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Press Release

Release Date: October 05, 2017

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • A monarch butterfly feeds on nectar from a lantana blossom at the Chickasaw Cultural Center located in Sulphur.

LAWTON, Okla. – The Chickasaw Nation has been recognized by the Oklahoma Museums Association (OMA) for conservation initiatives to preserve and protect monarch butterflies.

The award was presented to the Chickasaw Cultural Center (CCC) during OMA’s annual conference in mid-September.

First place in the OMA Conservation and Preservation category went to the CCC for work done by its horticulture and environmental experts.

For approximately three years, they have prepared specialized garden plots throughout the facility to attract monarchs and other butterfly species.

Efforts also enable bees and other pollinators to thrive as gardens offer nectar-rich flora specifically aimed at attracting them.

The Chickasaw Nation and six other Oklahoma Native American tribes are working in cooperation with Monarch Watch, a nonprofit education outreach program based at the University of Kansas. Monarch Watch focuses on monarch butterflies, habitat and fall migration.

Last year, members of the tribes gathered at the CCC to construct a “hoop” house. The structure allows monarchs and other butterflies a place of sanctuary. Milkweed and nectar plants are planted inside to help sustain them on their spring and fall migrations

Several plots have been prepared in the Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge and throughout the Chickasaw Nation. Each is filled with plants aimed at increasing the population of monarchs.

The orange, white and black creatures lay eggs on milkweed plants. When the eggs hatch, the larva eats the milkweed and enters the chrysalis stageAfter 28 to 38 days, a magnificent monarch butterfly emerges. Milkweed is key to survival. Monarchs will only lay eggs on milkweed plants. Once prevalent throughout the Plains, milkweed has become scarce due to human activity and monarch populations have plunged over the past 20 years.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center, a 184-acre world-class facility located in Sulphur, has introduced more than 600,000 guests from around the globe to Chickasaw culture, heritage and tradition since opening in 2010.

The Oklahoma Museums Association is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1972 as the primary source of information and professional development for Oklahoma’s 500 museums, historic sites, historic houses, living history museums, tribal cultural centers and other museum-related institutions.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016