on Jul 31, 2014 03:55 PM • Views 801

The Wildlife Commission is looking for volunteers for Monday's 5th Annual Butterfly Count at Sandy Mush Game Land. (Cloudless sulfur photo by Doug Johnston)

Media Contact: Jodie B. Owen
919-707-0187
jodie.owen@ncwildlife.org

ALEXANDER, N.C. (July 31, 2014) —Looking for a different way to enjoy time in the outdoors? Why not try a day of butterfly chasing? The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, along with the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), needs more volunteers to help with the fifth annual NABA Butterfly Count Aug. 4 on the Sandy Mush Game Land.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., volunteers will help Commission personnel and local butterfly enthusiasts count butterflies on the 2,600-acre game land, which is located in Buncombe and Madison counties. Participants will meet at the kiosk parking lot in front of Cedar Hill Baptist Church on 474 Cedar Hill Road in Alexander.

While Sandy Mush Game Land is managed for hunting as part of the Commission’s Game Land Program, it is also home to a wide variety of non-game species, such as songbirds and butterflies. Commission staff manages the game land for quality early successional habitat and frequently conducts prescribed burns, which help restore the native vegetation not only for game animals, but also for butterflies and other nongame animals that are part of the ecosystem.

Staff also has planted clover food plots, which are good food sources for butterflies. All this management work has made Sandy Mush a hot spot for butterfly diversity.

The rain date for the butterfly count is Aug. 8.

The NABA was formed in 1992 to promote awareness of butterfly conservation and the benefits of butterfly gardening, observation, photography and education. The NABA butterfly count provides data to monitor butterfly populations in the United States and parts of Mexico. Volunteers select a count area within a 15-mile diameter and conduct a one-day census of all butterflies seen within that circle.

For more information on the count, contact Butterfly Count Coordinator Doug Johnston at wellsteadwest@gmail.com.