Step-by-Step Monitoring Guide
Volunteer Training Video for the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count
Learn about Xerces’ Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count (WMTC) and how to become a volunteer. This training video provides a brief overview of the monarch life cycle, migration, and decline in the West. Learn how to survey overwintering monarchs with a walk through of the Monarch Count Data Sheet and the Habitat Assessment Form for overwintering monarchs and sites in California, and how to enter and submit data.
If you have questions about the step-by-step monitoring guide or any information presented in the training video, email [email protected].
Conduct a monarch count during the Thanksgiving and New Year’s count period or anytime during the overwintering season. Fill out a separate monarch count data sheet each time you monitor a site for monarchs.
Conducting a habitat assessment is optional, but please consider taking the extra time to collect important site-specific information that helps capture the habitat conditions and threats each site faces. There are two versions available: a one-page assessment that covers the most important aspects of a site, and a longer, more comprehensive assessment that is ideal for land managers and individuals interested in gathering more in-depth data at their site. Please aim to fill out a habitat assessment once a year per site.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for tags while you’re doing your counts and habitat assessments! Numerous groups throughout the west are tagging butterflies in the late summer and fall. Recoveries of these tags at overwintering sites and along the migration route provide important information on the western migration. Check out this helpful flyer compiled by David Marriott of the Monarch Program, which illustrates the different tag types and the contact people for each program: