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November 06, 2023

39 Minutes

Guests: Isis Howard

Tags: butterflies, community science, endangered species, climate,

There are not many insects as well-known, and as well-loved, as the monarch butterfly. Monarchs are characterized by their beautiful bright colors and their awe-inspiring migration. Unfortunately, monarch populations have been in decline for many years — but have you ever wondered how we know that? Tracking and estimating the population of any animal is tricky, even big ones like bears and eagles. How do you do it for an insect that moves across North America? 

Guest Information

Isis Howard is an Endangered Species Conservation Biologist with the Xerces Society. Isis works to protect the monarch butterfly in the western states and manages several community science projects, including the annual Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, New Year's Count, and the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper.


Matthew: Welcome to Bug Banter with the Xerces Society where we explore the world of invertebrates and how to help these extraordinary animals.

Rachel: Welcome everyone. I'm Rachel in Missoula, Montana.

Matthew: And I'm Matthew in Portland, Oregon.

Rachel: There are not many insects as well known and as well loved as the monarch butterfly. Monarchs are characterized by their beautiful bright colors and their awe-inspiring migration. Unfortunately, monarch populations have been in decline for many years. But have you ever wondered how we know that

Rachel: Tracking and estimating the population of any animal is tricky, even big ones like bears and eagles. How do you do it for an insect that moves across North America? 

Rachel: Today to answer these questions, we are joined by Isis Howard, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist with the Xerces Society. Isis works to protect the monarch butterfly in the western states and manages several community science projects, including the annual Western Monarch Thanksgiving count, the New Year's count, and the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper. 

Rachel: Welcome, Isis. We are so excited to have you with us.

Isis: Thanks so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be here and talk about all things monarchs with y'all.

Matthew: Yeah, so to start Isis. We know there are two populations of monarchs in the US, the Western and the Eastern. What makes them different?

Isis: This is a great question because so many folks when they think about monarch butterflies and that iconic migration think of the eastern population, which travels from Canada down to Mexico and overwinters in the forests of Mexico.

Isis: But in this podcast episode with me, we're going to be talking about the Western monarch population, which actually breeds, migrates, and overwinters west of the Rocky Mountains in the western United States.

Isis: So these butterflies will breed and nectar, reproducing on milkweed in the northern western United States, so like Oregon, Washington, maybe up into Canada a little bit, some areas of central California and into Idaho, Nevada, Montana, but when they over winter, these monarchs, these western monarchs are actually over wintering along the coast of California.

Isis: So many people in California don't realize that we have this absolutely incredible phenomenon happening along our coastline. There are overwintering sites and we'll get into those a little bit later. There are overwintering sites between Mendocino, California, all the way down to San Diego and then into northern Baja California.

Rachel: Thank you for that great overview. So this might be a basic question, but why do monarchs migrate?

Isis: Monarchs migrate because they — you know I've never had to simplify the answer to this question. Monarchs utilize a range of different habitats and ecosystems to best support their life cycle. So when we think about butterflies we kind of immediately go to that amazing metamorphosis that we learn about in, you know, like elementary school or middle school. 

Isis: And so Monarch butterflies have a really special relationship with a specific plant to start things off. So monarch butterflies rely on the milkweed host plant to reproduce, meaning that adult monarch butterflies need to lay their eggs on a specific type of plant, the asclepias species or genus.

Isis: And so they will seek out the ranges of the, you know, where milkweed is going to grow in order to reproduce. And so where milkweed is growing, we often see monarchs breeding and reproducing. During that time we have the adult monarchs nectaring on other blooming plants. 

Isis: And it needs to be warm enough to support their flight. There needs to be enough open space and grasslands to support the plants that they're relying on and then these caterpillars are growing extremely fast munching only on milkweed plants growing 2,000 times their size in the span of just a week and a half or 2 weeks. 

Isis: And so again, we're kind of relying on some of this, these temperatures we see in spring, summer, and fall. And so that's why we see monarchs migrating up and inland like north and inland during the spring, summer, and then in fall they're migrating back down to either Mexico for the eastern monarch population and it's the coast of California for the western monarch population to seek out these specially protected groves along the coast that we call overwintering groves or overwintering sites.

Isis: These are areas that protect the adult monarch butterflies. So we're not really expecting to see eggs or caterpillars or chrysalis there. These sites protect the adult monarch butterflies and these protected tree groves along the coast which kind of buffer them from freezing during cold winter spells it protects them from rain big wind and lightning storms during the winter. 

Isis: So they're seeking that protective area the ocean kind of buffers the temperature there and so that's maybe why we see them migrate down to these specific areas for fall and winter. And then the cycle continues in the spring they leave again and migrate north and upward following my great south and westward.

Matthew: Yeah, thank you. I mean, in the introduction, we said that you were going to help us answer the question of how we can estimate the number of monarchs and get a picture of how the population has changed over time. Now we know that during the summer they're spread across the lower 48 states and into Canada.

Matthew: Just the other day I was like, well, how many square miles are there in like the western range and it was like more than 3 quarters of a million square miles just in the kind of core states. And you know, when it’s that far, it's impossible to count them, right?

Matthew: But what you just described about the migration and the return, where they cluster only a few places for the winter, is a very different situation. Now we know that the Western Monarch Count happens at Thanksgiving and in the new year. So I mean, can you tell us when this effort began and who started it?

Isis: Yes, so the actual community science effort to track overwintering monarchs and get that post-check on or that census data on their population during the winter months started in 1997. It was founded by a few incredible folks, including Mia Monroe, who still helps coordinate the effort today.

Isis: So it has been going on for, you know, over 25 years, and what we found is that the Western monarch population has declined by more than 95% since the 1980s which is a really significant decline in migratory monarchs overwintering at these specific groves.

Isis: And like Matthew mentioned earlier, monarchs are returning to the same groves every year. They're not the same butterflies but they are the same groves. So we think about the Pacific Grove butterfly sanctuary, the Pismo Beach Butterfly Sanctuary, or the Natural Bridges Butterfly Sanctuary.

Isis: These are a couple of the sites that monarchs tend to return to year after year. And with the help of community scientists and partners, we're able to send local volunteers out to these known sites and have them go out with binoculars. They received some training on how to count butterflies, and how to identify them high up in the trees, and they're actually creating estimates for us for the number of butterflies they estimate overwintering in that grove.

Isis: And then what we do is we tally those numbers for all of the western overwintering sites and we come up with that final Thanksgiving count tally, or the New Year's count tally that some of you may have been familiar with or even maybe you've participated in the Western Monarch Count too, if you're listening in. But this is one of the primary ways we track the status of the western monarch population.

Rachel: That's amazing. So you have these community scientists going out and actually just using binoculars to count them on these trees.

Isis: Yes, I know. So it's a little different from the eastern monarchs. Those folks are using aerial footage of the fur forest because there are so many butterflies overwintering in Mexico that it's just not feasible to count them with binoculars, but on the West Coast we see you know several 1,000 to a couple 100,000 each year typically and so we are actually able to send volunteers out to get on the ground estimates. Really incredible, absolutely lovely sights and experiences for all those who do participate in our projects.

Matthew: Yeah, it's amazing. It's kind of inspiring to have a chance to go and see them in such a place. I mean you've already mentioned binoculars and volunteers. I mean, do these folks need any particular skills? You know, any special interest to get them started.

Isis: You know, so I'll mention a couple of things that I'll start with the Western Monarch Count, which again is that Thanksgiving count survey effort and New Year's count survey effort of overwintering butterflies. It does require a little bit of skill and training. In order to compare count estimates across years, we do ask that our volunteer community scientists follow a standardized protocol.

Isis: So we ask that they survey in the early mornings before monarchs take flight. Little fun fact, monarchs can start flying when the temperatures exceed 55°F, but when it's below that they're not really able to fly. And so because we're trying to capture that estimate of clustered butterflies and it's really hard to track butterflies across hundreds or thousands of miles during the migration or maybe just a few miles on their flying about during the day, we do ask again that they survey right in the morning.

Isis: We have standardized data sheets. And you would think the flashy orange and black of the monarchs would really stand out and that's true when they're flying or nectaring. But when monarchs have their wings closed and they are all clustering in trees, they kind of look like dead leaves, or one volunteer said they look like potato chips up in the tree. And so depending on the tree species that they're clustering in, they really blend in.

Isis: And some of the sites they might be, you know, 10, 12 feet up or even higher and so it does take some skill to kind of, I like to say develop those monarch goggles, to learn to see them,  but once you do once you get the hang of it, it's fairly easy. So we just asked that volunteers train with experienced volunteers or we have regional coordinators based in each county to get familiar with the protocol, with the surveys, and have some support their first year or two monitoring sites.

Rachel: So Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it might be too late for people to sign up this year, we're assuming. So there are ways in which our listeners can contribute to tracking or understanding the western monarch population without participating in this Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count.

Isis: Yeah, so if folks want to participate outside of the Thanksgiving count or New Year's count, they can participate in one of our other projects called the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper. If you see a monarch or a milkweed plant, any life stage, we highly encourage you to snap a photo with your camera, with your smartphone, and upload it to either the iNaturalist app and then tag the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper project or you can upload your photo to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper website.

Isis: And this really helps scientists, researchers, and conservationists figure out the landscapes and zones that monarchs are utilizing throughout the rest of the year. So spring, summer, and fall.

Matthew: You said earlier that it was like a 95% decline.

Isis: Yes, yeah. Over 95%.

Matthew: Which is shocking. Makes you stop and think because I think the monarch is one of those well-known butterflies.

Isis: Yeah, and I think too, Matthew, in the past couple of years we've seen a slight uptick in the western monarch population, and by no means should we not celebrate this like that's amazing. We're so happy to see more monarchs in the landscape. You know, more monarchs means more opportunities to breed and keep building that that population up again. But, yeah, in 2020, we saw a really steep decline. There were only 2,000 butterflies counted at the overwintering sites in California. The last couple of years we've had a couple 100,000.

Isis: But again, back in the 80’s we were seeing low millions and even more before that. So we just want to be careful about shifting baselines and not normalizing the lower numbers we see today. Ideally, we'd love to continue supporting and protecting that large iconic migratory population on the west coast.

Matthew: Yeah, that's actually why I tried to figure out how many square miles there were in the western monarch range. Cause it's like, oh, 300,000 monarchs, but what does that mean when they spread out? You know, it's several square miles per monarch which is, you know, so sad.

Matthew: I was just wondering what might be causing this decline or possibly, how this data helps us with conservation, in knowing that there's that decline in knowing how many monarchs there are? Does that help us with trying to recover the populations?

Isis: Yeah, so the Western Monarch Count effort helps us track that overall population. To just generally see how many monarchs are going to kick off the breeding season. How many monarchs are overwintering along the coast versus remaining maybe as resident monarchs in Bay Area or Southern California?

Isis: We're starting to see some shifts in behavior. Sometimes monarchs are no longer migrating in certain areas, so climate change might have to do with that. So getting these estimates really helps us track the big picture. 

Isis: But what our volunteers also do that doesn't get a lot of attention is they go out to these over wintering sites to count butterflies but also to assess the overwintering habitat, which is really critical to protecting the monarch butterfly. And so these volunteers and partners are out there noting down, you know, the health of the grove, how the trees are doing, is there a lot of tree disease or dying trees with the big droughts in California, we saw a lot of tree stress.

Isis: And monarchs really like eucalyptus trees in the West and so eucalyptus trees are not well suited for really dry climates like that.

Matthew: I was just going to say that the eucalyptus is not native, right? 

Isis: Correct. Yeah, it's not native. It's one of those species that land managers are kind of targeting for file fire fuels reduction, especially in California, so it's one of those management topics that we're trying to navigate carefully because we have to balance the needs of, you know, community safety and all this and fires with the needs of like monarchs and other species that might rely on them in winter. So it's a little bit tricky.

Isis: But yeah, so our volunteers are kind of assessing the habitats. They're noting what nectar sources are available,  making sure that development doesn't occur at a site just because of ignorance. Like a lot of people really want to do the right thing and are so happy when they find out there are monarchs there, but to teach them that there are monarchs there takes a little bit of communication sometimes since they are so difficult to see and they're not as active during the winter time so you're not again seeing those big flashes of orange against the sky.

Isis: So yeah, that's kind of how the counts help but the main factors of western monarch decline overall include habitat loss, we're talking about overwintering and breeding and migratory habitat loss, pesticide use, which again includes herbicides and insecticides, fungicides.

Isis: Climate change is also probably contributing, making things harder for monarchs with more severe and frequent winter storms, extreme temperatures, and drought, and other factors like disease and predation may also play a role.

Rachel: That's really interesting. I was just thinking about climate change and monarchs. I did not know that they couldn't fly below a particular temperature and they're not humans — they can't put a jacket on. I was imagining these monarchs putting on these little monarch jackets when they get cold and thinking about the implications of climate change on wildlife and what that means for them, especially sensitive species like the monarch. 

Rachel: I did have a follow-up question. It's really interesting about eucalyptus. I knew they weren't native to California. Do you know how long ago they were introduced and what did monarchs use before the Eucalyptus tree became established in California?

Isis: Yeah, this is a great question. And you know, I don't know all the details, but what I can say is that a lot of eucalyptus trees and Monterey Cyprus were brought over to serve as sort of wind rows, for quick growing, they're just like really quick growing trees. So that had served some of the first settlers of California when they arrived. 

Isis: And so we do see a lot of groves that were established as wind rows around agricultural areas or residences back in, you know, like the 1900’s early- and mid-1900’s and so some of these groves from like the 60’s are starting to get really stressed and they're starting to collapse and so we're working on projects to include native tree species in some of these groves to help facilitate some of the regeneration at these sites, but in a more conservation-focused way.

Rachel: And what are some of those native, trees that monarchs do use?

Isis: Oh yeah, so we have seen monarch butterflies utilize redwood trees. We've seen them on sycamore trees. We've seen them on some oak trees. There are different pine species, Monterey Cyprus and Monterey Pine are native to certain areas of California, but they have expanded in their footprint to be in the native region. So, we can get super nitty-gritty with it. I don't know how you want to define native plants, but yeah. There are quite a few trees that monarchs will utilize but primarily we see monarchs on eucalyptus, pines, cypresses, and redwoods. I would say those are the big ones.

Matthew: Yeah. I do remember, reading about research a few years ago that indicated that the monarchs were given the option they preferred the native species to the eucalyptus. So it may be that they use eucalyptus preferentially because they don't have the alternatives in some places.

Isis: Yeah, that's interesting. I don't know if I read that study, but I would say that there's a really cool private site. So, unfortunately, it's not open to the public, but it was one of the largest or actually it was the largest site a couple of years ago and it had a couple of types of pine, redwood, and eucalyptus in the in the grove and most of the monarchs were on the Redwood tree, but there were still some on the non-native Eucalyptus and actually this was a non-native pine tree as well that they were on at that site. But, they seem to prefer the redwood given the option at that site. 

Matthew: Yeah, it's just interesting because I know that there's a big debate going on around Eucalyptus. I mean in California in general but specifically within the monarch sites.

Matthew: I mean, moving on a little bit. I mean, beyond monitoring and reporting observations, I mean, what else can people do to help monarchs? You know, not everybody can get to the coast to see the monarchs or help count. I mean, is there something that they can do wherever they are?

Isis: Yeah, so I'll just plug again if you see a monarch on any life stage or a milkweed plant, please snap a photo and post it to iNaturalist or the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper website. We pull that data not only for our Xerces projects, but we work with partners who host monarch blitzes or milkweed blitzes and they love pulling in information and photos from iNaturalist. So if you haven't downloaded the app yet. I highly recommend it. Only takes a couple of minutes to snap a photo and post it if you do have access to that technology.

Isis: Other ways that people can help beyond participating in community science include planting native plants that support butterflies such as the host plant milkweed, also flowers that support monarchs by providing food for their caterpillars, and nectar for the adult butterflies along their migration.

Isis: Xerces has some really wonderful free plant lists that you can look up on for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. If this is of interest to you, try to come up with a plant list for your garden or community garden or however you are you going to plant them that includes nectar plants that bloom at a variety of times or through a variety of seasons.

Isis: So make sure you've got some spring blooming plants and some summer blooming plants and fall and winter blooming plants in there so that monarchs and other native pollinators can access that all year round.

Isis: Another thing that people can do is reduce their reliance on pesticides by eliminating their use around their homes, schools, and workplaces. Supporting farms that use fewer pesticides such as farms that are organic or use IPM, integrated pest management strategies. And advocating for changes in their community that might regard pesticides.

Isis: Another thing is folks can get involved in butterfly pollinator advocacy. So if you want you can get other people excited about insects. Become an advocate. A lot of species need our help, not just monarchs. You can write to your legislators to get support for wildlife bills, and stronger regulations for pesticides, creating habitat in your communities, etc.

Isis: So those are a few of the key action items I'd recommend for folks who might want to get involved. Do you have a green thumb? We've got plant resources for you. I know of a few people up in the Bay Area who grow native milkweed from seed and then give it out to their local communities. So if you have a green thumb and you know some of your neighbors would be interested but maybe need a little help, maybe you can start a couple of extras and hand them out for the holidays.

Rachel: I'm glad you brought up milkweed again because not all milkweed is created equal, right? And I know in California, especially there's some depending on where you live, there are places that it's recommended to be planted and not to be planted. Can you give any more specific guidelines specifically for California with milkweed?

Isis: Yeah, this is a great question. I get a lot of questions from the public and our volunteers about this. So if you do want to establish milkweed and nectar habitat, what I'd recommend is... a couple of things actually. So one, you're going to want to choose a native milkweed species. So the best tools to figure out which melted species are native to your region include Calscape and Calflora if you're in California state.

Isis: Xerces also has a western monarch and a native milkweed resource page on that you can check out and that has different zones with different native milkweed plants for each zone.

Isis: So if you live outside of California, check out Xerces resource pages. Again, they'll be native milkweed for western monarchs plant lists and you'll be able to find some of those milkweed tools.

Isis: The second thing I recommend is finding a local plant nursery. So you could have native milkweed that is sourced and grown up in Northern California but if you're in Southern California even if you're using that same species like narrowleaf milkweed, you might want to try sourcing from a local native plant nursery based in Southern California from the plants that have grown and arrived in Southern California, kind of like ecoregion-specific native milkweed plants.

Isis: And so what I recommend is using our milkweed finder tool. That's on as well. You can go on to the milkweed finder and it'll connect you with local nurseries that Xerces meet approved sort of growing methods that are not only more safe or pollinator friendly (so again, like limited pesticide use), but they're also, maybe region specific as well. So I really recommend that tool for finding those seeds or those plant starts if you do want to get involved in milkweed propagation.

Isis: And then in terms of where to actually put it in the ground. What I recommend is checking again, Calscapes and Calflora have these range maps. So you can find where milkweed has grown throughout the state in its native range. You can visually see that and check to make sure your address or the address you want to plant them at is included in that range.

Isis: This is also true for some of those other regions outside of California from that tool I mentioned before on the native milkweed webpage on So you just want to make sure where you're planting is within that range map for the native range of that milkweed species. And if you live along the coast near overwintering populations, we suggest that you avoid planting milkweed next to the overwintering site.

Isis: Planting milkweed directly adjacent to the sites, is definitely a no-go. Underneath the sites, no go. We really want these monarchs to conserve their energy and by planting milkweed, especially with these climatic changes we're experiencing, it might cue the monarchs to actually start reproducing when we typically see them overwintering and saving energy. And so these butterflies, the super generation that overwinters has to survive, you know, anywhere from 4 to 9 months, save all their energy, they have to survive all these storms, do two migrations.

Isis: We really want to eliminate as many distractions and potential risks as possible. And so we that those are a couple of the reasons that we suggest not planting milkweed underneath or near the overwintering sites. So a way to see if overwintering sites are near you is to look on the website and we actually have a really cool interactive map that shows the known overwintering sites along the California coast.

Isis: So if you're curious about where monarchs might be over wintering or if you're close to those sites, go check that out. It's a really cool resource and that'll again lead you to some of that community science information if you are interested in getting involved.

Matthew: Awesome. That's, yeah, planting milkweed is definitely a good thing to do, but as you say, it's not quite as simple as getting a plant and putting it in the ground. There are a few more things to think about if we want to make it as beneficial as possible to the monarchs.

Isis: Yeah, and this ties in with what we were talking about earlier with the migration. So again, we typically see milkweed kind of inland a bit more than overwintering on the coast. So we don't often see milkweed growing, you know, within a one to five mile radius of the coast. There are a couple of exceptions like Bay Area, but again, just check the range maps and when in doubt, you know, reach out to a local conservation organization doing good work in your community and you can ask them if you could participate in some restoration volunteer projects and you know, that's a great way to start too.

Matthew: So I mean, the big question is, is there hope for these butterflies? I mean, are we seeing progress? Do we have a way of judging whether all that amazing work that people are doing across California, across the west, to bring the habitat in? It's actually worthwhile, isn't it?

Isis: It's certainly worthwhile and I think the last few years have really inspired and encouraged people when we've seen that uptick from you know 2,000 butterflies to 200,000 to 300,000. That jump has been really encouraging. It is not recovery. We're going to need a few more years to figure out, you know if monarch populations are just bouncing around. It might continue to go down or maybe this is the start of recovery. So yeah there's hope. It's kind of an all hands on deck effort.

Isis: The more people we can get involved in protecting and conserving monarchs and their habitats the better. So I'm just really thrilled that we're doing this podcast and that folks who are listening are excited and want to get engaged. Because yeah, there's hope, but monarchs are one of those species that again utilize so many different environments, so many different habitats, they span all North America and now beyond.

Isis: So we just really need people from all different communities to get involved, whether you're in rural areas, suburban areas, urban areas, we need you to participate. And just help support monarchs and native pollinators if we're to really see some of those actions come to fruition and help revive the population. 

Isis: Again, we want to stay away from the term recovery just because it takes several years to be able to label a species in recovery and a lot of species that are heading down that kind of extinction spiral, especially invertebrates, do tend to like bounce around and we see fluctuations in their population. And again, we have witnessed that 95% decline over the past few decades, so we're not out of the woods yet. But so many people are getting involved across North America.

Isis: I'm so just encouraged by all the working groups that have popped up, all the community organizers, all the community scientists, advocates, educators, we're involving kids in this work. I mean it's just absolutely amazing and so big thank you to everyone who's stepping up.

Matthew: Because the fact that the monarch moves around and migrates means that it actually connects all of us in one kind of effort to try and support it wherever it is.

Isis: Yeah, I love that. I love working with monarchs for that reason too. Being able to focus on supporting monarchs, but by doing so we're also helping all these other native pollinators. I mean that just makes me feel so good.

Rachel: Well, thank you, Isis, for your work as well. The job that you do is extremely important. And we're going to end here with my favorite question. What inspired you to get into this line of work? What got you involved with these butterflies?

Isis: Okay, well. You know, I think there are two things that got me involved. One was growing up in Sonoma County. I remember seeing these big orange and black butterflies and these big yellow and black butterflies. So I saw swallowtails and monarchs growing up as a child for years. And those were the big butterflies I'd, you know, chase around the garden or want to attract when I planted little flowers with my mom. And so that kind of made up my childhood. I was always interested in nature and all that. You know, butterflies. How can you not love them? 

Isis: So I had this appreciation for them and then slowly over the years, I started not seeing them as frequently. And nowadays it's you know, a big deal. I get so excited if I see one or two each year in my garden. Whereas I was seeing them, you know, several times a week when I was younger. So just being able to have that personal experience of seeing them less frequently, that really drove home this sort of desire to help in whatever way I could and I'm one of those people. I love gardening. I love connecting with people. I love participating in different communities. That's just personally interesting to me and very fulfilling.

Isis: Pollinators seem like a good one, like I mentioned, and like Matthew mentioned, monarchs are one of those species that connects so many people. So maybe as a mixed race person too, I was really interested in working with this beautiful iconic butterfly species that unites folks across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. And it's prompted me to look into my own personal heritage and all that a bit more. So there's that aspect.

Isis: And then, you know, I went to college down in central California in San Luis Obispo, which is one of the hot spots for overwintering monarchs and that was the first time I saw clustering butterflies at the Pismo Beach Butterfly Sanctuary and so that drove, that was the one that, you know, put the bow on, I was like, okay. I love monarch butterflies. I've got to get involved somehow. Just absolute magic. 

Matthew: And it and now you are.

Isis: Now I am and I get to share that with other people which is really amazing. I think one of my favorite parts of this job is seeing the faces of people when they get to go out to their first overwintering site and witness those butterfly clusters.

Rachel: That's really amazing. Thank you for just painting that image. I just imagine a little Isis running around in her garden and I think that's why a lot of us do this work because the next generations, we want them to be able to experience that. We want these animals to be around and I think you've really inspired a lot of people. You've definitely inspired me today.

Isis: Thank you.

Rachel: So thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing all of this wonderful information. And we hope to have you back again soon. Thank you to our listeners as well for joining us.

Isis: Thank you so much for having me, Rachel and Matthew. I'm thrilled to be here doing this work with all of you. 

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