Field Activities

Field Activities

The Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program (IMMP) is designed to monitor various indicators of monarch population health and habitat quality and availability. Its results will inform monarch population habitat targets, help scientists understand the threats monarchs face, and inform habitat enhancement strategies. The material in this protocol is rigorous, and attending an IMMP training session prior to implementing this protocol is recommended.  

This protocol was is divided into several activities, described below. Participants can choose which activities to do. While doing all activities is encouraged, it is not required! These activities are meant to be conducted at the same site on a routine basis, once every three weeks.

Please contact if you are interested in implementing these protocols or if you have any questions. 

Site Selection:

Participants must choose a site to monitor prior to implementing these protocols. If interested, please contact the MJV to request a high-priority site that will provide weighted data, but you can also choose a site you know.

Activity 1: Counting Adult Monarchs

Activity 1 is designed to document adult monarch presence and behavior.  Participants conduct a Modified Pollard Walk to count the number of adult monarchs present in their field site. While doing this, volunteers will also record behavior of monarchs observed.

Activity 2: Counting Milkweed, Nectar Plants and Monarchs

Activity 2 is designed to assess the monarch habitat being monitored. Participants count the number of milkweed plants, as well as the number and life-stage of the immature monarchs the plants host. Participants then assess the relative abundance of blooming plants that provide nectar for adult monarchs. If a volunteer is skilled at identifying local native plants, they can provide this information as well.

Activity 3: Tracking Parasitism and Monarch Survival

 Activity 3 is designed to assess local sources and rates of monarch parasitism through collection of monarch larvae that are reared and their fate reported. Important note: Public lands often require a scientific collector’s permit to collect live organisms, so this activity can not be conducted until necessary permits are secured.

To download the IMS protocol, click the button below. You will be directed to a brief survey before being provided a link to the document. 

Submitting Data:

Participants submit their data electronically to the MJV. Volunteers are taught how to do this and provided an online account during the training workshop. Those who wish to submit data but did not attend a workshop should contact us at so we may provide you with access to our data submission program.  

Get Full IMMP Activity Protocols

We have recently modified the program protocols, primarily for clarification and to reduce the duration of each field monitoring session. The new draft will be posted soon. Please contact if you'd like to receive a copy now.