Join the Project

Created by a young student volunteer from P.S. 98 M Shorac Kappock School in New York City
Created by a young student volunteer from P.S. 98 M Shorac Kappock School in New York City

Thank you for your interest!

Our list of volunteers for the immediate phase of the project is full, but we will need volunteers for future phases of the project. 

Simply complete the form and you will be contacted in the future to check your availability and interest at that time.

Brief Overview 

For the first step in the project, we require your help putting out sensors in your backyard!

The sensors you put outside will act as the butterfly in a particular location somewhere in North America along a potential migration path, and will collect the same data as our sensors would on a real butterfly. The only difference, besides not being a sensor on an actual butterfly, is that we know the sensor’s exact location.

monarchs in flight
Monarchs in flight, courtesy Ernest Williams.

This allows us to build models of the collected environmental variables (light, pressure, temperature) which are correlated with weather data collected from weather stations, and lets us train and test our machine-learning algorithms. These algorithms are computer programs that compare a guess of the location of a sensor with the actual coordinates of the sensors; if we have enough sensors out there, and after many iterations, the program will gradually “learn” to predict a butterfly’s location from similarly data collected by our tiny sensors, accurate up to a couple kilometers.

If you are passionate about tracking Monarchs’ migration and protecting their migration routes, you can help by committing  20 minutes per week! By putting out a sensor in your backyard every week, you contribute to the first accurate, digital record of the Monarchs’ migration paths. We are particularly looking for science enthusiasts and educators, like those who are willing to take on this challenge with help of their class, but anyone is welcome to apply. Because of our need for a variety of locations, and limited sensors, we will need to select volunteers from those who apply.

If you become a volunteer for the project, we will provide you with updates on how the project is going, let you know how your data is helping the project, and how you can be further involved.