Georgia outdoor lovers and natural resources officials say we may be seeing fewer butterflies in Georgia in 2022, but that may not be the final result for the year as other counts and research remains underway.
For those who want to be assured of seeing some of nature's most colorful and graceful insects in 2022 -- regardless of their counts in the wild -- the annual Garden With Wings butterfly exhibit at Kennesaw's Smith-Gilbert Gardens is scheduled to continue through July 31.
According to a Georgia Department of Natural Resources report and annual counts conducted by DNR’s Phil Delestrez and retired program manager Terry W. Johnson, there likely are fewer butterflies flitting around flower and vegetable plants this year. That projection is based on annual butterfly counts conducted at Panola Mountain State Park, Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, Rum Creek Wildlife Management Area and other areas on the state.
Meanwhile, the UGA Extension Great Georgia Pollinator Census is scheduled in August, during which Georgians can count pollinators -- including butterflies -- by themselves in their back or front yards or join a group count. Modeled after the Cornell University Backyard Bird Count, event organizers have recruited from schools, garden clubs and conservation groups to commit 15 minutes on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24. Volunteers will watch one blooming plant, keeping track of the pollinators they see. Data will be compiled from across the state to give researchers a better idea picture of overall pollinator health in Georgia.
And, a paper published in June in a scientific journal indicates that the populations of monarch butterflies has remained stable or increased slightly in the Southeast US. Published in Global Change Biology, the researchers note, "While the data revealed declines at some sites, particularly the US Northeast and parts of the Midwest, numbers in other areas, notably the US Southeast and Northwest, were unchanged or increasing, yielding a slightly positive overall trend." Multiple representatives of the University of Georgia were among the paper's authors.
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