Take wing: Butterfly counters sought for Oldham outing

    Participants in the 2015 butterfly count.

     LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A free Saturday trip to the country will net you a quick science lesson, a good cause and the beauty of nature on the wing June 25.

                That’s when University of Louisville biology professor emeritus Charles Covell and other butterfly specialists will lead the annual local count for the national butterfly census. Children and adults are welcome to join the volunteer effort in the fields and woods of UofL’s Horner Wildlife Sanctuary in Oldham County.

                Count leaders will teach people how to identify the butterflies they spy. The experts will supply nets but counters also can use binoculars, cameras and notebooks to gather information.

                The count will be done in a specified area from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., although volunteers are not required to stay the entire time. Covell suggests that participants wear hiking shoes, hats, long pants and long-sleeved shirts and bring lunch, water and insect repellent.

    Volunteer counters of all ages should meet at 9:30 a.m. June 25 in the parking lot of Sugar Babe Antiques, 7511 Highway 329 in Crestwood, about one mile northwest of Interstate 71’s Exit 14 and about 20 miles north of Louisville.

    If it rains heavily, the count will be postponed until the same time Sunday, June 26, if that day’s weather is clear.

    Last year volunteers counted 1,495 from 48 species adding to the 38-year total of 70 species with more than 32,000 butterflies tabulated. Although Covell retired in 2004 from UofL, he has continued to lead the annual local count for nearly four decades. He now works as a curator for the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity in Gainesville, Fla.

    Covell and Richard Henderson  of Louisville co-founded the Society of Kentucky Lepidopterists for the study of butterflies and moths in 1974. Covell wrote “Butterflies and Moths of Kentucky” and the 1984 Peterson “Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America.”

    For more information, contact Covell at 352-336-0127 or covell@louisville.edu

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.