June 2012 brought the Monarch Biology and Conservation Meeting to Minnesota, with several Driven to Discover groups playing big roles in the conference. The meeting took place over two and a half days at the University of Minnesota's Arboretum in Chanhassen. It brought together over 160 people from all across the US and from countries throughout the world, including Australia, Canada, Mexico, and Spain. The purpose of the gathering was to bring together monarch biologists, citizen scientists, land managers, and other interested parties in an effort to share conservation strategies, new findings in monarch biology, and information about trends in monarch populations.
Throughout the meeting, participants had the opportunity to attend a wide range of workshops and monarch-related field trips. One such trip was a visit to Spring Peeper Meadow, a Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) site that is monitored by Cindy Petersen and her Driven to Discover group from St. Hubert School. Participants on this excursion were able to see how MLMP monitoring works and explore the beautiful meadow. Laura Molenaar and her students also assisted with monitoring and brought their research to the poster session, along with Cindy's group. Annette Strom's D2D group also braved the floods from Duluth to come down and present their research from this past summer. Additionally, many scientists who gave research talks stressed the importance of the data provided by citizen science ventures, like MLMP and MonarchHealth, in providing valuable information for research.
Overall, the conference was a huge success, in large part because of the participants, volunteers, and presenters (including several other D2D participants not listed here).
Pictures of the event will be available later in the summer on the meeting website: http://www.monarchlab.org/mn2012.
University of Minnesota Monarch Lab