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The public is invited to join a free science project July 9 to help with the national butterfly census.
University of Louisville biology professor emeritus Charles Covell and other butterfly specialists will lead the butterfly count Saturday at UofL’s Horner Wildlife Sanctuary in Brownsboro.
The group first began the survey in 1976. Covell said for the most part they have had the butterfly count annually in early July.
The goal is to record the different species of butterfly present in Oldham County and the quantity of each.
“Sometimes we have over 1,000 of a species we see,” Covell said.
“I’m building a database on all of these years of information and looking for trends,” he added.
The data will be reported to the North American Butterfly Association for inclusion in its published results.
Covell explained how in recent years some species have started showing up earlier in the summer than normal, and these are the kinds of changes he hopes to record.
The count will take place in a defined area from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., although volunteers do not have to stay the entire time.
Covell suggests that people wear hats, hiking shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Volunteers may also want to consider bringing insect repellent, water and lunch.
The count leaders will teach people how to identify the butterflies they see so experience is not necessary.
Volunteer counters of all ages should meet at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the former Brownsboro general store and restaurant, one mile northwest of exit 14 off Interstate 71 on Ky. 329.
If it rains heavily, the count will be postponed until the same time Sunday, July 10, if that day’s weather is clear.
Covell will supply nets but volunteers can also use cameras, binoculars and notebooks to gather information.
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