Buckeye Beat

Back in September, many of you were just starting up a new school year -- and at the Toledo Zoo, biologists were studying too. They wanted to learn more about butterfly migration. To do this, they placed a sticker on over 600 monarch butterflies before their journey south. Each sticker has a series of numbers and letters that allows the butterfly to be tracked.

Now months later, nine monarch butterflies released by the Toledo Zoo have been found in central Mexico. The zoo says the discovery supports its belief that its captive-breeding program works -- at least in terms of helping to boost population. Experts said last month the butterflies have made a big comeback in their Mexico wintering grounds after suffering serious declines.
The number of monarchs making the 3,400 mile migration from the United States and Canada steadily declined in recent years before recovering in 2014.

For the Cleveland Metroparks Hinckley Reservation, the arrival of spring is marked in a unique way and it involves some rather large birds. Early risers make their way to Hinckley every year on March 15th, hoping to spot the return of the buzzards. It's a tradition that's been growing since 1957. A buzzard is a large bird with a bald head and red beak -- they're also referred to as turkey vultures.

There's even an official 'buzzard spotter' -- it's all in good fun and a sure sign that spring is here to stay.

And finally, there's a new director at the NASA Glenn Research Center. Former astronaut Janet Kavandi is the center's first female director and its first director to have flown in space! She's actually a veteran of three spaceflights, totaling more than 33 days -- so she has plenty of experience.

NASA administrator Charles Bolden says Kavandi's leadership will be critical as Glenn helps prepare humans for a trip to mars.

Instructional Links

Website Article: NASA, Biography - Janet L. Kavandi (Dr.)


Website Article: Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, NASA’s Early Stand on Women Astronauts


Website Article: Hinckley Township, Buzzard Day History


Website Article: Easy Science for Kids, Buzzards – The Fancy Fliers


Website Article: Toledo Zoo, Monarch Butterfly Release Program


Website Article: Learning.org, Monarch Butterfly, Journey North


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