It has been an exciting year for monarch butterfly conservation. The Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) is building on seven years of successful partnerships for monarch conservation in this time of heightened national attention. It is our pleasure to express our gratitude for your support and interest in monarch butterflies. We encourage you to continue to join us in this growing movement to protect monarchs and other wildlife species that share their habitats by contributing to the Monarch Joint Venture. Your donation today, November 12, will count towards Give to the Max Day!
People across the country and continent recognize that monarchs are in jeopardy. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a petition to list the monarchs as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and the White House has established the first ever national strategy for pollinator health, with restoring the monarch population as one of its three main goals.
The MJV is a leader in monarch conservation. We now have 35 partner organizations, with 13 joining so far in 2015. This strong coalition of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and educational institutions allows us to work on all scales to promote monarch conservation.
Unfortunately, a dramatic decline in monarch numbers is fueling this action. The past three years have seen record low numbers in the overwintering population in Mexico, with a 90% decline in numbers from a peak almost 20 years ago. It’s clear we have a lot of work to do. It will take long term and widespread efforts to stabilize monarch butterfly and other pollinator populations. We need your help to keep this positive momentum advancing.
MJV provides support for priority collaborative actions to further monarch conservation, including:
• Habitat Creation and Enhancement: Creating habitat that includes milkweed and nectar plants is a vital part of our work to restore the monarch population—on farms, in communities, in gardens, along rights-of-way, and other areas. To help support the growing demand for native milkweeds, we’ve also supported milkweed seed increase plots in key geographic areas and milkweed plug (plant) production. MJV partners are also developing best management practices for milkweed and nectar plant habitat to ensure their long term presence.
• Education and Outreach: Education motivates people to create habitat for monarchs and to get involved in scientific monitoring efforts. These actions lead to increased awareness as individuals and groups share their success stories with friends, neighbors, and media. MJV sponsors “train-the-trainer” workshops in key geographic areas to promote habitat creation and enhancement, citizen science monitoring, and getting youth involved in conservation. Additionally, partners engage a broad volunteer base, and these volunteers share their passion for monarchs widely.
• Cutting-edge research: As a science-based partnership, the MJV taps into the expertise that participating organizations offer. We support research that will inform monarch conservation efforts, including studies of effective milkweed seed production and the potential impacts of continuous milkweed availability in the southern U.S. We’re also helping to ensure that the research is spread widely; the MJV supported an international monarch meeting in 2012, and many of the presentations from that meeting were published this year in the book Monarchs in a Changing World: Biology and Conservation of an Iconic Butterfly.
Your contribution will further these and other efforts to protect monarchs, and preserve this amazing butterfly for generations to come. The MJV is a national partnership organization, and is housed physically and fiscally at the University of Minnesota.
Please consider a donation through the U of MN Foundation today by visiting our Give to the Max site. To donate at a later date, visit www.monarchjointventure.org. Every gift will help more monarchs take flight!