UMC Graphic Designer, Patti Tiedemann, and her granddaughter, London Isakson, helped release the 207 they raised this year.

    Have you ever seen a monarch butterfly with a small round sticker tag on one of its wings? Chances are it’s one of Patti Tiedemann’s monarchs. Tiedemann, a graphic designer at the University of Minnesota Crookston, and her granddaughter, London Isakson, just helped release another 207 monarchs hoping they’ll fly to Mexico where they can breed with other monarchs.

    Tiedemann has been raising monarchs from caterpillars since 2008 and has partnered with UMC, and, more specifically, Laura Bell, who started tagging monarchs in 2002, as a way to research their migration. Monarchs tagged and released from UMC have been tracked all the way to Oklahoma and Texas, but none to Mexico. Not yet, any way.

    Tiedemann told the Times that she gave a kiss to each one of her monarchs this year before they went into the netted cage to be tagged. She and her granddaughter would feed them fresh milkweed every day, as that’s the only thing they eat, and, the day of tagging, the monarchs were snacking on watermelon for nectar.

    Tiedemann also donned her monarch butterfly shoes and caterpillar earrings the day of tagging which accented her monarch tattoos.

    Bell, who Tiedemann’s husband calls “The Butterfly Lady”, said the university has been very supportive of this research and the partnership with Tiedemann has been “amazing.” As they wait for “that first one” to arrive in Mexico, Bell and Tiedemann will continue to monitor the distance and time traveled by the new batch of monarchs. And they’ll start all over again next year.