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2024 Monarchs and More Network Meeting

Mar 20, 2024


  • MJV Partnership News

On the outskirts of Austin, Texas, nestled amidst the vibrant blooms of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a diverse coalition of experts, advocates, and stakeholders convened for the annual Monarchs and More Network Meeting from March 5th to 7th. This premier gathering, hosted by The Monarch Joint Venture, Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group, and Farmers for Monarchs, stood as a testament to collective dedication towards the conservation of monarch butterflies and other vital pollinators.

With more than 230 participants representing 132 organizations from 35 states, Washington D.C., and Canada, the event boasted a rich tapestry of voices and experiences, all working toward the common goal of monarch and pollinator conservation. From engaging field trips to insightful breakout sessions and thought-provoking panels, the agenda was meticulously crafted to foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and actionable ideas.

Attendees had the opportunity to explore the beauty of the Trinity Episcopal School of Austin, Waterloo Greenway, and Pease Park through an off-site tour. They immersed themselves in urban green spaces teeming with biodiversity and heard from the next generation of conservationists. On-site, they delved into the enchanting landscapes of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, gaining firsthand insights into the institution’s conservation practices.

The agenda catered to diverse interests and expertise, with regional sessions for networking and collaboration, state-of-the-science updates, community-driven conservation, and technology innovations. Notable sessions also included a new Bumble Bee Agreement, geospatial habitat database for energy and transportation, and pollinator plantings on agricultural working lands.

A series of illuminating panels shed light on critical aspects of pollinator conservation. From federal interagency collaboration to measuring success metrics and cross-sector partnerships, each session provided valuable perspectives and actionable insights. Senator Merkley's virtual remarks underscored the urgency of the conservation cause, emphasizing the need for legislative support and collective action.

Reflecting on the significance of this collaborative endeavor, Wendy Caldwell, Executive Director of the Monarch Joint Venture, remarked, “This collaborative, cross-sector network meeting has become an integral part of our work and our success in growing monarch and pollinator conservation. It is inspiring and energizing to engage with and learn from this broad coalition.”

Iris Caldwell, Program Manager – Sustainable Landscapes at the UIC Energy Resources Center, echoed this sentiment, expressing optimism for future endeavors: “We loved joining forces with Monarch Joint Venture again and also Farmers for Monarchs this year to convene our three networks and engage in lively discussions about how we can advance cross-sector collaboration to benefit pollinators. The energy I felt and ideas I heard during the meeting gives me hope for what we can accomplish together.”

Matthew Mulica, Senior Project Director at Keystone Policy Center and Farmers for Monarchs Collaborative Facilitator, shared his perspective on the event: “It was inspiring seeing the networks of these 3 organizations coming together to share perspectives, knowledge, data, and science. The breadth and scope of the programs and projects show how far monarch conservation efforts have come and where the various groups are working to make positive enhancements to the landscape. While much work still needs to be done, I’m hopeful that through these efforts, we’ll improve monarch populations and accelerate our collective impact. Looking forward to continuing to share and learn together.”

The event also honored outstanding partners with the Monarch Joint Venture Partner Awards:

As the 2024 Monarchs and More Meeting concludes, the echoes of collaboration and determination reverberate far beyond the borders of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Armed with renewed purpose and strengthened partnerships, attendees depart with a shared commitment to safeguarding nature's delicate balance and ensuring a thriving future for monarchs and more.