Chicago’s Field Museum Involves Public in Monarch Research
Fifth instar (caterpillar) on hand
Monarch butterflies have experienced an 80 percent population decline over the last 20 years, partly due to loss of milkweed plants, the only food source for monarch caterpillars. “The Field Museum invites the Chicago region community to join the Monarch Community Science Project. Be a part of groundbreaking science to show how your milkweed is helping monarchs. If you have milkweed plants or are willing to plant them, please consider helping us measure the contribution of those plants to monarch conservation. This community science project is designed to be accessible to anyone, especially families and those new to community science,” says Monarch Community Science Coordinator
The Chicago region community can assist in understanding how successful milkweed is at feeding caterpillars throughout their life stages. This community science project for residents, community organizations, and community leaders is designed to be accessible to anyone, especially families and those new to community science. “This kind of research can only be done by a community scientist, and we think this project is a good for both first-time and experienced community scientists. Your commitment depends on how many plants you choose to monitor, but the average time is 30 minutes per week,” Fernandez says.
The 2019 community science monarch monitoring ends in mid-September as migration gets underway, and community members are encouraged to sign up to keep in touch with the project and be ready for spring 2020 workshops.