Monarch Butterfly Conservation Webinar SeriesThe USFWS is partnering with the Monarch Joint Venture to develop a series of webinars on monarch biology, monitoring, and conservation. Resources located at bottom of page.
Monarch Butterfly Conservation Webinar Descriptions5th Generation Monarchs: What Do We Know and Not Know (00:54:34) October 23, 2018
Presented by: Dr. Kristen Baum, Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University.
Monarchs migrate through the southern Great Plains in the spring and fall, and also reproduce in this region in the spring and late summer/early fall. This last generation of monarchs produced in the late summer/early fall is sometimes referred to as the “fifth generation”. The importance of this generation to the overall population is not clear, and not much is known about this cohort. This webinar focuses on what is known and not known about this generation, including the timing of activity, habitat use, tachinid fly parasitism, OE infection, and tag returns from the overwintering grounds in Mexico, with an emphasis on Oklahoma and Texas.
Assessment of Exotic Milkweed (A. curassavica) and the Spread of Disease in Monarchs (00:59:59) June 16, 2016
Presented by Dr. Sonia Altizer, Professor & Associate Dean of Academic Affairs University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology; Ania Majewska, Ph.D. and Dara Satterfield, candidates University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology.
Monarch lovers know that planting milkweed in their gardens is a sure way to attract these familiar black and orange butterflies to their yards. Over 100 species of milkweed are native to the U.S. and Canada, yet the most commonly planted milkweed is a single, non-native species. Tropical milkweed (A. curassavica), also known as Mexican milkweed or blood flower, is attractive, easy to grow, and often the only milkweed available at garden centers and nurseries. Unlike most native milkweed species that enter dormancy in the fall, tropical milkweed persists longer and even grows year-round where temperatures remain mild, such as parts of the southwest and Gulf Coast, providing a continuous supply of nectar for adults and food for caterpillars. This can sustain year-round breeding of wild monarchs and lead to high transmission of a debilitating protozoan pathogen called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE). In this webinar, researchers who have studied monarchs, OE and tropical milkweed in the laboratory and field will discuss (1) how tropical milkweed leads to the formation of resident (non-migratory) monarch populations in the southern US, and (2) consequences of this behavior for pathogen transmission, monarch migration, and mixing between resident and migrant monarchs. The presenters will also explore options for managing tropical milkweed gardens, and other ways to support monarchs conservation.
*Time ran out for answering questions during the Livestream broadcast. Therefore, the presenters have answered your questions and have placed them on this page. Q & A
Conserving of Monarchs in the Western US (01:03:22) February 28, 2016
Presented by Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Program Director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Though most are familiar with the large populations of monarchs in the eastern US that travel to Mexico each fall, monarchs in the western US – including those that migrate annually to the California Coast – have received far less attention. In the western US, the Xerces Society is working to identify, protect, manage, and restore monarch breeding and overwintering habitat through conducting and engaging citizen scientists in applied research, developing habitat management technical guidance, and advocacy. This webinar will provide an overview of the biology, life history, and conservation status of monarchs in the western US, including factors that may be contributing to the observed population decline at California overwintering sites. The webinar will also review current conservation efforts of the Xerces Society and partners, including habitat management and enhancement efforts, applied research, and citizen science programs in monarch natal, migratory, and overwintering habitats of the West.
Sarina Jepsen directs the Xerces Society’s Endangered Species Program, where she works on the conservation of monarch butterflies, bumble bees, freshwater mussels, and other at-risk invertebrate species. Since 2007 she has developed, implemented an overseen numerous projects that address the conservation of monarch butterflies in natal, migratory and overwintering habitats of the western US. She has co-authored many publications about monarch butterflies including the report Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States and the book chapter Understanding and Conserving the Western North American Monarch Population. She serves as Deputy Chair of the IUCN Bumblebee Specialist Group, where she works with bumble bee experts to evaluate the conservation status of bumble bees worldwide.
Conserving Monarch Butterflies in an Urban Setting (00:54:42) July 16, 2015
Urban habitat conservation is critical to the success of monarch butterflies. Creating habitat in the urban setting will ensure that the butterflies have a place to stop on their migration journey. In this webinar, Catherine Werner from the St. Louis Mayor’s Office and Milkweeds for Monarchs program, Cortney Solum from Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, and Kristin Shaw from the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative, will share a case study of the Milkweeds for Monarchs (M4M) program in the city of St. Louis, MO. The M4M program is an urban ecological effort of the city and its partners to connect people to nature while providing habitat for the monarch butterfly and its caterpillars. Not only is the M4M program creating habitat within the City of St. Louis, it is a part of a larger effort to conserve the monarch butterfly and other pollinators in urban areas in the Eastern United States. Participants will learn how they might be able to start a similar program in their urban community.
Presenters: Cortney Solum is the Visitor Services Manager at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge and part of the City of St. Louis’ Milkweeds for Monarchs team. Kristin Shaw is the Coordinator of the Ecological Places in Cities (EPIC), a practitioner’s network within the Eastern Tallgrass and Big Rivers and Upper Midwest Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperatives geographies. Catherine Werner is the Sustainability Director at the St. Louis Mayor's Office and Lead for Milkweeds for Monarch Program.
Copy of PowerPoint Presentation: Urban Wildlife Conservation Program and Monarch Butterflies (PDF version) Kristin Shaw/Cortney Solum
Contributions of Monarch Citizen Science & Program Overviews (01:11:53) April 30, 2015.
Monarch citizen science has been critical to our understanding of this iconic species. Four main programs will be covered in-depth in this webinar, representing multiple aspects of monarch biology. These include Journey North and Monarch Watch (tracking the migration), Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (tracking egg and larval abundance), and Monarch Health (tracking monarch parasites). Outcomes of these and other citizen science programs will be shared.
Presenters: Sonia Altizer is a Professor at the University of Georgia, where she and her students study monarch behavior, ecology, and interactions with a protozoan parasite. In 2006, she launched the citizen science project Monarch Health. Elizabeth Howard is the director of Journey North, a citizen science effort to track animal migrations, including monarch butterflies. Since 1994, Journey North has been a central player in environmental education and citizen science efforts. Karen Oberhauser is a Professor at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. In 1996, she and a graduate student started the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project. Chip Taylor a Professor at the University of Kansas. In 1992, Taylor founded Monarch Watch and enlisted the help of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration among other conservation projects.
Designing and Creating Outdoor Signs for Monarch Waystations and Pollinator Gardens (01:03:11) February 23, 2017.
Presented by Rich Dolesh, National Recreation and Park Association, Angie Edwards, Fossil Industries, and Pete Carroll, MD National Capital Park & Planning Commission, Prince George's County Maryland.
Do you want to engage and educate the public about the value of your Waystation and pollinator gardens? Interpretive and educational signage is very valuable in communicating the importance of why it is important to create monarch and other pollinator habitat, but the task of designing, creating, and installing attractive and durable outdoor signs is daunting for many. This webinar will provide valuable information on how to design and create outdoor signs. Topics will cover sign types and styles, relative costs of types of signs, examples of effective sign layout and design, recommendations for materials choices, suggestions for how to work with a professional sign company, ideas for low-cost alternatives, and how to utilize in-house capacity and volunteer resources. Quality signage can make your waystation or pollinator garden appealing and interesting while serving the valuable purpose of educating the public on what your garden does and why it is important.
Designing Seed Mixes for Native Habitat (01:04:00) February 16, 2017
Presented by Justin Meissen, Tallgrass Prairie Center Research and Restoration Program.
A well-designed seed mix is an essential component of any native habitat restoration project. The seeds we use in each mix ultimately define the character of restored vegetation, and determine how well a restoration project can meet its goals. In this webinar, we’ll cover the basic principles of seed mix design, review some of the tools currently available for designing seed mixes, and walk through several design examples using the Tallgrass Prairie Center’s Iowa Prairie Seed Calculator. The Iowa Prairie Seed Calculator (http://www.jamess.com/IowaPrairieSeedCalculator-D2/) incorporates the core concepts of seed mix design with a user-friendly interface, taking seeding method, planting time, and planting site conditions into account to produce an ecologically appropriate seed mix ready to send to commercial seed producers.
Presented by Justin Meissen, Tallgrass Prairie Center Research and Restoration Program. Justin is responsible for implementing restoration research and demonstration projects, creating training seminars, giving presentations, and developing technical materials for multiple audiences including roadside managers and other conservation professionals. He has a PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota and a BS in Integrative Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Justin has worked professionally in restoration ecology and botany from North Carolina to California with The Nature Conservancy, The Audubon Society, and other non-profits and environmental contractors. His PhD research at the University of Minnesota evaluated the risks of repeated, intensive seed harvest from native tallgrass prairies to supply large-scale prairie restoration. Justin is also an avid nature photographer whose work can be found throughout the web, particularly on his Flickr page.
Engagement and Education with Monarch Butterflies (00:58:48) September 24, 2019.
Presented by Katie-Lyn Bunney, Monarch Joint Venture Education Coordinator.
Join Monarch Joint Venture Education Coordinator for an overview of how monarchs can be used as an education tool in classrooms and informal settings year round. Monarchs' inherent charisma make them an ideal organism to focus lessons and activities on in order to engage with students and a broad array of audiences. This webinar will touch on various lessons, activities and curricula available from Monarch Joint Venture partners for you to use in your monarch education and outreach opportunities.
Enhancing Existing Landscapes for Monarch/Native Pollinators (01:18:02) April 23, 2015
In this webinar, a panel of presenters will share techniques and case studies for enhancing existing habitats for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Topics will include best management practices for augmenting natural habitats, roadsides, right-of-way areas, and other landscapes. Additionally, you will learn more in-depth about milkweed and nectar plant availability, including seed collection, plug production and sourcing native plant and seed materials.
Presenters: After a career in academia, working for the USFWS, and as a research biologist for the MN DNR, Greg Hoch recently accepted the position of Prairie Habitat Team Supervisor for the MN DNR. Mary Byrne and Vicki Wojcik work with partners across all landscapes types to establish pollinator habitat, develop planting recommendations, and offer technical guidance as Pollinator Partnership’s Plant Ecologist and Research Director. Kristine Nemec is the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program Manager at the Tallgrass Prairie Center (TPC). She guides and supports Iowa's county roadside programs, which establish native vegetation in county rights-of-way. Laura Jackson is Director of the TPC and a professor at UNI. Her research and teaching focus on restoration of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Chip Taylor is the director of Monarch Watch and a professor at the University of Kansas. Monarch Watch is a monarch outreach program focused on education, research and conservation.
Presented by Iris Caldwell, Energy Resources Center, Thelma Redick, Wildlife Habitat Council and Susan Kelsey, GM. Recorded on August 28, 2018.
Thelma Redick will discuss the business case for support monarch conservation, exploring how businesses work with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) to incorporate conservation into business operations, corporate citizenship initiatives and business management targets. Several quick-fire case studies will introduce the breadth of project types implemented by WHC members, across sectors and with varying resource availability. Susan Kelsey, will then take a deep dive into how GM, a long-time member of the Wildlife Habitat Council, monarch habitat a priority among their suite of pollinator projects in North America. With more than seventy certified programs world-wide, GM has used very effectively used monarch habitat as one way to engage employees and community, enhance habitat, and link to local, regional and national ecological initiatives. Iris Caldwell will then provide an overview of how organizations in the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group are approaching monarch habitat conservation, also featuring a couple of industry case studies.
Growing Milkweed for Monarch Conservation (01:02:02) March 23, 2016
As milkweed, the sole host plant for monarch butterflies, has diminished across the landscape, so have population numbers for the iconic butterfly. A broad scale effort involving many partners is needed to restore this habitat across North America to support monarchs and other wildlife. A key step in this process is increasing the availability of native milkweed plant materials, including seeds and plugs. In this webinar you will learn about regional native milkweed plant material needs, seed collection, processing, storage, stratification, germination, transplantation to plug cell, growing out, control of pests with biological control methods, site preparation, planting, watering and monitoring to determine survival rates. From backyard gardeners to large scale native plant producers, everyone has a role to play in supporting monarch habitat across North America. The focus of this webinar will be producing milkweed host plants, but other native nectar plants are also essential in supporting the monarch migration.
Presented by Dr. Chip Taylor, Founder and Director, Monarch Watch. Dr. Taylor has a broad background in insect ecology. Starting in 1974, he established research sites and directed students studying Neotropical African honey bees in French Guiana, Venezuela, and Mexico. In 1992, Taylor founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation relative to monarch butterflies. Since then, the program has enlisted the help of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration. This program has produced many new insights into the dynamics of the monarch migration. In 2005 Monarch Watch created the Monarch Waystation program, in recognition that habitats for monarchs are declining at a rate of 6,000 acres a day in the United States. The goal of this program is to inspire the public, schools and others to create habitats for monarch butterflies and to assist Monarch Watch in educating the public about the decline in resources for monarchs, pollinators and all wildlife that share the same habitats.
Habitat Restoration Fundamentals (01:19:21) February 12, 2015
This webinar will examine the step-by-step procedures for designing, installing, and managing native plant communities specifically designed for monarch breeding. Among the topics to be explored are initial planning considerations, formulating seed mixes, site preparation and weed abatement, and long-term land management practices. Real world case studies will be provided, and successful approaches in multiple eco-regions will be described.
Presented by Eric Lee-Mäder. Eric is the Pollinator Conservation Program Co-Director at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (www.xerces.org). In this role Eric works across the world with farmers, gardeners, land managers and the agencies like the US Department of Agriculture and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to restore native habitat in working agricultural lands. His professional background includes previous work as a small farms extension farm educator, and crop consultant for the native seed industry. Eric is the author of several books including the best-selling Attracting Native Pollinators, and Farming with Beneficial Insects: Strategies for Ecological Pest Management.
How to Plant for Success (01:00:28) July 23, 2019
Presenters: Tracy McCleaf, Cora Lund Preston, Josh Divan, Peter S. Berthelsen, Jonathan Geurts.
Does the prospect of picking weeds out of a failed pollinator planting leave you cold? You're not alone! This webinar, delivered by the Keystone Monarch Collaborative and Monarch Joint Venture, will feature the real-world experiences of farmers establishing habitat adjacent to their working land. Pete Berthelsen brings three decades worth of experience not only growing habitat himself but also consulting with landowners on the best establishment practices for their land. Josh Divan advises farmers on habitat establishment and Farm Bill programs, and his own family has used precision agriculture tools to identify areas that contribute more to their operational bottom line as habitat than as cropped acreage. This is the second of two webinars this summer for agricultural landowners and managers. The first on May 28th focused more broadly on the economic and ecological case for enhancing habitat adjacent to working lands and is now available to view as a recording.
Presented by: Laura Lukens, Monarch Joint Venture National Monitoring Coordinator, and Jennifer Thieme, Monarch Joint Venture Regional Monitoring Coordinator.
Laura Lukens and Jennifer Thieme from the Monarch Joint Venture will discuss the goals, structure, and uses of the Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program (IMMP). The IMMP is a national initiative to capture information about both monarchs and their habitats across geographies and land use types. Data will be used to update population and habitat models, as well as inform how habitat conservation efforts may influence population and habitat dynamics. Viewers will learn how researchers, conservation professionals, and citizen scientists can use the IMMP to meet their own objectives and information needs.
Recorded on April 23, 2019.
Meadow Establishment in the East (01:08:51)
This webinar will discuss establishing and maintaining native meadows in the eastern US. There is a growing movement in the eastern US to convert lawn to meadows, even small backyard plots, for pollinator and wildlife habitat. There are many methods to accomplish the conversion from killing the existing vegetation and reseeding to the slower regime of yearly mowing and inter-planting with perennials. Both methods and meadow maintenance needs will be discussed.
Larry Weaner, founder and principal of Larry Weaner Landscape Associates and author of Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be A Source of Environmental Change with Thomas Christopher (Timber Press 2016) and renowned meadow designer, will provide an overview of the broad topic of meadow development. He will cover various methods and considerations in establishing meadows. Larry will talk about establishment challenges, ecological considerations and maintenance needs for successful self-sustaining meadows with examples from his award winning designs.
Ann Aldrich, past Restoration Director for Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy, worked with Larry to restore the meadows in Dumbarton Oaks Park. Ann will share the work The Monarch Alliance is doing at Fort Frederick State Park southwest of Hagerstown, Maryland to move several meadows from warm season grasses mixed with European cool season grasses and invasive plants to a self-sustaining native meadow through mowing and inter-planting.
Larry and Ann will both discuss the benefits of meadows for monarchs and our native pollinators and the ecological benefits of establishing and maintaining this habitat type in the East.
Recorded: July 24, 2018.
Meet the Monarchs (01:07:42) October 4, 2016
Presented by Cathy Downs (Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas) and Karen Oberhauser (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab). October 4, 2016.
Join Dr. Karen Oberhauser, a scientist from the University of Minnesota, and Cathy Downs, a natural science educator from central Texas for this interactive webinar (for youth audiences). You will learn about the amazing monarch butterflies and their unique long-distance migration. From their milkweed host plants to parasitoids that ail them, we will explore the complex life history of the species. In addition, you will learn how to get involved in your own school or backyard to help monarchs, and benefit many other wildlife species at the same time! Listen carefully, and don't forget to take notes; we will have a few pop quiz questions throughout the webinar!
Presenters: Cathy Downs (Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas) and Karen Oberhauser (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab)
Bios: Cathy was born and raised in New England and retired to Comfort, TX in 2004 after a 30 year career owning and operating her own retail businesses. She is a Texas Master Naturalist with the Hill Country Chapter and a Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist with Monarch Watch. She chairs the Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas program for Native Plant Society of Texas and is a certified Monarch Larval Monitoring Project educator. Cathy works with Texas Wildlife Association’s Distance Learning Program broadcasting “The Magic of Monarchs” and conducts Teacher Trainings for “Monarchs in the Classroom”. With these resources Cathy has provided over 65,000 children and teachers with monarch education.
Dr. Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. In addition to the research component of her lab, Karen founded Monarchs in the Classroom, a program of the Monarch Lab which provides opportunities for formal and informal educators to be guided in instructing their students to learn science using the natural world. Karen is also co-chair of the Monarch Joint Venture steering committee.
Milkweed Seed Collection (00:57:30)
Monarchs need milkweed! Collecting native milkweed seed is a cost-effective way to get local ecotype seeds for use in restoration projects. In this webinar, you’ll get an overview of milkweed seed collection, including a primer on native plants, tips and tricks for harvesting, storing and growing milkweed seed, and how you can participate in the Monarch Watch Milkweed Market to contribute to milkweed planting on a large scale. If you want to learn about how begin or improve your milkweed seed collection efforts, this is the webinar for you! June 26, 2018.
Hal Mann, President, Wild Ones Oak Openings Region Chapter.
Bob Huffman, Seed Manager, Prairie Restorations Inc.
Angie Babbit, Communications Coordinator, Monarch Watch.
Dena Podrebarac, Milkweed Grant Coordinator, Monarch Watch.
Monarch and Roadsides (01:03:46) August 31, 2016
Presented by Dr. Karen Oberhauser and Kyle Kasten (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab), Jennifer Hopwood (Xerces Society), and Ken Graeve (Minnesota Department of Transportation). August 31, 2016.
Tremendous amounts of habitat have been lost throughout the monarchs' range, primarily due to development and changing agricultural practices. While it may not be possible to restore the habitat that was lost in its entirety, there are many opportunities to enhance and restore habitat for monarchs and pollinators in marginal areas, such as roadsides. While mortality of these insects by vehicle collisions is a concern for many, it is thought that the benefits of roadside habitats outweigh the costs. This webinar will include background information on monarchs and pollinators in roadside habitats, key findings from a study of milkweed and monarch surveys along roadsides, and case studies and opportunities for Departments of Transportation.
Presenters: Dr. Karen Oberhauser (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab), Kyle Kasten (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab), Jennifer Hopwood (Xerces Society), Ken Graeve (Minnesota Department of Transportation)
Ken Graeve works at the Minnesota Department of Transportation providing technical support for roadside vegetation management. His work areas include rare plant reviews, vegetation establishment during construction, invasive species control, and prescribed fire.
Jennifer Hopwood is a Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and provides resources and training for pollinator and beneficial insect habitat management, creation, and restoration. Jennifer has authored a number of publications and articles, including a literature review about roadsides and their potential to act as habitat for pollinators. Jennifer has degrees in ecology and entomology from the University of Kansas and has experience in invertebrate field and laboratory research, identification, education, and outreach.
Kyle Kasten graduated from Carleton College with a B.A. in Biology. Starting as an AmeriCorps volunteer, he spent the summer of 2015 conducting a survey of milkweed species and monarch larvae use of roadside habitats in the upper midwest. Now working as a member of the Monarch Lab research team, Kyle collaborates with private companies, landowners, and government agencies to study the effectiveness of prairie restoration projects in creating monarch butterfly habitat in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Dr. Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Her research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science. Karen is also co-chair of the Monarch Joint Venture steering committee.
Monarch Biology and Conservation Basics (00:57:28) December 17, 2015
From egg to adult, monarchs undergo a fascinating metamorphosis. The life cycle of monarchs is well known and inspirational, making these iconic insects ideal for research and science education. However, habitat loss and other threats are endangering this majestic creature.
After attending this webinar, you'll have a greater understanding of the monarch's life cycle, biology, as well as their incredible journey across North America to overwintering sites in Mexico and California each year.
This is the first webinar in the "Monarch Butterfly Conservation Webinar Series" that is being jointly produced by the Monarch Joint Venture and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Future webinars will focus on habitat conservation and enhancement, milkweed propagation, and other topics where you can learn how to take a more active role in protecting monarchs.
Presented by Dr. Karen Oberhauser: Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Her research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science.
Monarch Butterfly Population Modeling (01:00:09) March 19, 2019
Presented by Cora Lund Preston and Dr. Chip Taylor.
Dr. Chip Taylor from Monarch Watch will describe a stage specific model for monarch population development based on years of studying the responses of the monarch population to temperature, rainfall/drought from the time the returning monarchs enter Texas to the end of the fall migration in December. The model is based on timing and numbers combined with an attempt to understand the optimal physical conditions that favor monarch reproduction and survival. The intent is to create a model that will enable us to predict the size of the fall migration and the overwintering population.
Monarch Conservation Science Partnership (01:18:22) May 26, 2016
Presented by Dr. Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab; Ryan Drum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Wayne Thogmartin, United States Geological Survey; and Holly Holt, Monarch Joint Venture.
Monarch conservation will require the involvement of the governments, non-government organizations, and citizens of all three North American countries. It will also require that limited resources are spent in ways that are most likely to help monarchs. Monarch biologists, habitat conservation practitioners, and landscape scientists have been meeting for over two years to create a blueprint for ensuring that monarch conservation strategies are based on our best available science. This group has worked to create a target for monarch population numbers that will minimize risks of extinction, develop regional priorities for habitat protection and restoration, and identify the most important risks to monarch populations. In this webinar, we'll summarize the work of the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, ending with concrete suggestions for local, regional, and continental action.
Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. In 1996, she and graduate student Michelle Prysby started the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which engages hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. In 2013, Karen received a White House Champion of Change award for her work with Citizen Science.
Ryan Drum is a Landscape Ecologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. His work is focused on linking biological planning, conservation design, on-the-ground delivery, and monitoring to guide landscape-scale adaptive management in the Midwest-Great Lakes Region and beyond. Ryan serves as the USFWS co-lead for the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership and is also the Service lead for Tri-National Monarch Conservation Science Partnership.
Wayne Thogmartin is a research ecologist with the United States Geological Survey at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His research is generally focused on the statistical and mathematical ecology of rare and declining species. Current work involves developing continental-scale energetic-based models of migratory waterfowl, half-life and extinction risk calculations as a means of prioritizing species for conservation action, and calculating the value of a subpopulation to system dynamics to better understand the flow of ecosystem services as a function of migration. He is co-lead of the USGS Monarch Conservation Science Partnership.
Monarch Conservation Science Partnership Desktop and Online Spatial Tools (00:46:33) May 26, 2016
Presented by Jason Rohweder, USGS-Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center and Dr. Holly Holt, Monarch Joint Venture Science Coordinator. December 20, 2016.
Join us for the second December 2016 Monarch Conservation Webinar: Monarch Conservation Science Partnership Desktop and Online Spatial Tools. You will receive additional details about participating in the webinar in a follow up email prior to the webinar and on the confirmation page after completing this form. This is a collaborative effort between the Monarch Joint Venture and the National Conservation Training Center. We look forward to your participation! The eastern migratory population of monarch butterflies has declined by more than 80% over the last two decades. In support of the USGS' Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, Jason Rohweder and Wayne Thogmartin developed desktop decision support tools to help in conservation planning for the imperiled monarch butterfly. Desktop tools were developed that allow users to prioritize counties within the conterminous United States according to multiple input criteria important for monarch butterfly conservation. Additional tools were developed to model the anticipated number of milkweeds on the landscape based upon underlying land cover/land use characteristics. The user can alter the composition of these land cover/land use characteristics using a separate desktop tool to model gains and losses of milkweeds on the landscape under various conservation scenarios. These tools were first developed as desktop tools downloadable from the internet and now the county ranking tool and milkweed calculator are available as online tools that do not require any GIS software, only a web browser. http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/management/dss/monarch.html Presenters: Jason Rohweder has worked for the USGS-Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center for almost 20 years as a spatial applications biologist. He has interdisciplinary expertise in biology, geographical information systems and application programming. His work emphasizes landscape ecology and the creation of flexible tools and models to assess species habitat. Dr. Holly Holt is the Monarch Joint Venture Science Coordinator. She has been working closely with the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership to develop a National Protocol Framework for monitoring monarchs and their habitat. Information gained from this framework will help inform monarch conservation strategies. Holt has a background in pollinator health and biology and received her PhD in Entomology from Penn State University in 2015.
Monarch Gardens and Community Action (00:53:11) August 13, 2015.
Interested in creating a monarch habitat garden? Want to participate or initiate community efforts to protect monarchs in your area? Creating habitat and getting others involved are two of the most important ways we can protect and conserve the monarch butterfly. Experts from Monarch Joint Venture partner organizations Wild Ones and the National Wildlife Federation will present their best practices for using these important conservation strategies. Donna VanBuecken of Wild Ones will discuss the basics of gardening and the major considerations to make your garden habitat sustainable and inviting for monarchs. Mary Phillips of the National Wildlife Federation will discuss community scale efforts highlighting their own success stories in engaging local communities in conservation.
Donna VanBuecken is owner of Accent on Natural Landscaping which provides administrative and management services for not-for-profit environmental organizations. Since 1998, VanBuecken has served as the Executive Director for Wild Ones. Wild Ones is a national not-for-profit education and advocacy organization promoting environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration, and establishment of native plant communities. They have chapters throughout the USA.
Mary Phillips is National Wildlife Federation's Garden for Wildlife Campaign Manager. She works with key stakeholders across the Garden for Wildlife program to empower homeowners, communities, schools, business, faith based organizations and landscapers to view their own property as affordable and convenient places to engage in wildlife conservation.
Patrick leads the National Wildlife Federation’s volunteer programs and the NWF Community Wildlife Habitat program which certifies cities, towns, counties and neighborhoods for being wildlife friendly. NWF volunteers and community leaders are working on-the-ground in communities to plant milkweed and pollinator gardens and improve local ordinances and policies.
Monarchs and Social Science (01:10:23) June 25, 2019
Presented by Tracy McCleaf, Cora Lund Preston, Christine Browne Ph.D, Lex Winter.
Every corner of the landscape that the monarch butterfly navigates is shaped, to some degree, by humans. While this has resulted in a variety of obstacles for monarchs, people are striving to create or maintain habitat for these charismatic creatures. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Field Museum’s Keller Science Action Center have been working to understand the social, political, and economic factors that produce environmental threats, and foster those that benefit monarchs and their habitats. In this webinar, USFWS Human Dimensions Team Lead Christine Browne will explain how these factors within the socio-ecological systems have been identified and considered in the development of conservation strategies, and Field Museum Social Scientist Lex Winter will share research on how these factors play out on the ground in urban and suburban areas in the Midwest.
Monarchs in a Web of Life - Predators, Parasites, and Disease (01:11:02) March 26, 2019
Presented by: Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the UW-Arboretum, and Dr. Sonia Altizer, Ph.D., UGA Athletic Association Professor of Ecology.
Webinar Description: Drs. Karen Oberhauser and Sonia Altizer will describe how monarchs interact with dozens of other species in diverse ecological communities through pollination, herbivory, competition, and as hosts or as prey to natural enemies. Monarchs are famous for sequestering toxins from their milkweed host plants, which protects them against some natural enemies. Despite this protection, monarchs can fall prey to predators, parasites, and pathogens at all stages of their life cycle. In fact, scientists estimate that only 5% of monarchs survive from egg to the adult stage in natural populations, in large part due to natural enemies. In this webinar, we tour the incredible diversity of animals and microbes that interact with monarchs in the wild. These agents can exert significant pressure on wild monarch populations, and have shaped monarch morphology, chemical defense, and possibly even their amazing migration. Human rearing of monarchs can protect them from some enemy attacks, but captive conditions and crowding can also expose monarchs to new threats. Because many predators and parasites are part of monarch’s natural ecology, it is important to protect and restore the diverse ecological communities that monarchs are a part of. Finally, this webinar will provide ideas for how you can think beyond monarchs as a single species, and engage with and conserve their remarkable community.
Monarch Overwintering (01:07:40) January 26, 2017
Monarch overwintering experts from both eastern and western populations of monarchs will discuss the ins and outs of monarch overwintering behavior, biology and migration. Monarchs are unique in the insect world for their long distance multi-generational migration and their incredible numbers in the oyamel fir forests of Mexico and scattered groves along California's Pacific coast. Learn about the "Goldilocks" conditions which make these forests just right for overwintering and what monarchs need to survive this season. Also, learn about the threats that these important forests (and the monarchs who rely on them) face and the questions left unanswered about monarch migration. Plus take a sneak peek at all the different ways humans try to count thousands and millions of monarchs each year!
Presenters: Emma Pelton (Xerces Society) and Dr. Pablo Jaramillo (Monarch Butterfly Fund)
Monarch Parasitoids (01:03:26) March 23, 2017.
Presented by Carl Stenoien (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab) and Dane Elmquist (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab and Monarch Larva Monitoring Project).
Most parasitoids are tiny wasps and flies that reproduce by laying eggs on or inside of other insects. Those offspring develop by eating the host from the inside, eventually killing it. Parasitoids lead lifestyles that may seem alien to us, but they are an extremely diverse and important part of our ecosystems. Almost every species of herbivorous insect can become a host for at least one, but sometimes dozens, of species of parasitoids. Even chemically defended monarch butterfly caterpillars and chrysalides are not immune to parasitoids. PhD Candidate Carl Stenoien from the UMN Monarch Lab will discuss recent research on a tiny parasitoid wasp, Pteromalus cassotis, that preys on monarch pupae. Dane Elmquist, former assistant program coordinator for the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, will discuss new discoveries of interactions between monarch larvae and tachinid flies. Many of these findings were made possible by monarch citizen scientists.
Monarch Research and Advanced Topics (01:09:44) May 21, 2015
Join Dr. Sonia Altizer, Dr. Lincoln Brower, and Dr. Karen Oberhauser in this advanced topics webinar about monarch research. You will learn about cutting edge monarch research using new techniques to answer questions about things like migration and population genetics. Additionally, learn about research in the areas of overwintering monarchs, disease spread, natural enemies, population trends, and climate change. You will also get a short overview about the new monarch book, titled Monarchs in a Changing World: Biology and Conservation of an Iconic Butterfly.
Presenters: Sonia Altizer is a Professor at the University of Georgia, where she and her students study monarch behavior, ecology, and interactions with a protozoan parasite. In 2006, she launched the citizen science project Monarch Health from her lab. Lincoln Brower has been involved in monarch research and conservation for over 60 years. He works in the fields of conservation, ecology and ecological chemistry of the monarch butterfly. He is a Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology Emeritus for the University of Florida. Karen Oberhauser is a Professor at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. In 1996, she and graduate student Michelle Prysby started the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which engages hundreds of volunteers throughout North America.
Monarchs and Climate Change (01:00:55) December 15, 2016
Presented by Dr. Kelly Nail, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Dr. Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, Monarch Joint Venture. December 15, 2016.
We know that monarchs are negatively impacted by many human activities, including habitat degradation and loss, pesticide use, climate change, vehicular collisions, invasive species, and pathogen spread. Due to this long list of factors that affect monarch populations, it is difficult to determine the contributions of any single factor to their dwindling numbers. In this webinar, we summarize the ways in which climate affects monarchs during all stages of their annual cycle of breeding, migrating, and overwintering. We’ll then review potential impacts of climate change on monarchs, summarizing a combination of lab and field studies, and modeling efforts. There will be plenty of time to ask questions, and we’ll provide links to published and online resources that will allow you to dig deeper into the fascinating topic of monarchs, weather, and climate.
Presenters: Dr. Kelly Nail (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, US Fish and Wildlife Service) and Dr. Karen Oberhauser (University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, Monarch Joint Venture).
Welcome to 2018 and the continuation of the Monarch Conservation Webinar Series by the Monarch Joint Venture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Conservation Training Center.
Please join us on February 27th for the first webinar as we begin with a big picture perspective on monarch conservation by MJV Coordinator, Wendy Caldwell. Wendy will describe the conservation goals for monarchs in North America and a broad scale approach for engaging partners to help achieve those goals. From the perspective of the national Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan, she will illustrate how efforts across scales and topics are integrating for improved success in species recovery. Creating habitat for monarchs, other pollinators, wildlife and ecosystem services is a primary outcome of a broader strategy to engage, educate, and inspire new conservationists. Everyone has a role to play in protecting the monarch migration. This webinar will cover how MJV’s implementation pillars (habitat creation, research/monitoring, and education/outreach) work together to help us achieve our monarch and habitat targets.
February 27, 2018
This webinar will discuss the science and safety of photovoltaic solar and the growing trend of planting pollinator habitat under and around ground-mounted solar panels. In 2016 alone, nearly 2,500 acres of solar sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin were seeded with millions of native flowers and grasses including black-eyed susans, side-oats grama, purple prairie clover, butterfly milkweed, and calico aster.
Eric Udelhofen, development director from OneEnergy Renewables, will discuss site selection for large-scale solar arrays, including existing land use, utility interconnection, topography and other environmental factors. He will give an overview of what the development process looks like, discuss construction and provide insight into what an installation actually looks like. Rob Davis, of 501(c)3 nonprofit Fresh Energy, will discuss its pioneering work in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Bee Lab, Monarch Joint Venture, the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont, and others to establish standards as to what constitutes “pollinator friendly solar.” Rob will delve into the history of how pollinator-friendly solar was imported from the UK, where it is a common practice. Rob will outline how Fresh Energy and Audubon Minnesota built a bipartisan coalition of support for a statewide standard for vegetation on solar sites, including support from prominent agricultural legislative leaders and advocacy organizations. Rob and Eric will both discuss the public and environmental benefits provided by pollinator-friendly solar sites as well as standard practices of pollinator meadow management on solar sites, and will describe some of the benefits to solar project owners over the long-term, including reduced maintenance expenses, improved stormwater infiltration, and greater community acceptance.
Southwestern Monarch (00:55:54) April 28, 2016
Presented by Gail Morris, Coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study. Gail Morris is the Coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study, a Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist and the Vice-Chair of the Monarch Butterfly Fund. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Central Arizona Butterfly Association. Gail is the primary author of "Status of the Danaus plexippus Population in Arizona" by G.Morris, C.Kline & S.Morris, 2015.
For many years the southwest United States was a monarch mystery, a place where monarchs were scarce and little known about their breeding and migration patterns. The Southwest Monarch Study opened new doors of understanding after tagging over 14,000 monarchs and monitoring breeding habitats across the region. This webinar will explore citizen science efforts primarily in Arizona but expanding to New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, the California deserts and western Colorado. Our results dispelled the earlier belief in a Rocky Mountain division in migration destination and also provided new information regarding abundant breeding habitats and small overwintering aggregations in the area. New monarch conservation partnerships working to expand habitats across the southwest will also be featured.
Success Stories in Engaging the Agricultural Community in State Monarch Conservation Planning (01:01:01) March 27, 2018
The Monarch Collaborative is working to identify how partnerships in the farming and ranching community can support and enhance habitat for a sustainable monarch population. This webinar, Success Stories in Engaging the Agricultural Community in State Monarch Conservation Planning, will feature speakers from the Monarch Collaborative, the Iowa Monarch Consortium, and Missourians for Monarchs to provide learnings and tips on how to build a successful state plan that brings together the agricultural community with conservation partners in informing state plans and supporting the monarch butterfly. This webinar will also communicate success stories and lessons learned from where states are engaging agricultural partners in monarch conservation planning efforts; show why it’s important for agriculture groups to be involved, where and how they are involved, what worked to get them involved, and how they are communicating with growers and driving action in their states; and point grower organizations toward additional resources for learning more and getting involved.
Facilitated by the Keystone Monarch Collaborative.
Steve Bradbury, Iowa State University
Wayne Fredericks, Iowa Soybean Association
Aimee Hood, Monsanto
Karen Kinkead, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Susan Kozak, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Brent Vandeloecht, Missouri Department of Conservation
Presented by Rich Dolesh, National Recreation and Park Association Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives. May 22, 2018.
It goes without saying that preserving the monarch migration throughout North America will only be successful with the help of volunteers. Restoring habitat, planting milkweed and participating in citizen science are just a few of the ways that volunteers contribute to monarch conservation. Public lands managers, habitat managers, and researchers have an opportunity to engage a growing number of people aware of this issue as volunteers who can make lasting and important contributions. This webinar will highlight some best practices for agencies and non-profit organizations working with volunteers. You will learn new ways to utilize and recognize volunteers and new ways to give volunteers meaningful opportunities for citizen science and habitat enhancement. Volunteers are vital to restoring the monarch. Learn how you can inspire passion and commitment in your volunteers and achieve more than you ever thought possible with their help!
The Three Pillars of High Quality Pollinator Habitat Management (01:06:14) July 20, 2017
Presented by Peter Berthelsen, The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund, Partnership Coordinator.
Ever felt like you struggled to establish high quality pollinator habitat or achieve the results you envisioned? This presentation will cover the three most important considerations that will determine your habitat project success and the long-term benefits of the project. This presentation will provide specific habitat recommendations from start to finish that help you produce the best results from your habitat efforts.
There and Back Again: Compasses Monarchs Use, To and From Mexico (00:59:49) August 31. 2017
How do monarch butterflies orient southwards during the fall migration in order to reach the overwintering sites in Mexico? How do monarchs re-orient during the spring remigration in order to return northwards? This webinar will provide an overview of how monarchs use various sensory-based orientation mechanisms for directionality. In particular, the webinar focuses on describing how monarchs employ two types of compasses that they can use to help guide them during migration, namely a time-compensated sun compass and an inclination-based magnetic compass. In addition to reviewing our basic knowledge of monarch navigation, this webinar will also describe how the use of these compasses by monarchs is potentially now under threat due to contemporary environmental stressors, such as climate change and sensory noise pollution.
Biography: Dr. Patrick Anthony Guerra is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, at the University of Cincinnati. Patrick and his research team investigate how animals use sensory cues to facilitate ecologically important movement across broad spatial and temporal scales, as exemplified by monarch butterflies during their annual long-distance migration.
Urban Monarch Butterfly Conservation (01:01:57)
Presented by Tracy McCleaf, Cora Lund Preston, Abigail Derby-Lewis, Patrick Fitzgerald. August 2019.
We often think of urban areas as dead zones for wildlife habitat. However, cities can play a surprising role in conserving monarchs and pollinators. In this webinar, we'll hear success stories and how you can get involved in conserving monarchs in cities from the Field Museum's Urban Monarch Conservation program, the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, and the National Wildlife Federation's Mayor's Monarch Pledge.
Presented by Katie Hietala-Henschell, Conservation Biologist, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; Nick Stong, Education and Husbandry Programs Manager, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History; Emma Pelton, Conservation Biologist, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
This webinar will explore the citizen science effort that tracks the California overwintering monarch population and will discuss the results from this year’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, a record low and a 99.4% decline.
Presented by Emma Pelton, Conservation Biologist and Candace Fallon, Senior Conservation Biologist, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. November 27, 2018
From a few hundred records to nearly 50,000, over the last few years, the Xerces Society and partners have built an interactive, publicly accessible database of monarch and milkweed records across the western U.S. They use crowd-sourcing and existing databases as well as conducting coordinated field surveys and engaging citizen scientists to quickly fill information gaps about where and when monarchs and their habitat are found. The database has already been used to create and improve habitat suitability models for monarchs across seven states which are being incorporated into many conservation planning and monitoring efforts. Other uses of the database include the creation of region-specific nectar guides, a better understanding of where to (and not to) plant milkweed, and influencing the prioritization of on-the-ground restoration efforts. Help us keep gathering data and putting it to good use for western monarch conservation!
Presenters: Jonathan Geurts, Senior Policy Manager Keystone Policy Center; Wayne Fredericks, Board Member, American Soybean Association; Seth Appelgate, Research Agronomist, Iowa State University Monarch Research Team; Jennifer Prenosil, Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist, Pheasants Forever
It doesn't take a lot of space to make valuable habitat for monarch butterflies, pollinators, and other beneficial insects that yields dividends for the agricultural landowner, as well. This webinar, delivered by the Keystone Monarch Collaborative, will make the economic and ecological case for establishing habitat adjacent to working farmland. Seth's research and Wayne's in-field expertise match hard numbers with hard-earned experience to convey the realities of managing for beneficial insects. They will point out several ways to get started, from maximizing the potential already embedded in field margins to pairing conservation programs with precision ag technology. Attendees can expect to leave with ways to access the locally specific resources they need to determine if habitat really does make sense on their land. This is the first of two webinars with the Keystone Monarch Collaborative this summer for agricultural landowners and managers. The second on July 23rd will dive into the trials and triumphs of those who have attempted to establish habitat plantings.
Date Recorded: May 28, 2019
Monarch Butterfly Resources
Xerces General Monarch Resources
- Xerces Monarch Webpage - http://xerces.org/monarchs/
- Conservation Status and Ecology of Monarchs in the Western US Report - http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/NatureServe-Xerces_monarchs_USFS-final.pdf
Xerces Western Monarch and Milkweed Resources – Natal & Migratory Habitat
- Western monarch conservation - http://www.xerces.org/western-monarchs/
- Milkweed (to report milkweed and monarch observations for the western monarch habitat suitability model) - http://www.xerces.org/milkweedsurvey/
- Guide to Milkweeds and Monarchs in the Western US - http://www.xerces.org/guidelines/milkweeds-and-monarchs-in-the-western-u-s/
- Project Milkweed – http://www.xerces.org/milkweed/
- Milkweed Seed Finder – http://www.xerces.org/milkweed-seed-finder/
- Milkweed Conservation Practitioners Guide – http://www.xerces.org/milkweeds-a-conservation-practitioners-guide/
- Guide to California Native Milkweeds - http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/xerces-nrcs-california-milkweed-guide.pdf
- Guide to Great Basin Native Milkweeds – http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/NativeMilkweedsGreatBasin.pdf
Xerces Western Monarch Resources – Overwintering Habitat
- Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count – http://www.westernmonarchcount.org/
- Review of Laws & Regulations Affecting California Monarch Habitat - http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/legal-status-of-california-monarchs.pdf
Other Relevant Western Monarch Resources
- Potential risks of growing exotic (non-native) milkweeds for monarchs - http://monarchjointventure.org/images/uploads/documents/Oe_fact_sheet.pdf
- Plant Milkweed for Monarchs (guide to regionally native milkweed plants) - http://monarchjointventure.org/images/uploads/documents/MilkweedFactSheetFINAL.pdf
- All Monarch Joint Venture resources (includes sections about western monarchs)
- All Monarch Joint Venture resources (includes sections about western monarchs) - http://www.monarchjointventure.org/resources/
US Fish and Wildlife Service Monarch Resources