Recent Articles

Monarch Joint Venture Plans Next Steps

October 17, 2014By
Monarch Joint Venture Plans Next Steps

Partners and other stakeholders convened October 2nd and 3rd at the Monarch Joint Venture annual meeting held at the USFWS National Conservation Training Center, and what a great meeting it was! An enthusiastic group gathered to explore potential partnerships through the MJV and discuss next steps for monarch conservation.

For many, it was an opportunity to network with other monarch conservation experts and strengthen existing programs by forming new collaborations.

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Milkweeds are as good for crop-pollinating Native Bees, as they are for Monarchs

October 13, 2014By
Milkweeds are as good for crop-pollinating Native Bees, as they are for Monarchs

Recently, my orchard and garden “decided” that I needed more time in the wild to see how plants and animals really worked together, so they evicted me from cultivated ground of my own making, somehow giving me a concussion and a fractured rib on my way out.

However slow I usually am to get the picture, this time, I got the message loud and clear: if I were truly interested in seeing how to design farmscapes to harbor beneficial insects such as monarch butterflies and native bees, I needed to “apprentice myself” to a wild habitat where such healthy relationships are the norm, not the exception.

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As Dwindling Monarch Butterflies Make Their Migration, Feds Try to Save Them

October 11, 2014By
As Dwindling Monarch Butterflies Make Their Migration, Feds Try to Save Them

Two years ago migrating monarch butterflies transformed the lush gardens of Cape May Point into a series of “giant orange snowglobes.” That’s how Mark Garland of the Monarch Monitoring Project describes the good monarch days, the kind of days when thousands fly overhead.

There’s been no such spectacle yet this year, but Garland and members of the project’s team, who take a census of the monarchs three times a day, are holding out hope. The popular orange-and-black insects will be drifting toward this peninsula for a few more weeks to fill up on nectar before riding the winds that will hoist them over the Delaware Bay and on toward Mexico.

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How to Create a Plant Pollinator Habitat in the Era of Climate Uncertainty

October 9, 2014By
How to Create a Plant Pollinator Habitat in the Era of Climate Uncertainty

There is growing evidence that many pollinators and plants are being triggered into earlier but not necessarily synchronous activity by the same temperature shifts associated with global warming. Find out what strategies you can implement in your own garden, orchard, or farm to enhance your plant pollinator habitat.

With climatic uncertainty now “the new normal,” many farmers, gardeners, and orchardists in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt how they grow food in the face of climate change…

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Monarchs and Maize in Mexico: New Actions to Protect Threatened Butterflies and Corn Diversity Go Hand in Hand

September 30, 2014By
Monarchs and Maize in Mexico: New Actions to Protect Threatened Butterflies and Corn Diversity Go Hand in Hand

How is the decline of monarch butterflies and its relation to the management of corn seen from south of the Mexican border with the U.S.? Recently, we went to the cradle of origin of maize in Oaxaca not to do our own research, but to simply listen to Mexican researchers, farmers, artists and chefs.

Because both the monarch and maize have been iconic symbols of life in Mesoamerica for millennia, we wanted to hear how Mexicans perceived issues surrounding their conservation from scientific, cultural and political perspectives.

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Q Essay: The butterfly effect on climate change activism

September 29, 2014By
Q Essay: The butterfly effect on climate change activism

In today’s opening essay, Jian reflects on the diminished numbers of Monarch Butterflies in North America. As of last year, their numbers had reached an all time low, but this year — due in part to efforts by butterfly advocates in Canada, the United States and Mexico — the winged wonders may be on the rebound.

Jian finds parallels between the movement of the monarchs and that of the environmentalists who seek to protect them — not to mention the planet we share.

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Suman esfuerzos para proteger a la Mariposa Monarca

September 29, 2014By
Suman esfuerzos para proteger a la Mariposa Monarca

Los tres niveles de gobierno, instituciones académicas, de investigación y sociedad civil, se comprometieron a unir esfuerzos tendientes a proteger el fenómeno de la Mariposa Monarca y a pugnar porque aumente el número de lepidópteros que año con año llega a los santuarios de Michoacán y del Estado de México.

Al inaugurarse el Segundo Encuentro Internacional de Investigación y Conservación de la Mariposa Monarca, el Comisionado Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas, Luis Fueyo…

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John Pleasants: Solutions for loss of Monarch butterfly populations

September 29, 2014By
John Pleasants: Solutions for loss of Monarch butterfly populations

I would like to expand upon Dennis Keeney’s fine column of Sept. 21 on the plight of the monarch butterfly.

I have worked on these butterflies for 15 years, and Mr. Keeney cites my research in his article. He notes that the population crashed in 2012 and 2013 because of bad weather, but by that time, the population had already declined by 65 percent since 1999.

Our data show that this decline was primarily due to the loss of milkweeds in the Midwest, the primary breeding area for monarchs.

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