Waterton Lakes National Park’s 20th Annual Butterfly Count

On Friday, July 19th, Waterton Lakes National Park will hold its annual Butterfly Count, one of the longest running butterfly counts in Alberta. It is a great opportunity for families, young, old and everybody in between to be a citizen scientist for the day and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the count! No experience is necessary. Park entry will be free for those who register by end of day July 17.

Will you be the one to catch a species not previously caught in the prior decades? It happened last year when a two-tailed swallowtail was caught, admired and then released unharmed.

Join leading butterfly experts to participate in the count and learn about butterflies in the Canadian portion of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. This World Heritage Site is one of the most biologically diverse places in North America with many colorful, interesting and rare butterfly species.

A willingness to learn about and catch butterflies is all that’s needed. The day will start with some celebratory snacks and short remarks. Then it’s off to various locations in the park with one of the experts to explore butterfly habitat, catch the butterflies with the nets supplied and after identification by the expert, release the butterflies back into the wild.

Space is limited, so those interested are encouraged to register as soon as possible by email to pc.wlnp-volunteer.pc@canada.ca or phone the Visitor Centre at 403-859-5133. More information is on-line at www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/activ/benevolat-volunteer

Butterfly Count Facts

·     As many as 52 different species of butterflies and more than 1,380 individuals have been caught, identified and released during a single butterfly count in Waterton Lakes National Park.

·        A moth – the very colourful and relatively large sheep moth – stole the show at the 2016 Waterton Butterfly count. Waterton is the only area of Alberta where it has been found.

·     The butterfly count avoids the critical habitat for the half-moon hairstreak butterfly on the Blakiston Fan in order to protect this species and its habitat, which is protected under the Canadian Species at Risk Act. The Blakiston Fan is the only location where this butterfly is known to occur in Alberta. We ask all visitors to please stay off the vegetation in that area.