Join ‘The Butterfly Guy’ for Talk and Species Count


Steve Cary. Photo by David Goldberg

PEEC News:

They flit around us every day, but have you ever wondered, what are those not-so common butterfly species you see?

Or maybe you are curious about the butterflies’ habitats and histories?

Join New Mexico’s unofficial “Butterfly Guy” Steve Cary at Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15 to learn more. Cary’s talk will be in advance of the 21st Annual Los Alamos Butterfly Count Saturday, Aug.17. Participants for the count should meet at 8:30 a.m., at PEEC or at 9 a.m. at the Burnt Mesa Trailhead. Both events are free and all ages are welcome.

At his talk, Cary will show many of his own photographs, which will help attendees learn how to identify butterflies they are likely to see in this year’s butterfly count. He will also explain the effect the recent wildfires have had on our local species, and he will summarize the monitoring of monarch butterflies and offer opportunities for Los Alamoseños to participate.

Saturday, Aug.17, the community is encouraged to join Cary and PEEC Butterfly interest group member Dorothy Hoard, to observe our local species of butterflies in their natural habitats. At the same time, participants will be contributing to science, as the data collected during the count is used to track the butterflies.

In the past, data has been shared with the North American and New Mexico Butterfly Associations. No experience is necessary to take part in the butterfly count, and this will be an activity that will be especially fun for the kids. It might even inspire a few future scientists.

Three different habitats will be covered: mesa top, streamside and high altitude (Camp May.)

Some nets will be provided, and count participants are encouraged to bring binoculars if they have them.

For those who aren’t early birds, it will be possible to meet the group along the way. The group expects to arrive at Canon de Valle on State Road 501 (West Jemez Road) about 10:30 a.m. After that, they will go up to Camp May at about noon, to have lunch and count there until 3:30 p.m. or so.

Cary arrived in New Mexico in 1980 and began a 30-year career in environmental protection and natural resource management, yet butterflies have always been his passion. Now the Operations and Resource Manager at the Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe, Cary has become known as New Mexico’s unofficial “Butterfly Guy.”

PEEC activities are open to everyone, however members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on programs and merchandise. Annual memberships start at $20. To learn more, visit

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