Mission Monarch 2020

Photo: Janet Kempster

Mission Monarch 2020

JULY 21, 2020 — Late July means that the Monarch Butterfly has not only returned to New Brunswick, but has begun to lay its eggs on Milkweed plants in many parts of the province. That means it’s time for Mission Monarch, a citizen science project that the whole family can enjoy!

From July 24th to August 2nd, all New Brunswickers can participate in this project. Organized nationally by the Insectarium at Space for Life in Montreal, Nature NB are the provincial coordinators for New Brunswick. While the event is taking place, participants can get out into their communities — while observing social distancing and all COVID-19 safety measures — to search for Monarchs in their many life stages, from egg all the way to adult butterfly. And the best place to start is to look for Milkweed.

Milkweed is the only plant on which Monarch Butterflies can lay their eggs, and the only source of food for Monarch caterpillars. There are many varieties that grow in New Brunswick, both wild and cultivated, that participants can look for. Common Milkweed is the most prevalent wild variety, but Swamp Milkweed can be found a few places as well. Garden varieties, such as Butterfly Weed, can also attracts Monarchs, who are drawn in by the smell of the plant; they have amazing noses! To find patches of Milkweed that already exist in your community, check out the citizen science database iNaturalist for observations near you.

Photo: Bev England

How to Participate

To participate in Mission Monarch, please register to participate through our website. We’ll send you links to record your findings and a form to report your data to us when the survey period is complete. Register here!