Monarch Watch Blog

2021 year-end summary

Friday, December 31st, 2021 at 11:59 pm by Jim Lovett
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Season’s Greetings from the staff at Monarch Watch!

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to our program in the last year. That support has enabled us to maintain and grow our programs and aid many people in their efforts to create habitats for monarchs. As you know, sustaining the migration is a massive undertaking due to continuing loss of milkweed/monarch habitats. We’ve distributed over one million plants through our Milkweed Market and free milkweeds programs since 2014 but we need to do more. We expanded our efforts in California this past season and distributed about 3,800 plugs of Asclepias fascicularis, the most common hostplant used by monarchs in that state. Our ambitious goal for California in 2022 is the distribution of at least 36,000 milkweed plugs. We will be working with other non-governmental organizations as well as state and federal agencies to find homes for these milkweeds.

Although adjustments to Covid-19 continued with the cancelation of our Spring and Fall Open House events this year, we were able to hold our fall tagging event at the Baker Wetlands to the delight of many families. We had a wonderful day in the great outdoors and there were smiles all around.

The newly developed Monarch Watch mobile app will make it easier for many taggers to record butterflies as they are tagged and submit data electronically. The beta testing of the app has gone well, and we hope to launch it for general use during the 2022 tagging season. We will have much more to say about this in the coming months. As we mentioned last year, two papers have been published recently on the results of the tagging. The data analysis is continuing and two additional papers are well underway. It’s a slow process – lots of data!

This past year, to expand our ability to distribute more milkweeds for restoration projects, we worked closely with the KU Endowment Association to raise funds through the annual “One Day. One KU.” campaign held in February. Hundreds of people responded with contributions sufficient to enable us to distribute an additional 28,000 milkweed plugs and clearly demonstrated the widespread support for monarch and pollinator conservation.

Time flies when you are having fun and that’s also true if you have a vision and a mission and are driven to see it through. That may be fairly said of the Monarch Watch team. Although we often wondered if we would survive financially from one year to the next, Monarch Watch continued to grow and will be celebrating 30 years of education, conservation, and research in 2022! We are not yet sure how we will mark this milestone, but there will certainly be a retrospective component and maybe an event or two. We will keep you informed via our blog, email updates, and social media.

Again, thank you for your continued support and we hope you will be with us again this coming year. Best wishes to you and yours for a happy and healthy holiday season. Please stay safe!


Chip Taylor, Jim Lovett, Ann Ryan, Angie Babbit and Dena Podrebarac
Team Monarch Watch

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Monarch Watch
Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research
University of Kansas
2021 Constant Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66047

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