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Photo: Wendy Caldwell
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Updated 08/07/2016
Presented by University of Minnesota
Participation fee $0
Expenses $0
Spend the time outdoors
Location North America
Appropriate for kids yes
Teaching materials yes

Required Gear:

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

Help scientists understand why monarch populations vary.
Monitor patch of milkweed or upload anecdotal observations.

Project locations:

  • North America

The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project enlists citizen scientists to collect long-term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed habitat.

Developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota, the project aims to better understand how and why monarch populations vary in time and space, with a focus on monarch distribution and abundance during the breeding season in North America.

As a volunteer, you can participate in two ways: You can commit to regularly monitoring a specific patch of milkweed or you can submit anecdotal observations. If you commit to regular monitoring, you'll conduct weekly monarch and milkweed surveys, measuring per plant densities of monarch eggs and larvae. You'll also be able to participate in more detailed optional activities, such as measuring parasitism rates and milkweed quality. Your contributions will aid in conserving monarchs and their threatened migratory phenomenon, and will advance our understanding of butterfly ecology in general.

In addition to contributing to an understanding of monarch biology, you'll gain hands-on experience in scientific research. Through this experience, we hope that your appreciation and understanding of monarchs, monarch habitat, and the scientific process are enhanced.

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