- Field Notebook
- Hand Lens
- Meter Stick or Measuring Tape (for measuring milkweed density)
- Optional: Rain gauge (Activity #2), Thermometer, Field Guides, Rearing Containers (Activity #3)
Monitoring Tips for Data Accuracy
Remember, since the accuracy of the entire database depends on the accuracy of individual data sets, it's key that your data reflect what's happening at your monitoring site as accurately as possible. Thank you in advance for your carefulness and honesty as you work on this project. We're all depending on you!
Are you monitoring with kids? Check out our tips here!
- Monitor all the milkweed plants if you can, or sample by walking random transects when collecting monarch and milkweed density data.
- Check the plants carefully! Check the plants from the top to the bottom, including the stem and any seed pods or flower blossoms.
- Be careful in your identification of the different larval instars! Check out our Monarch Life Cycle section for pictures and specifications of the different developmental stages.
- Update your site description and your personal volunteer information at the beginning of each season. We are especially interested in hearing about changes that have occurred at your site during or between seasons.
- Avoid monitoring in a location that was likely sprayed with chemicals.
- Schedule a consistent day of the week to monitor. Remember it is okay to miss a week if needed.
- Start monitoring as soon as the first milkweed emerges (not at the first sign of monarchs), and don’t forget to record the date milkweed emerged in the “Description of Monitoring Site” section online!
- Keep monitoring even if you aren’t seeing monarchs. We need to know where monarchs are not being seen (absence data) just as much as where they are being seen.
- Put out a sign at your site that describes the project. We have a great MLMP poster file that you can download for free!
Ask us for help when you need it. We’re always here! email@example.com
- Enter all your data online via our online data entry platform. You will be able to modify your data entries throughout the season and visualize your data as the season progresses.
- In addition, send hard copies of data to the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum address listed at the bottom of our website. We use these hard copies to check for data accuracy. Retain copies of all the datasheets yourself in case of a postal disaster!