Volunteer Information

The Western Monarch Count is a volunteer-powered community science effort to track the status of overwintering western monarchs & their habitat. Join us!

Volunteers for the Western Monarch Count (WMC) have been collecting data since 1997 to improve our understanding of overwintering monarchs in the West. The growing dataset has been utilized to inspire and inform numerous conservation and stewardship measures that support this beloved butterfly and its habitat. As a volunteer for the WMC, you will have the opportunity to contribute to this legacy while surveying one or more western monarch overwintering sites during the Thanksgiving Count and New Year’s Count monitoring periods.

Want to learn more about volunteering for the Western Monarch Count? Review the Step by Step Monitoring Guide to evaluate whether this project aligns with your interests and capacity; if it seems like a good fit, you can get started below!

Get Started:

1) REGISTER AS A VOLUNTEER Required for new and returning volunteers. Please complete before Oct 15th.

2) SIGN UP FOR EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS Make sure you’re signed up to receive WMC email reminders and updates from Xerces!

3) CONTACT A REGIONAL COORDINATOR Connect with a regional coordinator to receive training and monitoring instructions!

Photos: (left) Monarchs clustering at Pacific Grove Butterfly Sanctuary in December, 2021; (right) Regional co-coordinator, Natalie Johnston, monitoring Pacific Grove Butterfly Sanctuary with volunteers Stephanie Turcotte and Shannon Connor in December, 2021. Photos by Candy Sarikonda, view flickr album.

Things to Know Before You Go:

Register before November 1st

New and returning volunteers, please complete the annual WMC volunteer registration form before November 1st, or as instructed by your regional coordinator. Individuals who register after November 1st are not guaranteed training or site coordination for the upcoming monitoring season. If you are unable to receive the required training and site coordination from a regional coordinator, we recommend that you review the educational resources on this website, sign up for volunteer communications and visit a few local sites so that you may join us next year! We appreciate your understanding.

Volunteer Safety

Volunteers are responsible for their own emergency and safety planning while engaging in all WMC volunteer activities. As with any outdoor or field activities, please ensure that you take proper precautions to plan for your safety and wellbeing while volunteering for the WMC. Be sure to bring enough water and food to sustain your activities, prepare for adverse weather conditions, and let a trusted emergency contact know when, where and with who you will be monitoring and when you plan to return.

Code of Conduct & Liability

The Xerces Society is committed to promoting and maintaining an environment in which all volunteers are treated with respect and dignity. In efforts to establish clear expectations and promote civil, cooperative and risk-informed participation in WMC volunteer activities, the Xerces Society developed the following Code of Conduct and Release and Waiver of Liability forms that apply to all volunteers. Western Monarch Count volunteers are required to formally acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions of the following two documents in the required annual volunteer registration form:

    1. Community Science Program Code of Conduct
    2. Volunteer Release & Waiver of Liability

Thank You for Your Participation!