As recently as 2014, only a handful of records existed for monarch butterflies and their milkweed host plants in Idaho, and even fewer records confirmed monarch breeding activity. In 2016, Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) undertook a statewide survey of milkweeds and monarch natal habitats to better understand their distributions, habitat associations, and conservation threats. Surveys documented breeding monarchs in all 10 of Idaho’s climate divisions, a much wider distribution than previously thought.
As part of the survey project, IDFG conducted extensive public outreach on monarchs and milkweeds through news releases, newsletters, presentations, and workshops co-hosted with Monarch Joint Venture and Xerces Society partners. This outreach was met with extraordinary, statewide public interest in monarch conservation, particularly requests from educators and citizen scientists for workshops. As demonstrated by public response to our survey and outreach, monarchs serve as powerful catalysts to engage, network, and mobilize people on their behalf. With MJV funding, IDFG will address this mounting interest by providing an array of education and outreach programs to increase public awareness of monarch conservation issues, promote monarch citizen science opportunities, and increase volunteer reporting of monarchs and milkweeds in Idaho.