Training Videos

Volunteer Training Videos for the Western Monarch Count

Monarchs aggregating at the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, winter 2021-22. Photo by Michael Ready.

Learn about The Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Count (WMC) and how to volunteer. Whether you’re a new volunteer or a returning volunteer, these training videos are for you! This page and its contents will be updated on an as-needed basis to reflect changes to key processes and resources associated with the project.

How To Use the Training Videos:

Volunteers and partners are encouraged to watch these training videos to supplement, *not* replace, annual, in-person training workshops.

Training events, group counts, or other opportunities are typically offered by WMC regional coordinators (or experienced volunteers) in October and November leading up to the Thanksgiving Count and can be found on the Events page.

Virtual Training Resources

1. Overview of Western Monarch Conservation & Ecology (~22 min)

Learn about the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, migration, and decline. Put into context of the WMC, you’ll gain a foundational understanding of the status of western monarchs, threats to their survival and migration, as well as solutions to aid in their recovery.


2. Volunteer Participation, Tools, and Resources (~11 min)

Familiarize yourself with the volunteer tools, resources and processes on, from the Step-by-Step Monitoring Guide to the Interactive Map showing site-specific overwintering information. Learn the basics of what is available to you!


3. Setting Up the Survey123 App (~9 min)

Survey123 replaces paper-based data collection with a trustworthy digital solution that optimizes information gathering, improves data quality and boosts efficiency. Learn how to set up and use the Survey123 app on your smartphone, and reduce your chances of submitting incomplete or inaccurate data to boot!


4. Monitoring Guidance (~30 min)

Monitoring overwintering sites is nuanced and challenging to fully capture in a virtual format. The knowledge gained in the field and passed from butterfly to human or human to human is irreplaceable! That said, please watch this virtual training video to gain insight on how to go about surveying monarch butterflies and their overwintering habitat for the WMC. This video will explain the Step-by-Step Monitoring Guide, Protocol documents, and the Monarch Count and Habitat Assessment datasheets so that you can start practicing in the field.

Thank you for volunteering for the Western Monarch Count!