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It's that time of year again...
and you don't want to miss this one!

Here we are again at one of the most exciting times of the year, and although a new school year is exciting, I am referring to the fall monarch migration! Folks, it is happening, and all early reports indicate this migration will truly be spectacular! Those of you in the western portion of the Upper Midwest, as well as eastern Ontario, Michigan, New York and Ohio may be witnessing very high concentrations of fall roosts right now. 

It’s been more than a few years since we have seen a monarch migration as promising as the one that is taking place at this time - Dr. Taylor, founder and director of Monarch Watch.

While the numbers of reported fall roosts through September 3rd is encouraging, and is a signal of a robust migration, the estimated numbers of monarchs are also higher than seen in several years with 17 different roosts estimated to contain 1000 or more monarchs. A screen shot of the location of the roosts through September 3rd is shown below. To view a larger map and to give your students opportunities to follow the roosts, and therefore the migration, visit Journey North's Fall Roost Map!

Citizen Science Opportunity

Ever curious why tagging monarchs is important? 

Over the last 26 years, citizen scientists, like you, have tagged over 1.5 million monarchs! The question we are often asked is why do we keep tagging? We know where monarchs come from that reach Mexico, right? The answer is yes, we do, but tagging and recovery of tagged monarchs is about more than origins.

Over the last 26 years, citizen scientists, like you, have tagged over 1.5 million monarchs!

It’s about patterns that tell us what areas of the country contribute most to the overwintering numbers. It’s about the flow of the migrations, that is, how the migration progresses from its start in Canada to its end at the overwintering sites in Mexico. It’s about the influence of weather on migrations and the impact of habitat loss. It’s about the sex ratios and mortality during the migration and it’s even about events that happened 7-8 months before the migration. We are in the process of analyzing over 1.3 million tagging records and more than 13,000 recoveries and, I can tell you, the tagging results have things to say about all these points and more. The amount of monarch habitat is changing along with the climate and it turns out that tagging is one way of monitoring these changes. So please keep tagging from the start to the end of each migration. Your data are of great value.

-excerpt from Dr. Taylor's 7/24/18 blog post
Core Content Lesson Ideas

Not sure how to incorporate the monarch
migration into your content area?

Every content can incorporate the monarch migration to provide students with real-life learning opportunities. And how many students don't benefit from a little outside time now and then? Below is a very short list to give an idea of how you can incorporate the migration into your content. The opportunities are as infinite as your creativity! The maps referenced below can be found on the Journey North Maps page.

  • Use migration maps for number sense and estimation
  • Use migration maps to create math problems of any operation  
  • Use archived migration maps to compare numbers/data over the course of two or more years (to compare the exact date across years, select a date in the upper left part of the map)
  • Analyze the correlation between weather, milkweeds and monarchs
  • Create graphs using data and your projections
Language Arts
  • Use maps to draw conclusions and make predictions
  • Analyze data from maps 
  • Brainstorm contributing factors to the migration
  • Compare and contrast data from various years
  • Read about monarchs, their migration, or the places in North America they migrate through
  • Research the monarch life cycle and migration and.... 1. become a migrating monarch and write a story about your journey, including researched facts (ex. geographic region of migration, life cycle and life expectancy of each generation, hazards along the way); 2. present your research in a creative way (ex. movie, video game, prezi, powerpoint, poster, art project, etc.)
  • Construct a model to show the relationship between certain plants and animals
  • Review map data and construct an argument with evidence why monarchs success rate differs by geographical region
  • Explain how patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems can be predicted
  • Research how human behavior impacts monarch migration, comparing and contrasting individual vs. group behavior
  • Analyze the data from archived maps and pose your own research questions
Social Studies
  • Follow the migration route and research places along the route (ex. geography, climate, culture, demographics, amount of protected land, etc.)
  • Research the levels of endangered species and hold a debate to argue the potential listing of monarchs as a threatened or endangered species
  • Brainstorm all possible roles involved with monarch conservation, and have students take on a role to research and to become
The MWN Spotlight is on...
Freedom Elementary - West Chester, OH
Freedom Elementary students Pranav Khadkikar, Holden Burgess, and Siddharth Khadkikar had a vision and saw it through, and it didn't take long for the monarchs to come! The students went to their principal two years ago with a proposal to build a LifeLAB Monarch Waystation garden on school grounds. After getting approval, the students and their families began building the Waystation.

In its first season, the small garden hosted over 100 monarch and swallowtail caterpillars!

The thriving pollinator garden not only provides nectar and host plants for monarchs, but equally important is how it provides teachers with a myriad of opportunities to bring classroom lessons to life. The Life Lab is part of the Green S.T.E.A.M. movement engaging students in environment-based projects. Examples of how students at Freedom utilize the garden include making observations, collecting data, learning about ecology and conservation, taking soil samples, and observing the life-cycles of butterflies and ladybugs. Students also learn about important pollinators and, of course, the annual monarch migration.

*Thank you to Holly Burgess, from Freedom Elementary School, for submitting the information and pictures above! If you would like your school to be featured in a future newsletter, please email me at

We Need You! 
Let us spotlight all the great things you and your students are doing! We need schools to highlight in future newsletters!
  • We will "Spotlight" your school and students, just like we did with Freedom Elementary and schools in previous newsletters. This is a great way to show your administrators, colleagues, student's parents and community members that what you are doing is extremely important work! If you would like this opportunity, please send your story, pictures (as .jpg file attachments), and any other pertinent information to
  • Another option is for you to share your expertise with others! If you have direct experience with specific topics, such as: co-existing with your school district's maintenance crew when planting milkweed; garden pest management; amazing curricula ideas; grant opportunities for teachers; building partnerships with colleagues, administrators, parents and community members; or other related topics of interest, please email
Thank you all for everything you do! You are part of the solution, and your energy truly makes this world a better place:)
Copyright © 2018 Monarch Waystation Network, All rights reserved.

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