Monarch Butterflies in Montana?! Where are they? What do we know about their population? Join Maggie Herschauer at the Fort Missoula Native Plant Garden to learn about monarchs, milkweed, and the results of the Bitterroot Monarch Project. Maggie Herschauer, researcher with MPG ranch, started the Bitterroot Monarch Project in response to the lowest population count of the Western monarch butterfly in 2018. Wanting to know more about monarch population trends and movements in Montana, Maggie and a team of volunteer Missoula Monarch Champions surveyed 8 milkweed locations on a weekly basis throughout the summer and spring. The Fort Missoula Native Plant garden has one of the largest milkweeds stands in the survey area with over 2,000 stalks. Maggie will discuss habitat restoration, parasitoids and health issues of monarchs, and the impact of pesticide use. She will guide you through the process of monitoring milkweed for monarchs with plant identification tips and how to recognize some of the other insects that regularly feed on milkweed. We will practice our skills by searching the milkweed at Fort Missoula for monarch eggs or larvae. Then we will enjoy the garden environment and further monarch conversation over a picnic lunch. Provide citizen science and learn how you could become a Missoula Monarch Champion!
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