Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Education Specialist, Dr. Karen Oberhauser was featured in an article about recently released results of an annual survey of Monarch overwintering colonies in Mexico. The 2014 results suggest alarming decline in the population of the migratory butterflies - just 1.7 acres of overwintering colonies, down from an average trend of between 20-30 acres. Weather, climate change, and natural pests have all influenced this trend. However, Oberhauser points to habitat loss as a significant driver for this decline.
Efforts to restore and create new Monarch habitat can make a difference. Oberhauser explains in the article that restoring summer breeding habitat in Minnesota and other U.S. regions to a point where winter colonies occupy 7.5-10 acres could sustain the population.
Visit the Monarch Watch website to learn more and get supplies to create your own Monarch Waystation habitat. Visit the University of Minnesota Extension Minnesota Master Naturalist or Citizen Science websites to learn more and get involved in programs focused on natural resources conservation service.