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YOU Are the Butterfly Scientist!

YOU Are the Butterfly Scientist!

As a citizen scientist, locate and take pictures of butterflies. By sharing your butterfly images with Discovery Cube Connect and eButterfly, you are helping to protect wildlife around your home through butterfly conservation.

Flappers, Flutterers and Flyers

Part of our Outdoor Science Adventures
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What I'll Learn

Anyone can help conserve wildlife, like a butterfly! All you need is a camera, access to the internet, and observation skills.


Download these helpful tools now so you can check them off your supply list below:
Butterfly Tracking Field Notes
Butterflies of Southern California Identification Guide

What to Do

What I Need

What to Do: Step-by-Step Instructions


Prepare to become a citizen scientist by going outside to your backyard, local green space, or a park.

Fun Fact:

Citizen science is when regular people of all ages help scientists do research. This project will ask you to count and identify different kinds of butterflies. This helps scientists track the numbers and kinds of butterflies, and where they travel (or migrate to) each year.

An important part of science is taking good notes: fill out your name, the date, and your location on your field notes.

Fun Fact:

Latitude and longitude are used to describe any location on Earth.  Latitude is a north-south measurement; longitude is an east-west measurement.

Search the area for butterflies.

Fun Fact:

Butterflies are an important part of our ecosystem, but they are very sensitive to changes in temperature. As local climates change, the butterflies that live there may also change. In Southern California, we generally find many different kinds (or species) of butterfly, including the Monarch and the Cabbage White.

When you find a butterfly, take a picture of it before it flies away!

Tips & Tricks:

Try waiting for a butterfly to land instead of trying to take a picture in flight. Butterflies often slowly open and close their wings when they are feeding on nectar, giving you lots of chances to see the front and back of their wings.

Check the time – and write it down. This is important information for being able to track when and where butterflies can be found.

Fun Fact:

Over the past few years, scientists have noticed fewer Monarch butterflies, which makes them worry the Monarch might soon become endangered. Helping to save animals or the environment is called conservation. You are helping to save the butterflies by doing this citizen science project!

Once you have taken all the pictures of butterflies you want to take, it’s time to compare your pictures to images of known butterfly species so you can identify what you saw. Compare your butterfly image to the pictures on our Butterflies of Southern California Identification Guide or for more butterflies, visit eButterfly. What type of butterfly did you find?

Thank you, scientist! Now it’s time to share your data. And remember, you can always do more citizen science work: every time you see a butterfly, stop to take a picture and share it with Discovery Cube Connect!

Tips & Tricks:

To share more butterflies, upload them directly to, choosing “Discovery Cube Science Center” as the project.