Monarch Watch is an educational outreach program of the University of Kansas. Its goals are: to further science education, particularly in primary and secondary school systems; to promote the conservation of Monarch butterflies; and to involve thousands of students and adults in a cooperative study of the Monarchs' spectacular fall migration.
Monarch Watch is a collaborative network of students, teachers, volunteers and researchers dedicated to the study of the Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus. The project is directed by Orley R. "Chip" Taylor and staff within the Entomology Program at the University of Kansas.
Each year the students of West Branch School participate in the Monarch Watch program. Each of the students prepares a caterpillar cottage and places a caterpillar (3-5 days old) in it. The students then feed and observe the caterpillar for approximately 2 weeks. The caterpillar pupates and remains in its chrysalis stage for 12-14 days. Upon the emergence of the butterflies, the students place a tag (with tracking number and University of Kansas identification) on the butterflies and release them to begin their migration to Mexico. The students record pertinent data (tracking number, release location, gender of butterflies, etc.) and submit the data to the University. The monarch study is incorporated across the curriculum and provides an endless array of interdisciplinary applications. Participation in a real scientific study is exciting and motivating for the students.