I found an article from the David Suzuki Foundation yesterday that makes a great pitch for citizen science and for helping out the awesome monarch butterflies, so thought I would share it on HollerPhenology.
The article begins with a brief history of Monarch Watch and its effort to engage citizens in tracking monarch migrations. Now, with monarch populations declining due to human activities such as illegal logging in Mexico, herbicide use on genetically modified crops, and impact on climate change, Suzuki and many others have asked citizens and their governments to take action on behalf of these butterflies:
In February, in response to a letter by Mexican poet Homero Aridjis, signed by more than 100 scientists, writers and environmentalists — including Canadians Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and John Ralston Saul — U.S. President Barack Obama, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to "establish a working group to ensure the conservation of the monarch butterfly, a species that symbolizes our association."
The letter to leaders said, "As Mexico is addressing the logging issues, so now must the United States and Canada address the effects of our current agricultural policies." Those problematic practices are mainly associated with large-scale planting of corn and soy genetically modified to resist the herbicide Roundup, or glyphosate. It doesn't kill crops — just pretty much everything else, including the milkweed monarchs need to lay their eggs and that is their caterpillars' main food.
The Suzuki Foundation hopes that leaders will honor their agreement, and that citizen scientists will get excited about helping scientists and researchers to better understand monarch life cycles.
Check out some of the "related posts" links below for more information. Or take a look at Monarch Watch's Bring Back the Monarchs campaign page. Another interesting presentation on the monarchs can be found at the website for the film, Flight of the Butterflies.