Monarch Butterflies & the Citizen Scientist
Monarch Butterfly (credit: Wiki-commons)
Monarch butterflies migrate from Canada and the USA into Mexico where they winter in mountain conifer forests. Their mass migrations have dwindled to low levels from multiple threats: destruction of the milkweed plants their caterpillars feed upon; pesticides sprayed on agricultural fields; deforestation in their winter habitat; and general environmental abuse. The butterflies are dying from these accumulated stresses.
Author and lecturer Mary Ellen Hannibal has an idea that could help save these famous insects: recruit citizen scientists. Hannibal suggests grassroots volunteers are already playing an important role in measuring the butterfly's dwindling populations. She presented her ideas at a recent TED conference at Stanford University.
Additional efforts you could do or schools, and community groups would add to the recovery of the Monarchs. A list of 10 practical ways was offered by a Texas newspaper, one the the primary states along the path of the butterfly's migrations.