Partnering to conserve the monarch butterfly migration

Bringing Back the Monarch to Malibu

In the spring of 2014, a group of Malibu residents became consciously aware of the plight of the monarch butterfly. A group of locals from varying disciplines came together in an attempt to restore the overwintering monarchs in Malibu; they created the Malibu Monarch Project (MMP). Since its inception, MMP has brought the western monarch’s decline of 74% to the public’s attention. Through written materials and various talks to community organizations, they have spread the word on monarch conservation across their community. MMP has taught at schools, donated milkweed and other nectar plants, and also helped plant butterfly gardens. 

Malibu Monarch Project has recently become a Monarch Joint Venture partner to further their conservation work. With the support of a coordinated national partnership, MMP will expand their work to cooperate with other groups using similar data collection methods, enhance exchange of information and provide a forum for collaboration in development of future projects. Since the group’s beginning, MMP has worked on research, website development, event planning and outreach, and they have a very strong local knowledge of development and city government.

“Strengthening local partnerships and engaging stakeholders throughout the community are important ways for the Malibu Monarch Project to address issues of growing concern to monarchs. We are excited to further engage MMP in their efforts to coordinate habitat enhancement and protection in their community and beyond,” says Wendy Caldwell, MJV Coordinator. 

Some of MMP’s conservation efforts include:

  • Working with the City of Malibu’s Parks and Recreation Department to create Monarch gardens
  • Donation of 100 native milkweed plants to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, planted near their visitor center at the King Gillette Ranch and at a restoration site.
  • For 3 years, MMP has conducted the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, and this year participated in the first year of the New Year Western Monarch Count at known roosting sites in Malibu. They have included counts on privately owned sycamore and eucalyptus roosting sites.
  • Hosting ongoing special events programs to bring awareness to the community at large about monarchs and their decline.
  • Distributing educational material and, for a donation, providing pesticide free milkweed and nectar plants to encourage home growers to start their own monarch butterfly Waystations. Donations go towards updating and expanding this educational outreach program.

“We are honored to be an MJV partner.  Through this partnership, in the extraordinary landscape of the Santa Monica Mountains, we will be able to strengthen our efforts to educate our community, support habitat restoration and facilitate a collaboration between the many individuals and organizations concerned about monarch health.  These include urban gardeners, farmers, Native American organizations, parkland administrators, city and state governments and environmental organizations.   Collectively we will work to restore monarch habitat in both overwintering sites and throughout the monarch flyway – to the additional benefit of all pollinators and the wild.“ - Georgia Goldfarb, Malibu Monarch Project

Local scale conservation efforts can make a huge difference in communities across the country for monarchs and their habitat. The MJV is pleased to bring the Malibu Monarch Project into our partnership and support the growth of their community-based work! To find out the many different ways you and your community can get involved with monarch conservation visit our Get Involved page.

To find out more about the Malibu Monarch Project visit MMP’s website.

The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo by Cyndie Hornblower. 

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