Every year, thousands of volunteers in Canada, Mexico and the United States join efforts to support monarch butterfly conservation by collecting observations of monarch butterflies and milkweeds plants! You can contribute to this incredible trinational initiative by sharing your sightings from July 29 to Aug. 7, 2022. With the International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently listing the monarch on its Red List of endangered species, your efforts are vital now more than ever.
During this 10-day period, the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz (the Blitz) invites people across North America to look for milkweed plants and examine them for monarch eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises, and butterflies. Blitz data are uploaded and shared with researchers via the Trinational Monarch Knowledge Network, a central repository that, in combining data from various sources, assists researchers in performing large-scale temporal and spatial analyses. The data collected by volunteers help researchers answer key questions about monarch butterfly and milkweed distribution, timing of reproduction, and the use of natural resources. In turn, this information helps conservationists identify and prioritize actions to conserve the species.
In a rapidly changing world, long-term data are especially important in helping us understand trends in populations and habitat. Our current understanding of the monarch population size is largely driven by overwintering count data, which has shown long-term declines in both the eastern and western migratory populations. Due to the monarchs’ large spatial and temporal range during the summer months, volunteer observations are critical to our understanding of monarch butterflies at this time of year. Blitz data provide the only coordinated trinational snapshot of summer monarch breeding activity, which is important for understanding how successful the breeding population is from year to year.
To take part in the Blitz, share your observations through one of the participating community science programs below:
- Journey North (journeynorth.org)
- Mission Monarch (mission-monarch.org)
- Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (mlmp.org)
- Naturalista (naturalista.mx)
- Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper (monarchmilkweedmapper.org)
Follow the Blitz and share your participation in this international conservation effort on social media by using the hashtag #MonarchBlitz!
The Blitz is organized by the Trinational Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, a collaboration of organizations, including the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, Insectarium/Montréal Space for Life, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), the Monarch Joint Venture, Journey North, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (Conanp).
Please visit http://www.cec.org/international-monarch-monitoring-blitz/ for more information about the Blitz.