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Cobb Island will be aflutter with monarch mania Saturday when the community celebrates the monarch butterfly migration while honoring the memory of one of its deceased residents.

Craft stations, piñata breaking, milkweed relay races, a butterfly costume contest and storytelling will be a part of the daylong event that will be dedicated to Dorothy Jenkins, who summered on the island as a child in the house built by her father, John Kitchen, and moved to the island following the death of her husband, Kester. The 90-year-old, three-bedroom cottage on Neale Sound is still used by the family.

“She just embraced it,” said Jenkins’ daughter, Nancy Berulis, who will travel from Louisiana to attend the event, along with her siblings, Janet of New York and Bruce of Chesapeake Beach (their brother, Buddy, will not be able to make it in from Oklahoma). “She was like a local historian.”

A onetime Miss Cobb Island, Jenkins kept loads of newspaper clippings and other items to document the community’s history, said her friend and neighbor, Joyce Adams.

When the Adams family moved to Cobb Island 20 years ago, they quickly met Jenkins.

“She was walking down the street with house plants she had rooted and gave them to me,” Adams remembered.

Jenkins’ gardens were where she usually could be found, Berulis said.

“She was an avid gardener,” said Berulis, who will journey to the family home in February to prune the rosebushes.

It was hard to believe that she got any gardening done, her daughter said. Her mother was often busy talking, making new friends.

“She never met a stranger,” Berulis said.

And she was always available to lend a hand or an ear.

A recovering alcoholic and Alcoholics Anonymous advocate, Jenkins served for 10 years on the Charles County Substance Abuse Advisory Commission.

Yellow was her signature color — every car she owned was the sunshine shade — and she adopted the butterfly as her personal symbol.

Tagging on the fly

The Monarch Mania event will not only honor Jenkins but prepare for the butterfly’s migration through Monarch Watch, a citizen science project out of the University of Kansas.

Mike Callahan, president of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society, along with Linda Riggs, owner of Cobb Island Gallery and Coffee Shoppe, have been catching and tagging butterflies.

“You use an insect net to catch them,” Callahan explained. “It is easier to catch them when they are nectaring on a flower then when they are just flying around. After removing them from the net you put the tiny but very strong sticker on the bottom of the center of their right wing.”

Callahan uses a toothpick to place the tag so it sticks to the Monarch and not the tagger.

The project is for research about the declining Monarch population, Callahan said.

Monarchs are only found in North America. They migrate along the Pacific coast near Santa Cruz and San Diego and in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.

Each year, four generations of monarchs are born and it’s the last generation that makes the journey south from mid-August to early November.

“If they make a successful journey and hibernate, they will wake up in late February and head north,” Callahan said. “They will only make as far as the Southern states where they will mate and, lay eggs and die. That is the first generation. They will mate and head north and also die. Their offspring are now the second generation. [The monarchs] repeat the process and while moving north and have offspring that may make it as far as southern Canada. This, the third generation are the ones whose offspring are now the fourth generation and will be the generation to migrate to Mexico.”

staylor@somdnews.com