Community Science

Help us Track the Monarch

2024 Survey Form  Please help us track the Monarchs by contributing to the data on a monthly basis

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project Resources – MLMP

MLMP Reference Materials   Including forms, and reference materials
MLMP Training Video 7-28-22  A quick 1.5 hour video training covering all the steps to become an effective monitor
MLMP Training Video 2-23-22 
MLMP UCBG Training Video 5-9-22  
MLMP Training Video 6-21-22
Sign up to do Monarch/Milkweed monitoring on a weekly basis

Community Science – An Overview

Many Monarch observers in Northern California reported a significant change in Monarch behavior beginning in the early summer of 2020.  Instead of migrating inland from coastal areas, and heading north, many Monarchs remained in the Bay Area and surroundings, nectaring, breeding and laying eggs.  This continued into the fall and winter months when they have typically gone into diapause and migrated to the coastal overwintering sites.  In addition to the changes in Monarch behavior, more people undertook rearing caterpillars in protected settings. In prior years the total Monarch population has been most easily counted while in the overwintering sites.  The Xerces Society has been gathering data during regular Thanksgiving and Christmas counts going back to 1997.  The count has been in steady decline since a high at that time of 1.1 million butterflies.  In 2020, the count at the overwintering sites plummeted to less than 2000 individuals, yet there were still significant reports of Monarchs active in the Bay Area and surroundings which was unusual.  No one knows what this unprecedented change in behavior indicates, and data is needed to begin to understand the change.  Since all the Monarchs may no longer be concentrated at the coast where they are easily counted, new observers are needed across Northern California year round.  We have undertaken to gather this data for the last few years.  Community volunteers are needed to step up and share their observations.   If you would like to contribute to this important effort, please get involved in the following ways.

Going forward, we are seeking additional reporters both on a regular (monthly) basis and/or one time reports.  If you would willing to be a part of this research project, please provide your observations/experience at Monarch Survey 2024.  Although the survey is somewhat lengthy, you only need to fill in the items which you observed. A lack of observations is just as important as sightings. If you provide your email address on the form, we will remind you when monthly observations are due. We are providing the data we collect to scientists and conservation organizations to make informed plans for ongoing support of our beloved Monarchs and their migration.

We are also encouraging folks who can, to join the Monarch Larval Monitoring Project – a national community science project which provides data to scientists and conservation organizations. If you have local milkweed habitat and are willing to monitor on a weekly basis, we will happily train you. The training provides information on monarch and milkweed biology directly as well as instruction on how to collect and enter your data. Click here for further information and registration.

If you have any questions please contact us.

Community Science Projects

2024 Survey Form  Please help us track the Monarchs by contributing to our data

Pollinator Posse 2021 Monarch Survey Results

Pollinator Posse 2020 Monarch Survey Results

Record your habitat projects on the Monarch Joint Venture Map