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A chance to help preserve Monarch Butterflies

A chance to help preserve Monarch Butterflies

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! People can contribute to this  trinational initiative by sharing any sightings from 29 July to 7 August 2022. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently listed  the monarch on its Red List of endangered species.

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 to understand trends in populations and habitat. The 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 geographic range during the summer months, volunteer observations are critical to the 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 observations through the participating community science program below.

In Canada: Mission Monarch (mission-monarch.org)

Participants are asked to Follow the Blitz and share their participation in this international conservation effort on social media by using the hashtag #MonarchBlitz!

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