The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program at Otero Junior College will be hosting our fifth annual monarch butterfly tagging event at Bent’s Old Fort on Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program at Otero Junior College will be hosting our fifth annual monarch butterfly tagging event at Bent’s Old Fort on Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon.

OJC students and community members of all ages are invited to join us as amateur scientists! No experience is necessary to participate in this hands-on learning experience that promotes the education and research of the monarch butterfly. The camp cost is $3.

The OJC STEM staff will provide butterfly nets as well as educate participants on how to find and tag the monarchs. Once tagged, the butterflies will be released to continue their amazing migration. The tags are then used to help track the migration pattern of the butterflies.

No other butterflies migrate like the Monarchs of North America. They are the only butterflies to make such a long two-way migration every year; they travel up to three thousand miles!

Monarch butterflies cannot survive a long cold winter. Instead, they spend the winter in roosting spots, often in the exact same trees. Monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains travel to small groves of trees along the California coast. Those east of the Rocky Mountains fly farther south to the forests high in the mountains of Mexico.

One unsolved mystery is how Monarchs find their winter roosting sites each year. Somehow they know their way, even though the butterflies returning to Mexico or California each fall are the great-great-grandchildren of the butterflies that left in previous spring. No one knows exactly how their homing system works; it is another of the many unanswered questions in the butterfly world.

For more information on the Monarch Butterfly Tagging Camp or to register, go to http://www.ojc.edu/about/newsevents/ojcevents/stemcamps/default.aspx or call Susan Goettel at 384-6868.