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Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

Get Involved With This Project

The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) is a citizen science project involving volunteers from across the United States and Canada in monarch research. It was developed in 1997 by researchers at the University of Minnesota to collect long-term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed habitat.

The project focuses on monarch distribution and abundance during the breeding season in North America. As an MLMP volunteer, your contributions will aid in conserving monarchs and their threatened migratory phenomenon, and advance our understanding of butterfly ecology in general.

Monitoring for the MLMP can be done alone or with others; many people volunteer with friends, family, or neighbors. This project is a terrific way to introduce people of all ages to science and nature. Whether you’re passionate about monarchs, nature, conservation, or continued learning, the MLMP is the project for you!

Participating in the MLMP makes a difference. It is an exciting way for monarch and nature enthusiasts to contribute basic knowledge about monarch population dynamics, and foster monarch and habitat conservation. Help from volunteers across the country gives scientists a bigger and better understanding of the health of the monarch population. Your involvement is the key!

Researcher Bios

Karen S. Oberhauser - Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum

Karen Oberhauser is the Director of the UW-Madison Arboretum. Before coming to Madison, she and her students at the University of Minnesota conducted research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Her research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science. Her strong interest in promoting a citizenry with a high degree of scientific and environmental literacy led to the development of a science education program that involves courses for teachers, and opportunities for youth to engage in research and share their findings with broad audiences. In 1996, she and graduate student Michelle Prysby started a nationwide Citizen Science project called the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which continues to engage hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. Karen has authored over 90 papers on her research on monarchs, insect conservation, and citizen science.

Karen is passionate about the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, and believes that the connections her projects promote between monarchs, humans, and the natural world promote meaningful conservation action. She is a co-chair of the Monarch Joint Venture Steering Committee, and a founding officer of the Monarch Butterfly Fund. In 2013, Karen received a White House Champion of Change award for her work with Citizen Science.


Project URLs



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