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Monarchs hatch at Kid’s Place

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The fish tank in the Frederic Remington Art Museum’s Kid’s Place has been home for the last several weeks to a collection of 29 Monarch butterfly caterpillars.

The much-anticipated hatching has begun as the caterpillars make the transition into their final, colorful form and fly away.

When they leave, however, they will bring a piece of Ogdensburg with them. The butterflies will be tracked through a program set up by the University of Kansas called Monarch Watch.

Lauren Gilmour, education specialist at Kid’s Place, said once all the butterflies are hatched, they will be tagged and monitored while they migrate south.

The butterfly project is a collaboration between the Ogdensburg Youth Garden Club and the museum.

Loni Recker, a leader with the Youth Garden Club, said the butterflies are tracked via very small, numbered attachments to their wings.

“They [University of Kansas officials] will know when the butterfly is found that it came from Ogdensburg, New York,” said Ms. Recker.

Monarch butterflies are becoming endangered, said Ms. Recker, speaking about why she established the program.

“Nobody wants milkweed. Nobody wants it, and that’s the only thing the caterpillars eat,” she said.

The Youth Garden Club planted milkweed to entice the butterflies to stay. The caterpillars, which disappeared into chrysalises two weeks ago, took caretakers by surprise when they hatched on Wednesday.

“They took four days less than we expected,” said Museum Interpreter Emily Baker.

As of Wednesday, 15 caterpillars had completed the transformation to their adult stage. Ms. Recker said they plan on releasing the butterflies Monday between 3:30 and 5 p.m.

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