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ONARGA — The Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners are tagging monarch butterflies for monarchwatch.org again this year.

Special tags — small adhesive circles — were ordered from monarchwatch.org in the early spring, and they arrived in late August, just about the time migration begins.  

Monarchs are caught with a net, and the tag is placed under the wing. They are then released and sent on their way to Mexico.

The tagged monarchs are the last generation produced this year. They will not reproduce until next spring as they begin to migrate back to the U.S.  

If a tagged monarch is found in Mexico or in the southern U.S., it is sent to monarchwatch.org and compared with the data the organization had received from taggers last fall.

Civilian scientists help to gather information that gives much insight into how they migrate, how far they have come, and what direction they travel to Mexico.

Finding a roost of monarchs — monarchs bunched up together — greatly helps the taggers.  Anyone who has seen a roost is asked to contact the University of Illinois Extension office in Onarga at 815-268-4051 and ask for Debra Mason, who will bring word of the location to the taggers.  

More information about tagging can be found at monarchwatch.org.

Sept. 10 meeting

The Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners met Sept. 10 at the UI Extension office in Onarga with 14 members present as well as Master Gardener coordinator Jenney Hanrahan. The following occurred:

➜ Hanrahan discussed the upcoming fall webinar series.  Programs can be watched at the Extension office or online.  People can register by calling the Extension office at 815-268-4051. The program dates are Sept. 17 (fall gardening), Oct. 8 (tree compartmentalization) and Dec. 3 (gardening for birds). All programs start at 1:30 at the Extension office.

➜ Several members attended the Illinois Master Gardener Conference held in Moline on Sept. 5-6, the group learned.

➜ Harvest Daze will be held in early October in Watseka, the group learned. The Master Gardeners will have a booth at the event and will be handing out free plants, free seeds and garden information.  

➜ Master Gardener Mary Dickinson will be leading programs at several local libraries that are open to the public, the group learned. People can register by calling the library hosting the event. A program on “grapevine wreaths” will be offered at 11 a.m. Sept. 28 at the Paxton Carnegie Library (217-379-3431) and at 1 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Hoopeston Public Library (217-283-6711).  There is a cost of $15.  On Oct. 19, Dickinson will be leading a “make-and-take” class on succulents at the Clifton library at 10 a.m.; people can call the library to register at 815-694-2069. On Oct. 23, Dickinson will be leading a program on “forcing bulbs” at the Rantoul Public Library. People can call the library at 217-893-3955 to find out the time and to register.