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Citizen science has been a force for good in conservation and biodiversity research since the early 20th century, the most famous example being the Christmas Bird Count, which the Audubon Society still does every year. Citizen science has only grown since, and now volunteers assist in data collection across many different scientific disciplines, including entomology. Below you will find links to various opportunities in citizen science to assist in monarch butterfly and pollinator research.
Tagged Monarch Butterfly (Image: Wendy Caldwell)
The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project
The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) was founded by researchers at the University of Minnesota. For that reason, the project is still maintained by staff and students at the University. MLMP is a citizen science project in which volunteers all across the United States and Canada contribute observations to research focusing on the distribution and abundance of breeding monarchs.
Monarch Health is a citizen science project focused on researching a parasite of the monarch butterfly: Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE). The project was founded in 2006 by Dr. Sonia Altizer and Natalie Kolleda Tarpein, and has since collected over 60,000 samples from citizen scientists from the United States and Canada.
The Monarch Watch Tagging Program
The Monarch Watch Tagging Program began in 1992 and continues every fall when citizen scientists tag, record data, and release monarchs. Tagging migrating monarchs helps research that focuses on the timing and pace of migration, mortality during migration, and changes in geographical distribution.
iNaturalist Texas Milkweed and Monarchs
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is using the iNaturalist app to gather data from citizen scientists regarding the distribution and abundance of Asclepias spp. species in Texas.