Hocking Hills visitors wowed by stunning monarch butterfly releases

Sept. 6, 2019

LOGAN, OH – Visitors to southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills region this month have a one-of-a-kind opportunity for hands-on immersion into the lifecycle of iconic monarch butterflies. A team of volunteer naturalists is tagging this year’s bumper crop of the insect beauties – almost daily — at the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center, encouraging visitors to take part and experience firsthand the uniqueness of monarch migration. Tagging and releasing the newly emerged monarchs takes place nearly every day (except in the rain), depending on their emergence.

Naturalists, with the help of Hocking Hills visitors, place tiny, numbered sticky dots on Monarch wings before they’re released. They can then be tracked and logged on the Monarchwatch.org website when spotted in other locations. The practice helps researchers learn more about monarch migration. The Welcome Center team ordered 500 tags, but very few remain as they used far more tags than anticipated.

“Monarch migration is truly one of the world’s greatest natural wonders,” said Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Andrea Jones, who spearheaded the program. “Huge numbers of monarchs have been sighted in the Hocking Hills this year, spending the summer and laying their eggs in Ohio before their offspring pupate, emerge and instinctually take off to fly some 2,300 miles south to Mexico for winter.”

Jones added that beginning in early summer, monarchs stop in Logan, OH to refuel and lay eggs for the next generation, with nearly 1000 caterpillars pupating in the area from late summer to fall. During the chrysalis stage, Jones and her team move the jade green chrysalides into the Welcome Center’s educational monarch display for up to two weeks before the larvae naturally emerge as adult butterflies. They’re then tagged and released. The program will continue in 2019, with plans in place to expand the garden and tagging operations.

Unfortunately, this natural marvel is threatened by habitat loss, with a more than 90 percent decline in monarch populations over the last 20 years serving as an ecological red flag. Thus, the volunteer naturalists created the Monarch Waystation at the Welcome Center by planting a butterfly garden filled with nectar-producing flowering plans that attract the blazing gold, yellow, orange, black and white insects. In addition, naturalists planted milkweed, which inspires females to lay eggs by providing a rich source of food for monarch larvae. Frequent rain this season fed a prolific milkweed crop, resulting in an abundance of eggs. Jones encourages travelers who visit to create butterfly habitat by planting milkweed and native flowers in their own yards and natural areas at home.

Monarch Waystation Programs, like the one in the Hocking Hills, work together across North America to study the decline of the monarch population by tracking migration and encouraging conservation. Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to Mexico, Texas and California where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight north in spring.

Located 40 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio’s Hocking Hills region is marked by soaring cliffs, craggy caves, rushing waterfalls and 10,000 acres of unbroken forest woven with hundreds of miles of hiking trails. With an absence of city lights and resulting extraordinary dark skies, the area is also home to the John Glenn Astronomy Park. These and a host of other once-in-a-lifetime experiences emphasize nature, stewardship and unplugged quality time with friends, family and loved ones. Unique gift and antique shops, artists’ studios, Appalachian music and moonshine, hands-on activities, kayaking, canopy tours, eco tours and rappelling add to the allure of the Hocking Hills as the perfect place to escape and make meaningful memories. Complete traveler information is available www.ExploreHockingHills.com or 1-800-Hocking (800-462-5464).


Comp or press rate trips, video and images available.

MEDIA, Contact Amy Weirick, amy@WeirickCommunications.com, M: (614) 296-8513 or O: (614) 848-8380.

Coffee Trail brewing in Columbus

Columbus, Ohio – Columbus Coffee Trail introduces visitors and locals alike to the city’s hot coffee scene, which features more than two dozen local craft coffee roasters (most single-origin) and specialty coffee shops.  All of them share a passion for quality, but each has its own intriguing personal story about what launched their love affair with the bean. Coffee Columbus 172

A special Columbus Coffee Trail website, CbusCoffee.com, features rich content on the local coffee scene.  Visitors can get a Coffee Passport at any of the nearly two dozen stops, or at one of two Experience Columbus Visitors Centers (in the Arena District or at Easton Town Center).  After visiting just four of the 22 featured stops, coffee lovers receive a special Columbus Coffee T-shirt from Experience Columbus.

In addition to the city’s many artisan coffee shops and roasters, an annual Coffee Roaster’s Festival (held every March at Columbus’ North Market) and Columbus Food Adventures’ Coffee Tour highlight the city’s exploding micro-roaster culture.

Fueled by a number of enterprising entrepreneurs, just a few of the stops on the Columbus Coffee Trail include:

 Fox in the Snow rocks an excellent coffee set up, offering pour-over and the usual espresso drinks – all beautifully crafted from coffee roasted outside of Ohio in Maine by Tandem Coffee Roasters. Regulars come for the food and the coffee. House-made hand pies are stunning. And the egg sandwiches with caramelized bacon, swiss, arugula and Dijon whipped cream are revered as among the best in the country. From a humble biscuit to the wildly popular custard donut or elegant lemon galette, the quality of Fox in the Snow’s vast selection of house-made pastries makes picking one a very difficult proposition.

Café Brioso roasts a wide variety of coffees crafted by owner-roastmaster Jeff Davis. Brioso customers enjoy the process as much as the product, as expert baristas concoct the perfect cup.  The ever-changing, made-from-scratch soup and sandwich menu is designed to perfectly complement the brew.  www.cafebrioso.com.

Impero Coffee Roasters treats the act of coffee roasting as an art form.  This family-run shop is a hit in Columbus’ trendy Short North arts and entertainment district.  Entertaining baristas, quality coffee, perfect espresso and a locally sourced food menu draw crowds, even late into the evening.  www.imperocoffee.com.

Mission Coffee Co. is the new kid on the block, helping coffee aficionados interact with their java. Mission taps every imaginable brewing technique, from the most traditional to the most modern, including: pourover, Chemex, Clever, siphon, drip, woodneck, French press and espresso. www.missioncoffeecup.com.

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, the senior member of Columbus’ coffee club and big daddy to Cup o’ Joe and MoJoe Lounge coffee shops, opened in 1988.  This pioneering coffee roaster imports the highest quality Arabica beans from 20 countries, then hand fires them in a gas-powered roaster.  www.staufs.com.

Cup o’ Joe and has been pouring great brew for two decades, consistently being voted by locals as the city’s best coffee house.   Getting its fresh-roasted beans from big brother, Stauf’s, Cup o’ Joe is obsessed with the perfect cup of coffee, carefully ensuring it sells no bean past its prime.     http://www.cupojoe.com/

One Line Coffee’s superb roasts are a natural consequence of its father-son owner team’s dedication to  tracing each cup of coffee back to the farm where its beans were cultivated.  Mark and Dave Forman have been sourcing and roasting fine coffee for nearly a decade.  Their Columbus coffee house opened in 2012 and features a one-of-a-kind cupping lab where coffees are profiled, roasts perfected and each brew’s subtle notes experienced and charted. www.onelinecoffee.com

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse, opening this fall, pours by the motto, “Good coffee, for good,” as it plans to  use profits from its coffee shop, cafe and concert venue to help provide clean water and fight hunger and human trafficking.  http://www.rooseveltcoffee.org/

Boston Stoker serves some of the world’s finest coffee and tea, including single-source coffee beans from African, American and Asian-Pacific roasters. A robust retail store and knowledgeable staff offer great education and coffee and tea accoutrements.  http://bostonstoker.com/.

Columbus is a city unlike any other. Vibrant and alive, Ohio’s capital is known for its open attitude, smart style and entrepreneurial spirit.  Columbus’ uncommon blend of neighborhoods, arts and culinary experiences, events, attractions and accommodations are made unforgettable by its diversity of outgoing locals who warmly welcome visitors.  Free travel guides, maps, online booking and detailed information are available at www.ExperienceColumbus.com or 866.397.2657 (866.EXP.COLS). Visitor information is also available on Facebook: facebook.com/ExperienceColumbus and facebook.com/ColumbusFoodScene, Twitter: @ExpCols and Pinterest.