Press Release

Release Date: September 11, 2017

by Gene Lehmann



  • A beautiful monarch butterfly feeds on nectar from a chaste tree on the Chickasaw Cultural Center campus in 2016. Monarchs begin their journey south in September through October. Chickasaw Nation photo by Gene Lehmann

SULPHUR, Okla. -- The Chickasaw Cultural Center (CCC) will host its Monarch Butterfly Watch Day, Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will offer educational opportunities, beautiful views of nature and documentary films concerning monarch butterflies.

With recent additions to life-sustaining milkweed and nectar-rich plants growing in CCC flowerbeds and in a “hoop” greenhouse constructed last year, visitors are likely to spot monarchs making their annual migratory trek south to wintering grounds in Mexico.

“The Monarch Butterfly Watch Day is geared toward families and includes pollinator games, make and take giveaways, tours, movies and free milkweed plants,” said Thalia Miller, CCC horticulture director.

“We will give a brief presentation of what the Chickasaw Nation and six Oklahoma tribes are doing to increase monarch habitat by planting thousands of milkweed (plants) on tribal properties.”

The Chickasaw Nation is dedicated to increasing the monarch butterfly population in America.

Activities include:

  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – milkweed giveaway in an outside area east of AaittafamaźžŒ on the CCC campus. The plants make it possible for visitors to help monarchs thrive in home flowerbeds.
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – make and takes in CCC Chikasha Poya Exhibit Hall Plaza.
  • 10:30 a.m. – Butterfly Garden tour – meet at square flowerbed in Plaza.
  • 11:45 a.m. – Anoli Theater – a brief overview of the Monarch Habitat Project.
  • Noon: – Anoli Theater – film “Flight of the Butterflies” (44 minutes).
  • 12:45 p.m. – Anoli Theater – a question and answer session will be held.
  • 1:30 p.m. – Butterfly Garden Tour – meet at square flowerbed in Plaza.
  • 2:30 p.m. – Anoli Theater will host a brief overview of the Monarch Habitat Project.
  • 2:45 p.m. – Anoli Theater – film “The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies” (56 minutes).
  • 3:45 p.m. – Anoli Theater – question and answer session concerning the film and day’s activities.

In 2014, MonarchWatch.org, a University of Kansas educational outreach program, estimated the average area of monarch colony sites in Mexico covered only 1.65 acres, a 20-year low.

The Chickasaw Nation and six other Oklahoma tribes have partnered with Monarch Watch to give the insects a fighting chance of surviving and thriving.

Monarch caterpillars feed only on milkweed plants. Monarchs must lay eggs on milkweed so their offspring will feed. Caterpillars then spin themselves into cocoons and come out a few weeks later as brilliantly-colored insects.

The Chickasaw Nation is responding by planting milkweed and nectar plants throughout the tribe’s 13-county territory in Oklahoma.

Ms. Miller oversaw the planting of milkweed, fruit trees and nectar-producing plants at the cultural center.

“While the milkweed plant is very important, the nectar plants are also,” she said. “For that reason, we have filled our gardens with plants that produce large amounts of nectar, such as Coreopsis, Solidago, Monardo and Echinacea.”

The “hoop” greenhouse, located near the CCC Traditional Village, offers a controlled enclosure for growing plants year-round. Monarchs may enter and depart the structure safely.

For more information, call (580) 622-7130 or visit www.chickasawculturalcenter.com.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016