The 2016 Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan identifies priority actions for monarch conservation as determined by the MJV partnership. Each year, the partnership updates this plan and distributes it for broad use by the monarch conservation community. In addition, the MJV allocates program funds each year to support monarch conservation projects carried out by our partners that align with these priorities. In the upcoming year, the MJV will support the following projects:
Cibolo Nature Center: Texas Monarch Conservation Education and Outreach
The Cibolo Nature Center has provided citizen science training and programming since 1998, facilitating increased participation in monarch conservation and monitoring throughout the state of Texas. MJV will provide support to continue citizen science and conservation workshops and outreach in Texas in the upcoming year.
Cincinnati Nature Center: Milkweed to Monarchs Discovery Trail Garden
In 2014, the Center for Conservation and Stewardship at Cincinnati Nature Center launched its signature conservation initiative, “Milkweed to Monarchs”. MJV will support the establishment of a 10,000 sq. ft. butterfly garden at the Nature Center that will be used to demonstrate conservation and citizen science opportunities and will be a useful tool in training and educational events.
Desert Botanical Garden: Great Milkweed Grow Out Seed Amplification
To address the critical shortage of milkweed and host plants in the Southwest, the Desert Botanical Garden initiated the Great Milkweed Grow Out, a mass propagation effort and public campaign to build seed supplies and engage the community in monarch conservation. MJV support will amplify seed production and enrich the project through a field experiment that will help determine host plant suitability, phenology, and pollinator abundance and diversity.
Monarch Health & the Xerces Society: Engaging commercial nurseries to meet consumer demand for native, insecticide-free milkweed and nectar plants for monarch habitat
Based on the success of conservation programs in communicating the need to place milkweed and nectar plants for monarchs, consumer demand for native, insecticide-free plants is increasing. This MJV supported project will enhance communication between conservationists and the commercial native plant industry by seeking information from nurseries (project focus area is the southeastern US) and providing information to further engage them in monarch conservation efforts.
Monarch Lab, Prairie Restorations Inc., the Tallgrass Prairie Center and the Xerces Society: Milkweed, Nectar Plants and Monarchs in Prairie Restorations
With support from the MJV, this project will involve both a retrospective analysis of past prairie restoration projects and a robust experimental design that will (eventually) allow us to tease out important features of restorations that promote excellent monarch habitat. The retrospective analysis will take place on existing prairie reconstructions for which the history is known, which will allow the team to assess seed mix and management strategies used in addition to monarch use of those sites. Protocols for this work will be aligned with those under development by the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership.
Pollinator Partnership: Monarch Wings Across Ohio- Monarch Habitat Research
Monarch Wings Across Ohio aims to engage multiple stakeholders in monarch conservation. With 16 habitats installed on various different habitat types (urban lands, public gardens and spaces, Rights-of-Way, corporate lands and farms), the MJV will support a research technician to monitor and assess these sites for monarch use and habitat establishment success and share key findings to improve regional conservation efforts.
Sand County Foundation: Engaging Youth in Agricultural Communities as Leaders for Monarch Recovery
With support from MJV, this project will build capacity for high school students in agricultural education programs to develop wildlife habitat in ways that are practically and economically acceptable to farmers and utility companies. Sand County Foundation will support high school students and educators participating in FFA to enhance and monitor habitat on farms and utility facilities in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
Southwest Monarch Study: Monarch Education Tour through the Southwest
There are large data gaps in the knowledge of monarch absence/presence in portions of the western United States especially Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the deserts of California. The Colorado River Basin is also a particularly interesting area for further monarch research, as it appears to both host small overwintering colonies and function as a primary monarch flyway in the Southwest. The MJV will support education tours in these important areas in order to recruit citizen scientists and educate the local communities about monarch conservation.
Wild Ones: Wild for Monarchs Citizen Science Program Expansion and Backyard Pollinator Garden Kit
MJV will support the expansion of the Wild for Monarchs citizen science program, with the addition of locally tailored native backyard pollinator garden kits suited for chapters and members across the country. Wild Ones will also continue their monarch conservation and citizen science outreach through handouts, presentations and outreach to local chapters.
Xerces Society: Monarch and Milkweed Workshops for Land Managers and Citizen Scientists in High-Priority Areas of the Interior West
MJV will support two workshops in the Interior West to address major knowledge gaps regarding the distribution, migratory patterns, and overwintering locations of monarchs in the West in addition to conservation and management strategies for the region. The project will engage more citizen scientists and land managers in MJV partner citizen science programs, and provide technical training to public land managers to address these gaps.
We would also like to acknowledge the breadth of additional monarch conservation projects that our partners and others are undertaking this year and in years to come. It is encouraging to hear about these projects happening across the monarch's range!
Read more about projects the MJV has supported in the past here.
The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo by Southwest Monarch Study.