with regularity, with an additional few species that have only been recorded once or twice and are considered rare strays.
The history of butterfly counts in Tennessee dates back almost 30 years to the Roan Mountain count. Slowly, counts started to pop up throughout the state, in large part due to the efforts of pioneers of Tennessee butterflying.
With their vivid colors and sprightly flight, butterflies continue to captivate young and old alike. Butterflies can often be seen on flowers, on the ground, on moist soil, or stopping on rocks in a stream to take a drink.
For optional viewing, it’s best to approach them slowly and not make sudden movement.
The annual butterfly count provides much needed information as to the health and species diversity of the area.
Visitors to the park’s annual Butterfly Count will have the chance to learn about the different butterflies that frequent this area.
Holt has been studying butterflies for many years, and will conduct a walk through the park, and the group will talk about the things they find. In addition to his knowledge of butterflies, Holt is also an excellent birder and is well versed in both dragonflies and damselflies.

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