In my last blog post I invited you to throw a #partyformonarchs and share your gardens with us. The recent warmer weather has been teasing us, and while we haven’t quite entered the heart of the planting season, it is almost here.
In fact, the Butterfly Beltway Project will be planting our first garden of the season on May 9 at Midtown Athletic Club. This upcoming season looks to be an exciting year as we will be setting up gardens at private residences (maybe yours too?) and collaborating with schools, businesses and other organizations.
But there is more that you can do for monarchs. Scientists and lepidopterists (butterfly people) are looking for your help. By participating in one of two butterfly monitoring programs you can provide researchers with valuable information about butterfly populations.
- Through Journey North you can report your monarch butterfly sightings. They even have a handy app to help you report butterflies as you are out walking your favorite trails or in the middle of your #partyformonarchs garden. This will help scientists understand when monarch butterflies return to the area, the locations they use and how their population is doing.
- If you have a garden or a nearby field with milkweed in it, you can participate in the Citizen Science project Monarch Larval Monitoring Project. By doing weekly searches for monarch caterpillars through butterfly habitat like your garden, you can support MLMP’s goal of better understanding monarchs. They are looking to find out how and why monarch populations vary in time and space during their breeding season in North America. This will aid in conserving monarchs and their threatened migratory phenomenon and advance our understanding of butterfly ecology in general.
If you participate in either of these programs, we want to know! Send me an email at [email protected] to tell me about your conservation efforts, to ask any questions or to get help setting up your #partyformonarchs.
And keep an eye out for more Citizen Science programs that the Zoo will need your help with in the near future. With your participation, we can make a difference!
– Tim Fowler, Outreach Coordinator