March Meeting - Monarchs Butterflies in a Changing World

A population ecologist from the University of Georgia will describe conservation efforts to reduce threats to the majestic monarch butterfly – one of her research specialties – at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Dr. Sonia Altizer, whose UGA research focuses on animal migration, monarch butterfly ecology, and host-parasite interactions, will give a talk titled “Monarchs in a Changing World: Status and Conservation of an Iconic Butterfly.”

The distinctive orange-and-black butterflies and plump, striped caterpillar larvae are well-known visitors to Georgia gardens. They are famous for their spectacular migration across North America to wintering grounds in Mexico. However, monarchs face growing threats from deforestation, pesticides, genetically modified crops and a changing climate.

Altizer will discuss active monarch conservation efforts, including a recent petition to list the butterflies under the federal Endangered Species Act, and will share some exciting new discoveries about monarchs' continental migration.

The meeting will be held in the Nature Center’s Education and Visitor Center, 205 Old Commerce Road off U.S. Highway 441 north of Athens. To reach the center from the Loop 10 bypass, exit at U.S. Highway 441/Commerce Road and turn north toward Commerce. Go approximately a mile, turn left at the Sandy Creek Nature Center sign and go to the end of the road. Turn left at Old Commerce Road; parking for the Education and Visitor Center will be on the right.