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MJV Education Program Summer Preview

Apr 27, 2022


  • Education News

From our information-packed website to specialized training courses, science-based education is a fundamental pillar of our work. The MJV education program focuses on giving people the knowledge and tools they need to be monarch ambassadors in their communities, and also supports them over time so that together we can move monarch and pollinator conservation forward on a large scale. 

After a busy winter/early spring teaching the Monarch Essentials Courses online, MJV Education Coordinator Katie-Lyn Puffer is gearing up for a busy summer of in-person workshops designed for educators. 

“This summer, I’m most excited about being back together in person,” says Katie-Lyn. “Like so many other organizations, we’ve had to adapt to online learning over the past two years. While online learning is certainly worthwhile, and has brought people together from around the world, it’s just so valuable to get outside with our participants to learn and investigate together. There’s more opportunity for informal networking and forging those deeper connections.”

Before Katie-Lyn hits the road, we wanted to give you a preview of what’s going on this summer in education:

The North American Monarch Institute (NAMI) in Cleveland and Madison

Together with the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, we will hold three NAMI workshops this summer: two June workshops in Cleveland and one in July in Madison, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. 

Since 2010, NAMI has brought together K-12 teachers and non-formal science educators to study monarchs and build lasting collaborations throughout the monarchs’ range. To date, over 800 educators have completed the three-day training and brought what they learned into their classrooms to guide the next generation of pollinator conservationists.

The backbone of the workshop is the MJV’s Monarchs and More Curriculum, which contains classroom projects and outdoor activities for grades K-2nd, 3rd-5th, and middle schoolers that meet Next Generation Science Standards. NAMI workshops use curriculum projects and lessons not only as a way to teach the content, but also to model the lessons for different grade levels.

Throughout the workshop, in addition to the curriculum, participants learn all about monarch biology and ecology, current research, and conservation efforts. Participants also are eligible to apply for funding to create a schoolyard garden or improve an existing one. Workshop alumni also create opportunities to collaborate on projects and stay in touch long after the workshop ends. 

“We’ve seen some really neat collaborations among participants from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada,” says Katie-Lyn. “Some have connected with each others’ classrooms, conducted pen pal projects, and formed professional networks to continue learning about monarchs and other organisms in the context of classroom learning.”

Learn more about NAMI here.

Advanced Schoolyard Ecology Explorations (ASEE) in Madison

Opportunities for NAMI alumni continue with ASEE, also offered in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service International Programs and University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. Directly after the July NAMI workshop in Madison, the fun continues with this three-day workshop designed to fill up the educator toolbox with even more activities and projects focused on independent investigations and community science programs that can be optimized for student learning. 

“The focus of ASEE is schoolyard ecology and community science, so it’s not necessarily monarch focused,” Katie-Lyn shares. “We look at how teachers and students can fully explore schoolyard gardens by utilizing both independent investigations and community science. Some of the activities are connected to eBird, MLMP, iNaturalist, Odonata Central, and Leaf Pack Network.” 

Learn more about ASEE here.

While NAMI and ASEE are offered by invitation only, the Monarchs and More Curriculum is available for purchase in the MJV Store, with different versions for K-2, grades 3-5, and middle school. 

If your school or school district is interested in professional development, we offer trainings and presentations as our schedule allows. Please contact for more information.

University of Minnesota Extension: Pollinators in the Science Classroom 

This two-week professional development course for Minnesota educators supports teachers and students to use pollinator observations to gain skills in observation, data collection, and data analysis in the science classroom. In late June and early July, the MJV will join bee experts on UMN’s St. Paul campus to co-teach units on pollinator biology, the scientific method and community science, conservation, and implementing the Driven to Discover: Pollinators and the Great Sunflower Project Citizen Science Curriculum Guide and UMN’s Pollinator Education Toolkits. Learn more about this summer’s Pollinators in the Science Classroom here.

Free Educational Resources on the MJV Website

While our 2022 summer education programs are designed for teachers and educators, the MJV website offers a plethora of free educational resources that anyone can access to learn more about monarch biology and ecology, community science, habitat, research, and more! This is just a snippet of what’s available; we encourage you to spend some time cruising around our site for more monarch and pollinator learning resources.

Photo credits: Katie-Lyn Puffer & Wendy Caldwell