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Monarch NECTAR Hub Update: Growing Opportunities for Conservation Education

Apr 03, 2024


  • Community Science
  • Education News

In today's digital age, learning knows no bounds, thanks to platforms like the Monarch NECTAR Hub, a network for education on conservation, training, and research.

Launched in August 2023, it quickly became a vital resource for monarch conservation enthusiasts worldwide. Since then, it has expanded significantly, offering various courses suitable for various levels of expertise. From basics about the monarch life cycle to advanced strategies for preserving their habitats, the Hub caters to a diverse audience passionate about safeguarding these iconic butterflies. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced enthusiast, the Monarch NECTAR Hub provides valuable tools and knowledge to contribute meaningfully to conservation efforts. 

Below are the courses currently offered through the Monarch NECTAR Hub. 

Complete Monarch Essentials: Join the Monarch Joint Venture for a 7-hour, self-paced online course to learn about monarch butterfly ecology, migration, pressures, community science projects, and the practical conservation actions you can take to help protect this iconic species.

Mini Monarch Essentials: Join the Monarch Joint Venture for a 2-hour, self-paced online course to learn about monarch butterfly biology, life cycle and identification, migration, overwintering biology, threats, and stressors, as well as the conservation actions that you can take to help protect this iconic species.

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP): Be a community scientist with the MLMP! This asynchronous training will show you how to collect data contributing to our knowledge about the monarch population. Participants will learn about monarch biology, monitoring procedures, and data entry protocols. MLMP course participants will have access to monthly live Q&A sessions with MJV staff. Live, online training will be held each year in the late winter/early spring.

North American Monarch Institute (NAMI): NAMI is an intensive professional development course for K-12 and pre-service teachers and non-formal educators. During this workshop, participants will learn about the monarch life cycle and migration, gain an introductory understanding of monarch conservation, and learn how to participate in multiple monarch community science programs. NAMI is currently only offered in Minnesota as it integrates in-person learning sessions.

Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program (IMMP): IMMP collects milkweed, nectar plant, and monarch use data from various land-use types and regions across the US. This information is vital to understanding how monarchs interact with their environment, documenting conservation efforts, and tracking the population and its habitat as they change over time. This free online course provides training on all IMMP activities as well as monarch and plant identification.

The MJV also offers online courses as gifts, which can be found in the MJV Store. The Complete Monarch Essentials and the Mini Monarch Essentials course can be purchased on their own or as a package with items such as the Monarchs & More book and Monarch Life Cycle Cards to help with monarch identification in the field.

Where are NECTAR Hub Participants?

Discover the varied locations of Hub participants, each color representing a distinct course. However, many states still lack representation. Do you know someone from one of these states? Please share this link with them:

Since we launched the Monarch NECTAR Hub, we have had over 300 people sign up to take these exciting courses. Check out what they have to say about their experiences:

"…the Mini Monarch Essentials Course is a must for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of Monarch butterflies and actively contribute to their conservation. I left the course feeling not only more informed but also inspired to take meaningful steps in preserving these incredible insects. Don't hesitate – join this course and be part of the Monarch butterfly conservation movement. You won't be disappointed!"

"The Complete Monarch Essentials course was a very holistic, informative course on monarchs. I knew almost nothing before taking the course, besides taking the mini-course and now I'll feel more comfortable when people ask me questions in my work."

Plans for New Courses

We're excited to announce our plans for the upcoming year. We're gearing up to launch a kids' course to inspire the next generation of conservationists and a backyard gardening course to help individuals create monarch-friendly habitats at home. Additionally, we'll introduce a support course for educators using our Monarchs and More curriculum, ensuring they have the tools to effectively incorporate monarch conservation into their classrooms.

Join us at the Monarch NECTAR Hub as we continue to cultivate knowledge and foster a community dedicated to protecting these iconic creatures. You can take the course yourself or encourage others in your garden group, school, or organization to sign up. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in monarch conservation.