Saturday, July 13, 2024

On a mission to save the Monarch

Glen Hartle
Bristol August 6, 2023
Pure Conscience Farm hosted Mission Monarch on August 6 for a presentation from the Insectarium in Montreal.
Mission Monarch, a joint initiative of the Insectarium – Montreal Space for Life and the Institute for Research in Plant Biology, is a community science program aimed at gathering data on monarch and milkweed distribution with the goal of identifying breeding hotspots and the implementation of efficient conservation actions.
Alessandro Dieni led attendees in an information session on the life-cycle of the migratory population of the monarch butterfly before leading them off into the nearby fields in search of milkweed plants. Each plant was to be inspected for evidence of monarch activity, including eggs and/or larvas, or caterpillars, with information being recorded on a field observation form.
Overall, the event was a joyous one on a hot summer morning. Attendees could be seen strolling through ample fields of milkweed, applying various levels of observation while hoping to see evidence of at least a small monarch population for 2023. Given the migration distance of some 5,000 kilometres to arrive in this part of the province, and the incredible events attributed to climate change we have witnessed this year, it is not surprising to see such a small monarch population, just as it is highly alarming.
Of note in Dieni’s presentation was a stated preference that evidence of monarch activity be recorded with little interference. He suggested that the real and present danger to the population is one of habitat and climate, more-so than predation, and that letting Mother Nature run her course was the best course of action for the species as a whole.
With the addition in late 2021 of the migratory monarch butterfly population to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) list of endangered species, it has become official what was always rumoured: we need to take action, in both small and large measures.
For more information on how you can join the mission to help save the monarch butterfly, go to


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