The Western Monarch Mystery Challenge February 14 – April 22

Photo: Stephanie McKnight

Photo: Stephanie McKnight

The Western Monarch Mystery Challenge is a campaign running from February 14th to April 22nd, to collect more records of where western monarchs spend the spring in California, after leaving the overwintering sites.

We know monarchs spend the winter months (November to February) in groves along the California Coast, and start breeding in central California as early as February. However, we know a lot less about where they are and what they’re up to in February, March, and April. Solving the mystery of where western monarchs spend the spring is central to conserving and restoring the phenomenon of monarch migration in the West.

How to participate:

-If you see a monarch outside of overwintering groves, take a picture! (don’t worry, it can be far away and blurry)
-Report it to iNaturalist, the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper OR email it to [email protected]
-Be automatically entered to win a variety of prizes every week you report a sighting

If you upload a monarch photo – from outside the overwintering sites – you will be automatically entered in a weekly prize drawing. We will choose winners every week from Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) to Earth Day (April 22). Prizes will range from gift cards to REI or Patagonia to other goodies.

By reporting an observation, you will be adding to our community science program, the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper, a great way to see our knowledge of western monarch grow.

Here’s how the entry process works:

Each photo is an entry. So if you submit 3 photos in a week, that is 3 entries for the prize that week.
Each week you are eligible for new prizes, even if you submitted sightings and won prizes the week before. (No duplicates of the same monarch in the same place in the same week)

If you want to participate but do not see a monarch, you can be entered to win prizes by becoming a monarch ambassador. To be an ambassador:

Share the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge on social media
Use #monarchmystery and tag our accounts listed below
OR be a neighborhood ambassador through NextDoor – anywhere in California, particularly in the coast range and Central Valley where we suspect monarchs are most active in the spring.

*Please do not submit sightings from monarch rearing projects. They skew data and could jeopardize the quality and legitimacy of conservation plans. Only “wild” monarchs are to be reported.

Media accounts, hashtags, and contacts:
(bolded hashtags are necessary)

Facebook: @monarchmystery
Instagram: @westernmonarchmystery
Twitter: @wmonarchmystery

#monarchmystery #citizenscience #citsci #communityscience #westernmonarchs #savethemonarchs #savemonarchs #savetheplanet #science #nature #climatechange

Please direct questions to:
Lilianne de la Espriella
[email protected]