Monarch butterfly at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve
Monday, August 8, 2022 - 00:00

First Mountain Monarch Festival to Be Hosted By Gorges State Park

Gorges State Park will host its first annual Mountain Monarch Festival on September 24, 2022.
Raleigh, N.C.
Aug 8, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gorges State Park in Transylvania County will host the first Mountain Monarch Festival Saturday, Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the park’s visitor center. The festival will celebrate the monarch butterfly during its migration and bring attention to the species’ declining numbers.

The park lies along the monarch’s migratory route. The butterflies can be seen in late September each year flying over the park’s visitor center on their way south to the high-elevation fir forests of Mexico’s Neovolcanic Mountains, where they overwinter until early spring.

The festival will offer educational programs and exhibits featuring the monarch butterfly, including monarch-themed children’s crafts, live music, a food truck, a festive photo board, local art for sale and a Monarch Migration Passport to lead families through monarch-themed activities. A keynote presentation will be offered by Mr. Heyward Douglas, an entomologist who has worked as a park naturalist and served on the Foothills Trail Conservancy’s board of directors since 1989. Mr. Douglas has visited the monarch’s wintering area in Mexico.

Monarch butterflies have two sets of deep orange and black wings and a wingspan of three to four inches. Male monarchs have two black spots in the center of their hind wings. The migratory subspecies of the monarch was recently added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “red list” of the most threatened species on Earth and is now listed as endangered. Those who wish to help monarchs return to healthy population levels can plant locally native milkweed and nectar flowers in their yards and support efforts to reduce pesticide use.

The Mountain Monarch Festival is sponsored by Friends of Gorges State Park and organized in partnership with Monarch Watch, N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, and N.C. Department of Commerce. Admission, music, and programs at the festival will be free. The park requests that those who plan to attend register by emailing “Monarch Festival Registration” and the number of people in your party to gorges@ncparks.gov. The festival will be held rain or shine.

For event details, visit https://www.ncparks.gov/events-and-programs.

About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 254,500 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 22 million visitors annually.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
 
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.

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