Get out and be part of the North American Butterfly Count |

Get out and be part of the North American Butterfly Count

Mary Pickels
Tribune-Review file
A 4-year-old girl participates in last year’s PPG butterfly count in Monroeville. The annual event checks butterflies in their natural habitat, records species and numbers and releases them back into the field.

What started with an employee’s dream now marks PPG’s Monroeville Business and Technology Center’s annual participation in the North American Butterfly Association Butterfly Count.

Registration for the 10 a.m.-noon July 13 event will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the 440 College Park Drive facility. The all-age event is open to area residents at no cost.

According to Maria Revetta, PPG spokeswoman, now retired facility scientist Don DuBois’ interest in wildlife and the environment led to the project’s creation.

“He approached PPG’s Monroeville management with his vision of creating a butterfly garden at our location,” Revetta says in an email.

“His dream became a reality 21 years ago when a program called ‘Wings of Wonder’ was established through the Wildlife Habitat Council,” she adds.

Employees at PPG’s Monroeville facility were guided by the Three Rivers Habitat Partnership in planting a large on-site butterfly habitat.

The habitat serves as an outdoor classroom and hub for hands-on, inquiry-based studies on the monarch butterfly, Revetta says.

Wildflowers and grasses native to western Pennsylvania support the life cycle needs of the monarch butterflies and other pollinators, including hummingbirds and native bees.

Tracking their numbers

According to the North American Butterfly Association, the count program has run in the U.S., Canada and Mexico since 1993. The individual 450 counts compile all butterfly observations within a 15-mile diameter of a site over one day.

Annually published reports provide information about a species’ geographical distribution and relative population sizes, according to the association’s website. Comparisons help monitor changes in population and study the effects of weather and habitat change on North American butterflies.

Local involvement

Becoming involved with the Butterfly Count was a natural progression, Revetta says.

Fifteen participants counted butterflies the first year. Most years now average 75 “counters,” she says. Through the years, the largest number of butterflies identified was 143.

Those attending are encouraged to bring their own nets, as only about 30 are available for use. Wear light-colored clothing, a hat and apply insect repellent.

According to Revetta, since July 1998, when the first butterfly count was held, this project’s purpose has been to raise awareness of butterflies among the site’s employees, their families and the surrounding community.

Participants are provided identification books and a picture board featuring the most common local butterflies, along with tally sheets.

Refreshments will be provided and an adult door prize drawing will be held at noon. Treats will be provided for children, who also will enjoy a visit with representatives of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

Rain date is July 20.

Details: 724-325-5100 or

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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