Photo: MonarchWatch.Org

Monarch Watch: Ambassadors of Science

November 21st, 2020

Monarch Watch is a volunteer-based, citizen science organization, and an affiliate of the Kansas Biological Survey. Their main focus is on the annual North American migration of the Monarch butterfly. The organization creates and distributes tags to place on monarch butterflies in order to track their migration path from Canada and the United States to Mexico. The first monarch citizen science program was launched in the 1950s and, since then, thousands of volunteers have made fundamental contributions to our accumulating knowledge of monarch biology.

The Monarch Watch initiative's tagging program aims to associate the point of capture of each butterfly with the point of recovery. The data obtained is used to determine the migratory routes of the monarchs, the influence of the weather on their journey, and survival rates, among other factors.

The program involves more than 2,000 schools, nature centers, and other organizations in the U.S. and Canada, as well as an estimated more than 100,000 students and adults who participate in tagging activities each fall. Scientists know a lot about the migration of Monarch butterflies, because they have received information about more than 2,000,000 monarchs over the years.

By working together across North America, they continue to support the Monarch Butterfly populations by providing resources, data, scientific research and information about all things Monarch. If you ask them, they would tell you it is citizen scientists who are responsible for saving the Monarch butterfly, a species at risk in all three North American countries; Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

No effort is too small to have a positive impact. For more information on how to get involved, please visit the official Monarch Watch website.

University of Kansas Biological Survey
Central Lake Ontario Conservation
Monarch Conservation Toolbox
Oxford Academic

Fly Monarca - In The Beginning

[right:image:23890][/]How do you start something that seems impossible to finish? An unsupported, 2,800 km paraglider journey across the US? In one season!?   'Yeah right!' I thought, slowly packing my bag, just one meter north of US/Mexico border.  Who was I kidding? My 1200 km Canadian Rockies journey took almost two months and was less than half that distance! And besides, these desert bumps in southern Arizona are no Rocky Mountains. Not only have I never flown in this type of environment, I've never BEEN in this type of environment. Lizards, rattle snakes and wind so strong it'll blow your hair right off. Welcome to southern Arizona. Welcome to me, tricking my mind into stumbling out the perceived impossible.  [show:image:23833] [c]'Break the big mission down into small missions'[/c] [right:image:23832]'Break the big mission down into small missions', advice from the great Will Gaad and something I employ every day, even when feeling overwhelmed at the grocery store. But now, I'm so bewildered that I've broken it down again, again and again until I've reached the simplest of tasks: Breath in, check. Breath out, check. Am I getting anywhere?  Years of dreaming, research and phone calls to sponsors, reassuring them that I could really do this has all come down to this single, finite, moment. Now the only one left to convince is myself.  Breath in. Breath out. Smile for the camera. Walk forward...  Ben  [group:image:23891][/][group:image:23717][group:image:23888][/][group:image:23856][group:image:23874][group:image:23834][group:images:23833]

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This is Teamwork

As a documentary filmmaker, I've become known as a lone wolf. Working alone has not only saved me financially, it has also afforded me complete, creative control over my process.  But there's downsides to the solo-show as well. For one, it's lonely. Perhaps more significantly, it's limiting aesthetically, as much of the footage needs to be captured by the discipline of repetitive camera placement, annihilating any possibility of authentic, off-the-cuff material.  Enter Lyndsay Nicole.  [right:image:23631]Lyndsay is not just my best friend and partner, she is also a strong and creative paraglider pilot that has generously volunteered her time to support the documentary tasks of the [url=]Fly Monarca Expedition[/url]. Throughout my self-propelled journey, she will travel and work autonomously from Turtle, the Chevy Astrovan, named not only for its color, but speed characteristics as well.  Why the change? It was during the three weeks of post-expedition b-roll that she shot with me after my expedition two years ago that we realized the value of our teamwork. The drone and gimbal-stabilized 4k material she captured then were the meat and potatoes of our [url=]award-winning documentary[/url], '[url=]The Endless Chain[/url]', and inspired us to further our efforts for the Monarca expedition.  [show:image:23908][/] Instead of joining me post-expedition, this time she'll catch it all live! As I leap, and sometimes crawl, forward on this journey, Lyndsay will be there at (almost) every turn; hiking up mountains capturing that 4k gold, then making her way back down before chasing me as I head north.  This is new, this is exciting, this is Teamwork.  Ben  [group:image:23885][/][group:image:23608][group:image:23931][/][group:image:23607][group:image:23641][group:image:23884][group:image:23878][group:image:23629]

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The Boy Who Flies

Adventuring into the heart of Africa, a paraglider instigates a young man's potentially deadly quest to release the weight of poverty, social taboos and self doubt, and take to the skies. In doing so, the traveler is confronted with unsettling truths about his own racial and cultural identity.

In a country where no one flies, two friends can inspire a nation by putting everything on the line.

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A Canadian Dream

Fly along as Benjamin Jordan sets a new World Distance Record (10,000 km) as he crosses Canada by Powered Paraglider. Along the way, you will land at summer camps and inspire thousands of children, while raising funds to send less fortunate ones to summer camp next year! The 71 minute, Documentary Feature contains 15 chapters chronicling the epic successes and failures of this unprecedented journey. Each chapter focuses on a unique aspect of Canadian geography, culture and the exact mix of team-work and blind optimism required to pull off such a daring stunt. Since it's release in 2010, A Canadian Dream (formerly "DREAM") has screened in theatres world-wide and, through it's proceeds, has allowed almost 100 children, from low-income homes, the opportunity to attend summer camp.

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