Monarch Watch – Are you ready???

By working together, across North America, three countries, Canada, the United States and Mexico, continue to support the Monarch Watch organization as they provide resources, data, scientific research and information about all things Monarchs. If you ask them, they would tell you it is citizen naturalists who are responsible for saving the Monarch butterfly, a species at risk in all three countries.

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Here is what thousands of Monarch Watch 'watchers' have helped them determine about the 2020 population: In terms of the timing of arrivals in the northeast, east of Toronto in Canada, and most of northern New England, the recolonization this year was the sixth lowest in the last 21 years. That said, this region, they say, has in the past produced more Monarchs than expected. The word is, overall, there should be plenty of Monarchs to tag this fall and there is a likelihood that the numbers this winter in Mexico will be higher than in 2019. So, good news! But how can you get involved to help? Well, there are three options. The first requires lots of time and some skills; the second, a medium amount of time and an interest in gardening; and the third, a minimal amount of time and a walk in nature. Read on to find out the best fit for you!

Big Commitment

Monarch Tagging

Scientist know a lot about the migration of Monarch butterflies, because they have received information about more than 2,000,000 monarchs over the years. Monarch tagging is an important tool that captures the overall dynamics of annual Monarch populations. Tags for the 2020 fall tagging season are available from Monarch Watch Shop online, where each purchase helps support Monarch Watch.

2020 datasheets and instructions are also available online.

Tagging should begin in early to mid-September north of 40N latitude. See the map and a table with expected peak migration dates.

Medium Commitment

Habitat Loss

To offset the loss of milkweeds and nectar sources, we need to create, conserve and protect Monarch butterfly habitats. You can help by creating "Monarch Waystations" in home gardens, at schools, businesses, parks, zoos, nature centers, along roadsides, and on other unused plots of land. Creating a Monarch Waystation can be as simple as adding milkweeds and nectar sources to existing gardens or maintaining natural habitats with milkweeds. No effort is too small to have a positive impact.

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Have you created a habitat for monarchs and other wildlife? If so, help support our conservation efforts by registering your habitat as an official Monarch Waystation today!

A quick online application will register your site and your habitat will be added to the online registry (mapped location will be approximate for privacy). You will receive a certificate bearing your name and your habitat's ID that can be used to look up its record. You may also choose to purchase a metal sign to display in your habitat to encourage others to get involved in Monarch conservation.

As of 24 July 2020, there have been 29,809 Monarch Waystation habitats registered with Monarch Watch! Texas holds the #1 spot with 2,451 habitats and Illinois (2,320), Michigan (2,233), California (1,909), Ohio (1,529), Virginia (1,379), Florida (1,324), Pennsylvania (1,322), Wisconsin (1,304) and Ontario (978) round out the top ten. Go Ontario!

Minor Commitment

Monarch Butterfly Blitz – Saturday August 22, 2020 – Flight of the Monarch Day

Take a part of the day to help your local Monarch population. Get outside for an hour or two on Saturday, August 22 for Flight of the Monarch Day. Go to a place where there is lots of milkweed (see identification fact sheets above) or nectar plants. A forest is not likely going to give you many Monarch sightings, just saying. Walk or ride your bike to the place—could be a park, meadow along a creek, a local trail, your backyard or a conservation area.

You can go out and collect data any time, but especially on Flight of the Monarch Day! Field Observation Forms can be completed and submitted to Mission Monarch, who will be collecting all the data submitted on that day and would love to get an accurate picture of where Monarchs are on that day—by all means start monitoring now, but please save some monitoring energy for August 22! You can submit as many reports as you like—the ID sheets included in this Blog post will help you identify Monarchs and milkweed correctly. They also show you some of the other cool things that live on milkweed that you may never have noticed before.

Count your blessings and then count the Monarch butterflies that you see. Share with us on Facebook, your number and approximate location. That’s it! Easy peasy.

Hopefully, you are a little more convinced that individuals like you can make a difference to local Monarch populations. Not to mention the mental and physical health benefits that come with getting out into nature and counting butterflies. Anyone can participate and, of course, you could visit more than one site if you like.

Thank you, a thousand Monarch butterflies, for reading this blog and we hope you take the Monarch challenge this month!

Healthy watersheds for today and tomorrow.

Our watershed is located on the traditional territory of the Williams Treaties First Nations, the Chippewas of Beausoleil, Georgina Island and Rama and the Mississaugas of Alderville, Curve lake, Hiawatha, Scugog Island. 

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