This past month we’ve gotten the opportunity to work on a bunch of really cool projects! We’ve tagged monarch butterflies, gone caving, helped assess wetland function, and electrofished!
We spent a couple days chasing down butterflies. It was lots of fun! Idaho Fish and Game tags monarch butterflies to try and track their migration patterns. This is important especially since a recent study by the US Fish and Wildlife Service found that monarch butterfly populations in the west are dramatically declining. The tags are little stickers, about the size of a hole punch with tiny identification numbers on them. Hopefully, the butterflies will get recaptured somewhere along their migration route so we learn more about what happens to them once they leave Idaho. I got to tag one and test it for disease. Here is a shot of me holding the butterfly I tagged!
Unfortunately, the butterflies were too few and too fast so we weren’t able to catch very many. We did, however, catch some cool bumblebees! Below is a series of pictures of me catching Hunt’s bumblebee (Bombus huntii) so it can be photographed, identified and uploaded to a citizen science project on the Bumble Bee Watch app.
I also really enjoyed helping with Properly Functioning Condition assessments for wetlands. I enjoyed getting to learn new riparian plants and hiking along beautiful streams, like this one below. It was a cool experience to explore wetlands here in the desert, because they are so different than the ones I’m used to back east.
Last week, fall/winter came all of a sudden. We even got some flurries up north in the Sawtooth National Forest where we were electrofishing. It was beautiful but pretty chilly for standing waist deep in a river.
I’ve really enjoyed getting to work with wildlife more this season. It’s something I haven’t really done before and it’s been fun!