University of Minnesota

Helpful “How-To” Scenarios

This section describes scenarios often encountered by volunteers that require more in depth explanation. You'll find help here on how to adjust your monitoring to accommodate for these tricky situations. Check back for more scenarios! 

Defining a Site

Finding a site with milkweed is the first step in participating in the MLMP and often the trickiest for many volunteers, this page provides more details on how to define your site.

Too Many Milkweed Plants to Monitor

This is a classic problem in field monitoring. Fortunately there are several examples of sub-sampling techniques that you can use to shorten your weekly monitoring while still collecting good, useable data.

Multiple Milkweed Species

If you have multiple milkweed species at your MLMP site, you do not have to monitor all of them. This page describes options for determining what is best.

Keeping Your Monarchs Organized

If you’re an avid monarch raiser, you know that it can get complicated caring for numerous individuals and keeping them all straight for your MLMP reports (Activity 3, Estimating Survival). Here are our suggestions for organizing them.

Distinguishing One Milkweed Plant From Another

It can sometimes be difficult to tell if a milkweed is one plant or more than one. This scenario outlines how to define one milkweed plant, either with many stems originating from a central point or as many above ground stalks, called ramets.

Tips for ensuring you are finding all monarch stages on the plant

If you’re only seeing certain stages of monarchs, you might be missing the others. Here are some tips for ensuring that you are finding all of the stages on the milkweed plant.

What to do if You’re Growing Tropical Milkweed in Your Garden

It is recommended by the Monarch Joint Venture to cut tropical milkweed back every fall. Tropical milkweed is commonly grown in gardens and you may be monitoring it as part of your MLMP site, so should you cut it back? This scenario will help you decide.

How to avoid counting the same plant twice

If you have a lot of milkweed or a large area to monitor, you may wonder how you avoid recording the same plant twice as you either go through your systematic sampling or transects. This scenario provides some tips on how to avoid this.

Tips for Monitoring with Kids

Monitoring for the MLMP with kids can be fun and exciting. This scenario outlines two different situations for monitoring with children.

What happens if my site is suddenly disturbed?

Depending on where your MLMP monitoring site is and who owns/manages it, you may not always have control over what happens there. Regardless of the nature of the disturbance, if something happens at your site that changes the structure or composition of the vegetation there, we want to know about it.

What should I if I don’t see any monarchs while I am monitoring?

This question is a frequent and important one. Please keep monitoring even when you don’t find monarchs—be a hero and report your zero! Here are some of the reasons why.

Providing quality training on monarch larvae identification without live monarchs

As a trainer for the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, providing participants with the best possible materials and guidance is key to their success. While having living monarchs makes it easier to demonstrate differences between larval instars, this is not always possible.

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