Editor’s note: The event featured in this article occurred in 2017, but we hear that this year’s will be the best yet. Find it on our Events page.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Mena will have their annual butterfly count Saturday, July 15. The park is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, and is located atop 2,681-foot Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak.
The count will start and end at the Wonder House on site, a historic vacation home built in the 1930s that is now listed on National Register of Historic Places. It is located across from the locomotive as one comes into the park.
“The butterfly count is for beginners and experts,” said park interpreter Melissa Phillips. “If you don’t know a lot about butterflies this would be a good time to come out and learn. If you’re an expert, we would love to have you count too.”
“To make it a true butterfly count we have to count butterflies for 6 hours,” she added. “We will start at 9 a.m. and count until 3 p.m. We will be counting butterflies in the park and on the Talimena Scenic Drive. I would recommend wearing long pants because you may end up walking in some tall grass. I would also recommend sturdy shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen and water to drink.”
Participants can bring a sack lunch or they can also eat in the park restaurant on site too. The cost to participate in the count is $3.00 per person, which goes towards the North American Butterfly Association Report. “In this report you will find butterfly counts from all over the world,” Phillips said. “If you count your name will be published in the report.”
There are over 150 species of butterflies that occur in Arkansas, though only about 130 or so complete their full life cycle in the state. Some are vagrant species that merely pass through the state during the annual butterfly migration. For more details on the event, call 479-394-6927 or visit QueenWilhelmina.com.