Monarch Migration Update & How to Report Sightings as a Citizen Scientist

Journey North, an organization that monitors migrations of some of most beloved species of animals, posts updates on the Monarch Butterfly on Thursdays. Their site also has a wealth of other information for those interested in teaching or learning about the patterns found in nature such as seasons or life cycles. It is a user-friendly and informative source for the nature lover or citizen scientist.

Common Milkweed
Milkweed at school May 15, 2018

This week’s migration report on Monarchs informed us that the northward migration is nearing completion with monarchs being reported in places such as South Dakota, Wisconsin, and even Ontario, Canada.  As reported last week, my home milkweed has erupted from its winter sleep and anxiously awaits a visiting butterfly. The milkweed in the school garden which has been visited frequently in the last week, also has rapidly growing stems of Milkweed.

Since the milkweed has germinated, I can report this observation to the Journey North website, as I have done in year’s past. Here is how you do it:

  1. Go to Journey North’s home page at
  2. Select Report Sightings
  3. This will take you to a log in page. I can sign in using my email and password. If you have never used the site before you’ll need to create an account.
  4. Once you are signed in you can select an event from a drop down list. Here is a screen shot of what that might look like. It will also give you an idea of what you can monitor, observe, and report as a citizen scientist. You can see that milkweed is checked. You simply choose what you want to report on. Click submit.

Screenshot 2018-05-19 08.31.30

5. This will take you to a page where you report your sighting. This will ask you for information like were you are located by using your postal zip code, what you saw, when you saw it, and include a photograph if you have one. Once all your information is entered, you simply click submit report. The site saves information for you.

6. You did it! You reported your sighting and acted as a citizen scientist! Congratulations!

Now, you can go back at anytime to retrieve that information. You can also go into the data base and look for other recent sightings for a specific species or event. For example, here is a list of all my reported sightings.  This is helpful to be able to go back and look for trends. You can also just look for specific sightings. Mine are all on monarchs and milkweed but I can sort the data base for one or both of those sightings. It is helpful if you are interested in such things like the effects of global warming, or habitat loss, and population numbers of a specific species such as the monarch.

Screenshot 2018-05-19 08.43.15

So, I encourage you to look at the Journey North website. It truly has something for everyone and even if you do not want to report, you can learn about all nature has to offer!

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