People had a chance to visit and learn about monarch butterflies Sunday at Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve, before the butterflies eventually migrate to Mexico in early October.

Little River Wetlands Project held its 11th annual Monarch Festival at the 831-acre wetlands on Engle Road in southwest Fort Wayne.

The goal of the festival is “to help people learn about these butterflies, have fun along the way, and understand how they can help in conserving their habitat,” according to Amy Silva, LRWP executive director.

The event highlighted the monarchs’ life cycle and their transformation, while also offering a variety of age-appropriate activities, including butterfly tagging, educational presentations and learning stations.

Monarchs were on display at each stage of their life cycle, from caterpillars all the way to adults. Children had an activity to complete at each stage, including painting their very own butterfly on paper, cutting out a cardboard butterfly to decorate and even making their very own “bead caterpillar.”

Eagle Marsh also offers a variety of hiking trails, all of which offer native wildflowers that are often visited by butterflies, either nectaring or roosting, almost close enough to touch.

The event also featured plant giveaways of milkweed, the host plant for monarch caterpillars. Free seeds were available from the Indiana Master Gardeners, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and more.

Participants also had the opportunity to help plant milkweed at Eagle Marsh to help provide a shelter and food source for monarch caterpillars, before the caterpillars turn into butterflies.

This year, the event was also part of Visit Fort Wayne’s Be A Tourist In Your Own Hometown and participants could get their passports stamped.

To volunteer for LRWP or learn more about monarchs, visit https://www.lrwp.org/monarchfestival.

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