Create a Ripple Effect Across North America: Take Part in the 2023 International Monarch Monitoring Blitz, 28 July–6 August!
Montreal, 11 July 2023—The International Monarch Monitoring Blitz is back for its seventh edition! From 28 July to 6 August 2023, join thousands of volunteers across Canada, Mexico and the United States and support monarch butterfly conservation. To take part in this trinational initiative, simply share your monarch and milkweed observations with one of the participating community science programs listed below.
For a 10-day period, the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz invites people in North America to find milkweed plants and look for monarch eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises and butterflies. Last year more than 6,000 observations were collected, creating a ripple effect for monarch conservation across North America. In fact, observations submitted by volunteers help identify priority areas for monarch conservation and guide conservation actions. The data collected during the Blitz will be made available for anyone to download and consult via the Trinational Monarch Knowledge Network, a central repository that features data from various sources and helps researchers perform large-scale temporal and spatial analyses.
Since monarch butterflies and milkweed cover such an extensive portion of North America, the contribution of community scientists is key for furthering our understanding of these species. Furthermore, in the context of climate change, the range of monarchs and milkweed is likely to be impacted, highlighting the need for gathering and analyzing robust, long-term data in order to better understand population and habitat trends.
The Blitz is the only coordinated trinational effort to capture a snapshot of the monarch and milkweed summer distribution. This information is crucial to help the scientific community understand and measure the reproductive success of the monarch breeding population as well as long-term population trends.
“I invite everyone to take part in the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz this summer,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada. “More than ever, we need data on this migratory butterfly, whose populations have declined substantially. We can no longer take for granted that we will see a monarch butterfly in our gardens, fields, and by the roadside. They need our protection, and the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz is a simple and effective way for you to help. By reporting what you see over a 10-day period, you’ll join people from across North America who are contributing to the survival of the monarch butterfly in a very real way. Mark the dates, get some friends, and go observe this natural work of art in its habitat!
As mentioned in the Canada Gazette, there is a proposed order to amend the List of Wildlife Species at Risk by reclassifying the monarch butterfly from special concern to endangered.
In Mexico, the monarch butterfly is officially listed as a species at risk under Norma Oficial Mexicana 059 since 2010.
In the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that listing the monarch butterfly as an endangered or threatened species was warranted but precluded by higher-priority listing action. According to Mara Koenig, a Public Affairs Specialist at USFWS, the agency is expected to submit a proposed rule to the Federal Register for the monarch, if still warranted, under the Endangered Species Act by 30 September 2024.
With the conservation of the monarch butterfly gaining momentum across North America, now is the time for communities to go out into nature and take part in this initiative!
“In Mexico, we need to know what happens with the local populations of monarch butterflies during the summer. By participating in the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz, we will help generate key information to understand where these local populations are, if they are reproducing, what species of milkweed they use during the summer to reproduce, and then be able to establish the most appropriate actions for the conservation of these local populations of monarch butterflies,” said Jerónimo Chávez, Project Manager of the Correo Real Program at PROFAUNA A.C.
One volunteer with Journey North in the United States, Lindsay, captured the buzz as such: “I started seeing monarchs about five summers ago and realized I might have something cool in my yard attracting them. A quick search led me to the Monarch Blitz, and I became hooked! I found milkweed all over my yard and vowed to make my backyard a sanctuary for pollinators.”
To take part in the Blitz, please share your observations through one of the participating community science programs below:
- Canada: Mission Monarch (mission-monarch.org)
- United States:
Follow the Blitz and share your participation in this international conservation effort on social media by using the hashtag #MonarchBlitz!
The Monarch Blitz is organized by the Trinational Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, a collaboration of organizations, including the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (Conanp) in Mexico, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Insectarium | Montréal Space for Life, Journey North, the Monarch Joint Venture, PROFAUNA A.C., the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Learn more about what we accomplished together last year and how you can get involved here on our website.
About the CEC
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established in 1994 by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a parallel environmental agreement to NAFTA. As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, in parallel with the new Free Trade Agreement of North America. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, Indigenous people, youth, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the business sector, to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations
The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of the United States of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.