Public assistance needed to report wintering monarchs

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Now we need your help again.

Last winter, volunteers from the Southeast and Gulf states provided more than 5,800 monarch sightings. This winter, the partnership of universities, agencies and other organizations called Monarchs Overwintering in Southeastern States is calling for continued public participation in reporting sightings.

Sonia Altizer, professor of ecology at the University of Georgia and director of Project Monarch Health, said the information may help scientists determine whether these iconic but declining butterflies “can overwinter as non-breeding adults in the southern United States and how that might affect future population numbers. “The monitoring will also help document how winter breeding activity might affect annual migration to Mexico.

Understanding migration and wintering behavior is crucial for the conservation of Monarchs, a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Thousands of monarchs cross the south each fall en route to the wintering grounds of central Mexico. In the spring, this eastern population of the butterfly returns to the United States and Canada to breed.

But not all monarchs migrate to Mexico. Observations by volunteers over the past two decades have helped scientists better understand how and why some monarchs breed throughout the winter in the southern United States. Mexico.

The goal this winter is to collect more data for a growing partnership that has expanded to include organizations such as Florida Natural Areas Inventory and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.

Gabriela Garrison of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said the monarch is a species in greatest need of conservation in the North Carolina Wildlife Action Plan, as in the Action Plans many other states. “It is therefore essential to monitor overwintering populations and learn more about their behavior. “

The public is encouraged to report sightings of monarchs from December 1 to March 1 in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

Sightings are entered into Journey North’s online data portal, where they are transformed into real-time cartographic visualizations of Monarch migration and reproduction. Journey North is an organization designed to engage people across North America in tracking wildlife migration and seasonal changes.

Program coordinator Nancy Sheehan said the public has long been involved in scientific discoveries. “Journey North is delighted to provide a platform to engage citizen scientists in this targeted monitoring effort. “

Susan Meyers, co-chair of Monarchs Across Georgia, agreed. “Volunteers are essential to this effort. If you enjoy being outdoors and exploring your local ecosystem, this is an easy activity that can be done on your own or with your family.

Wildlife biologist Anna Yellin of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said project partners are grateful to all who reported sightings last winter. “When we come together as a community like we have done with this effort, we have a better chance of protecting the monarch butterfly for future generations.”

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

  • Step 1: Create a free account at Journeynorth.org/reg.
  • Step 2: Learn how to report sightings of monarchs at Journeynorth.org/monarchs.
  • Step 3: From December 1 to March 1, submit monarch sightings to Journeynorth.org/sightings.


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