monarch conservation


Monarch - Xerces Society

Working to Conserve Monarchs from Coast to Coast

Published on June 21, 2019

The migration of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus plexippus) is an awe-inspiring sight that heralds the changing seasons across much of North America. Sadly, these inspiring migrations have experienced significant declines in the past few decades. The Xerces Society is working across the U.S. to conserve this beloved species, and there are a number of ways you can help!


Managing Invertebrate-Friendly Gardens

Published on June 19, 2019

Many Xerces Society members create wildlife gardens that are particularly hospitable to invertebrates, and among them are some wonderful examples. I recently spoke with Bert and Betty Feingold, Lenora Larson, and Dennis Krusac and Jacqueline Belwood to find out more about how these dedicated gardeners care for insects in their own backyards.


New iNaturalist Project Makes it Easier to Submit Data to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper

Published on June 7, 2019

Now you can submit data to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper using the iNaturalist app on a smartphone or tablet (iOS and Android are both supported). This new way of submitting data makes it easier to share photos and locality data—and we need all hands on deck this season, to better understand the hurdles facing the imperiled western monarch population!


Monarch and golden soldier beetle on thistle

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – May 2019

Published on May 30, 2019

May’s featured staff share stories of building pollinator habitat that will also support monarchs—one project on a farm in Iowa, and the other in a park in Missouri.


How to Support Monarch Butterfly Conservation—During Earth Week and Beyond!

Published on April 27, 2019

Helping the monarch back to full health isn’t going to be easy or quick, but we can’t stand by and do nothing. If we all plant a small patch of milkweed and nectar plants, and all think about how we can change our actions to make things better for monarchs, together we can transform the landscape to allow the monarch to rebound—and give our children the gift of watching orange wings flap in the sunshine.


Announcing the 2019 DeWind Awardees

Published on April 3, 2019

The Xerces Society is happy to announce the 2019 Dewind awardees: Niranjana Krishnan, a PhD candidate at Iowa State University, and Molly Wiebush, a master’s student at Florida State University.


Community Scientists Can Help Support Imperiled Western Monarchs

Published on March 12, 2019

We encourage everyone to take some time while hiking in the California coast range, California Central Valley, and the rest of the West, to help researchers by submitting any and all monarch and milkweed observations this year to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper website.


Mexico monarchs

Photo Essay: Trinational Monarch Meeting and Exploring Mexico’s Monarch Overwintering Sites

Published on March 7, 2019

Xerces Society Endangered Species Conservation Biologist and Western Monarch Lead Emma Pelton recounts her recent experience in Mexico with this photo essay.


New Year’s Count of Western Monarchs Confirms Decline, Trends Seen in Previous Years

Published on February 5, 2019

Overall, the count data revealed an average decrease of 38% between the Thanksgiving and New Year’s counts.


Monarch overwintering in California

Monarch Butterflies in Western North America in Jeopardy

Published on January 17, 2019

Population of monarchs overwintering in California at lowest level ever recorded Media Contacts: Emma Pelton, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist; emma.pelton@xerces.org, (971) 533-7245 Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Program Director; sarina.jepsen@xerces.org, (971) 244-3727 PORTLAND, Ore.; Thursday, 1/17/19—The population of monarch butterflies overwintering in California has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded. Surveys done by volunteers with Read more …


Monarch overwintering in California

Record Low Number of Overwintering Monarch Butterflies in California—They Need Your Help!

Published on

We urge you to join us and our colleagues in the western monarch science and conservation community in taking meaningful, swift action to help save western monarchs.


Prairie wildflowers

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – December 2018

Published on December 17, 2018

December’s featured staff hail from Iowa and Minnesota, and have been making significant impacts in their respective states by educating farmers and other members of the public, helping to restore and build new habitat, and pushing for policies that support pollinators and other beneficial insects.


Monarch overwintering in California

Early Thanksgiving Counts Show a Critically Low Monarch Population in California

Published on November 29, 2018

The California overwintering population has been reduced to less than 0.5% of its historical size, and has declined by 86% compared to 2017. While western monarchs are facing unprecedented challenges right now, there is still hope that we can recover the population if we work quickly, strategically, and together.


Monarch flying over showy milkweed, Oregon

Western Monarch Numbers Expected to Be Low this Year

Published on November 15, 2018

You may be asking “What can I do to help the monarch?” Besides protecting habitat, avoiding pesticide use, and planting gardens, another way is to contribute monarch and milkweed data to Xerces-led citizen science efforts—namely, the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count and the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper.


Keep Monarchs Wild!

Published on September 11, 2018

Instead of rearing—which is risky and unproven in helping monarchs—we should focus on more effective ways to conserve these glorious wild animals. Our tactics should address the reasons the species is in trouble to begin with. We can do this through taking action to protect natural habitat; to plant native milkweed and flowers; avoid pesticides; support wildlife-friendly, local, and organic agriculture; contribute to research efforts via citizen science; and organize ourselves to push for policy changes.


Lincoln Brower

Lincoln Brower: A Life Well Spent

Published on July 31, 2018

Remembering a ground-breaking monarch researcher, a passionate advocate for monarchs, and a beloved member of the conservation community.


Tropical Milkweed – a No Grow?

Published on April 19, 2018

Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a non-native milkweed that has exploded in popularity in response to the demand for milkweed. It is simple to propagate, allowing growers to rapidly produce the plant for quick sale. The plant is also attractive, both to humans and monarchs, providing flowers and lush green foliage throughout the growing season Read more …


Second New Year’s Count Supports Monarchs Movement Between Sites

Published on March 7, 2018

The Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count provides a long-running record of the number of monarchs overwintering in California—including the steep decline of recent decades. Volunteers and biologists who take part in the Thanksgiving Count have been invaluable in monitoring the monarch population each fall for over twenty years. Last year, another count was added Read more …


New Guidelines for Protecting California’s Butterfly Groves

Published on November 8, 2017

The fact that the monarch butterfly migrates is well-known. The tale of this seemingly fragile creature winging its way across hundreds or thousands of miles enthralls children and adults alike, and has led to a massive level of interest by people everywhere in growing milkweed and other flowers to support this annual cycle. But monarchs Read more …


Monarch butterflies disappearing from western North America

Published on September 8, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Cheryl Schultz, associate professor of biological sciences, Washington State University Vancouver, WA (503) 307-5807, schultzc@wsu.edu Elizabeth Crone, professor of biology, Tufts University, Medford, MA, (406) 531-3498, elizabeth.crone@tufts.edu Sarina Jepsen, endangered species program director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Portland, OR, (971) 244-3727, sarina.jepsen@xerces.org Monarch butterflies disappearing from western North America Read more …


Harvesting Milkweed Seed: a Pod and a Plan

Published on September 7, 2017

As with comedy, harvesting milkweed seed is all about timing. Too soon and the seed will be immature and won’t germinate, too late and it will have either blown away or involve a flossy mess you’ll need to deal with before sowing. Here we’ll explore some methods of harvesting milkweed seed, separating the truth from Read more …