For more information on Monarchs in Utah contact Rachel Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Utahns have long enjoyed monarchs arriving in Utah in May – laying eggs and reproducing new generations into September and even early October. The majority of our human population is located along the Wasatch Mountain Range, where winter snowfall provides the water so desperately needed to sustain life in this high mountain desert. As for our monarch population, we are lacking critical data on monarch breeding habitat in a vast amount of the state, due in part, to the fact that roughly 80% of the state is public land, and complicated by the fact we are the second driest state in the nation. We need to learn more.
Thanks to the help of some key monarch enthusiasts, Utahns are learning more about the plight of the monarch, and are jumping on the bandwagon to plant native milkweed and nectar sources where the habitat makes sense. In 2019, the Utah DNR joined the effort, creating a statewide citizen science project to identify where we have naturally occurring monarch breeding habitat throughout Utah in order to preserve what’s there, and potentially enhance it, as part of the US Fish & Wildlife Western Monarch Conservation Plan 2019-2069. We have much to learn, and many who care and are willing to help. To learn more, visit our statewide site: Monarch Conservation in Utah.
"Utah Monarch Advocates" is Born
Western Monarch Summit - Carmel, CA
The first ever Western Monarch Summit was held in Carmel, CA on January 10-12, 2020, bringing together monarch enthusiasts from all over the West and 8-10 individuals from Utah. It was a great event focused on expert knowledge, monarch tagging, current issues the western monarch population faces. As a group, we now meet monthly to share events and activities, do community outreach, and try to reach more monarch and pollinator enthusiasts throughout the state of Utah.
Front row: Becky Yeager, Rose Greer, Mindy Wheeler, Jennifer Dowd
Back row: Rachel Taylor, Todd Stout (missing Amanda Barth)
New Jordan River Commission Projects
Contact: Rachel Taylor -
The Jordan River is about 51 miles long and flows from Utah Lake northward through the Salt Lake Valley and empties into the Great Salt Lake. Four of Utah's six largest cities border the river: Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan and Sandy. More than a million people live in the Jordan Sub-basin, which is the part of the Jordan River watershed that lies within Salt Lake and Utah counties.
The Jordan River Commission was created and is composed of representatives of each of the 18 jurisdictions along the river and other river interests. Rachel Taylor was invited to present on monarch conservation in Utah, at a Board Meeting in September 2020. As of Oct. 31, 2020, that presentation has led to further interest and meetings from Murray City Parks, the Conservation Garden Park in West Jordan, the City of South Salt Lake, as well as the City of Millcreek.
We are in the process of sharing seeds, information and design input to these various entities and look forward to providing additional updates in the spring!
Salt Lake City Trails & Natural Lands
Restoring Wetlands to Pollinator Gardens
Contact: Rachel Taylor -
Salt Lake City Trails and Natural Lands joined the movement and restored areas of Fairmont Park, located in the heart of the city, to its historic riparian habitat; as well as Fred & Ila Rose Fife Wetlands Preserve on the northwest side of the city. This summer, we enjoyed hundreds of native, blooming plants including various milkweed species, Joe Pye weed, common sneezeweed, evening primrose, Nuttalls sunflower, showy golden eye, and goldenrod.
We successfully attracted monarchs, hummingbirds and so many bees, and found them feeding together on the same nectar sources! We were excited to document our first resident male monarch (and then his prodigy) who spent six weeks of the summer courting female monarchs who visited the area. Salt Lake City is currently adding a low wooden fence to protect the habitat area, while allowing visitors to get closer and witness all the pollinator activity.
Fairmont Park Pond
Cedar Hills Declared First in Utah
"Monarch City, USA" with Mayor Rees
Contact: Anette Stephens -
In 2020, Cedar Hills received the first designation of Monarch City, USA, and added a first ever monarch waystation to their Cedar Ridge Elementary School. It attracted monarchs who laid eggs, and the students were able to identify them and watch them through the entire lifecycle before releasing them just in time for the migration!
Cedar Ridge Elementary - Official Monarch Waystation
Nibley, Utah Firefly Park
Monarch Waystation (in the shape of a butterfly!)
Contact: Becky Yeager -
Members of the Cache Valley Wildlife Association (CVWA) contributed more than 100 hours of labor in 2020 while planting, weeding, and mulching a butterfly-shaped pollinator garden at Firefly Park in Nibley, Utah. Prior to putting the garden to rest for the winter, a community-wide event was held to finish up the effort. The pollinator garden is surrounded by naturally-occurring milkweed and supports breeding monarch butterflies. In September, the CVWA and Nibley City also certified the park as a Monarch Waystation, thanks to funding and assistance by RAE Environmental. We look forward to it thriving and hearing reports of sightings in the future.
Nibley Firefly Park - Monarch Waystation
Department of Corrections
Decker Lake Youth Facility - Milkweed Project
Contact: Rachel Taylor -
In 2019 and 2020, the Utah Department of Corrections Decker Lake Youth Facility grew 2,500 native milkweed seedlings to be given away for free, in trade for classes on the various aspects of monarch conservation as it relates to biology, geography (the migration path), careers in horticulture, etc.
In addition, the Utah Correctional Industries nursery business unit at the Utah State Prison has agreed to grow thousands of native milkweed and nectar sources that can be used to establish and enhance breeding habitat throughout the state. We are still working out the details, but look forward to gallon pot size seedlings in May 2021!
Elementary School Projects Statewide
Contact: Jennifer Dowd -
RAE Environmental is a small NGO located in Cache Valley. They created Western Monarch Pollinator Pathways and have a three-tiered approach: (1) Elementary School Garden Program, (2) Large Landowner Sanctuaries, and (3) October Milkweed Awareness / Free Seed Distribution.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions and the uncertainty of in-school programs continuing into the 2020/21 school year, Western Monarch Pollinator Pathways has faced new challenges for our statewide school projects. While we continue to provide limited in-person educational programs and garden establishment efforts our outreach has primarily turned to virtual and remote distribution/learning platforms. Our focus remains on enhancing educational awareness and increasing habitat through our school gardens program.
Uinta Basin Birds & Butterflies
Uinta Basin Birds & Butterflies is a partnership between Utah Department of Natural Resource managers, Dinosaur National Monument and local citizens. Their goal is to develop fun environmental education projects that focus on local conservation issues. Each year, an intern joins DNM to help identify and tag monarch butterflies in the area. In 2019, they tagged more than 100 in a season!
Milkweed Seed Stratification Workshop
Monarchs of Bridgerland
Save the Date! Join us Thursday, February 4, 2021 (time TBD) for this Facebook Live Event and learn how to increase germination rates for most milkweed species. Free seeds will be available! Contact Jennifer Dowd (email@example.com) in advance for seeds.
Additional Statewide or regional Events
As winter turns to spring and we enter monarch season in Utah, check our calendar of events for workshops, field trips and fun training events to get you ready to plant milkweed, monitor for monarch activity, learn how to tag, and more.