Joan Mosenthal DeWind Award

Supporting the future of Lepidoptera conservation

The DeWind Awards are given to students who are engaged in research leading to a university degree related to Lepidoptera conservation and who intend to continue to work in this field. All proposals must be written by the student researcher. Proposed research should have a clear connection to Lepidoptera conservation and must be completed within one year from receiving funds. Applicants may be graduate (masters or PhD) or undergraduate students; however, please note that all but one awardee, to date, have been pursuing graduate research. Applications from countries outside the United States will be considered but must be written in English, and international applicant work cannot involve work in the United States.

2019 Joan Mosenthal Dewind Award Recipients

Assessing the risk of insecticides to monarch butterflies

Niranjana Krishnan – Iowa State University

Niranjana Krishnan, 2019 Dewind Awardee

Both the western and eastern monarch populations are in severe decline. To stem this decline, it is essential to establish milkweed breeding habitat across different land cover types. This includes agricultural landscapes, where foliar and systemic insecticides are used. This research project will evaluate the toxicity and exposure of agricultural insecticides to monarch eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults. Mortality and sublethal effects will be estimated at different distances from treated fields and incorporated into a landscape-scale model to predict monarch population numbers. Results from this project will help identify ideal locations for milkweed placements in agricultural landscapes.

The importance of small-scale fire refugia for butterfly communities in an old growth longleaf pine savanna

Molly Wiebush – Florida State University

Molly Wiebush, 2019 Dewind Awardee

Prescribed fire can be an important tool for maintaining the early seral stage habitats needed by butterflies and many other pollinators. While the effects of timing and frequency of fire on pollinators and their host plants have been studied, the effects of fire heterogeneity on butterflies is less well known. This research project will examine how the butterfly community in an old growth longleaf pine savanna responds to unburned patches within prescribed burns, including how adults use unburned patches, survival of larvae and pupae within these patches, and whether unburned patches change how butterfly flight periods and floral resources overlap. This information can improve the use of prescribed fire as a conservation tool for Lepidoptera and other species.

Joan Mosenthal DeWind’s Legacy

Joan Mosenthal DewindJoan Mosenthal DeWind was a pioneering member of the Xerces Society. A psychiatric social worker by profession, she was also an avid butterfly gardener and an accomplished amateur lepidopterist. Her contributions of time, organizational expertise, and financial support were essential to the early growth and success of the Xerces Society, and helped found a robust organization that continued to expand in the decades since and become a conservation leader. Joan also had a keen interest in young people, supporting what became the Young Entomologists’ Society. In Joan’s memory, Bill DeWind established this student research endowment fund. The Xerces Society administers two $3,750 awards each year for research into Lepidoptera conservation.

Learn More about the Dewind Award

Questions? Please review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

View previous award winners and associated publications.


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Program Features
Program Highlights
  • • The Xerces Society has awarded two $3,750 Joan M. DeWind awards for research into lepidoptera conservation
  • Butterfly-a-thon pledges raise $30 per species that Bob Pyle observes for butterfly conservation work
Additional Information
el segundo blue butterfly (Euphilotes bernardino allyni) by Larry Orsak