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Schultz Research Group Conservation Biology

Western Monarch Mystery Challenge


The Western Monarch Mystery Challenge is a citizen science campaign running February 14th through April 22nd 2020, formed by researchers from Washington State University, Tufts University, UC Santa Cruz, and the Xerces Society to learn more about monarchs in order to inform urgent conservation efforts.

 How to participate is simple:

  1. If you see a monarch outside of overwintering groves, take a picture! (don’t worry, it can be far away and blurry)

  2. Report it to iNaturalist (the app is free) and include date, species, and location OR email it to

  3. If you submit an entry through iNaturalist, be sure to be on the look out for messages from us to your iNaturalist account about winning a prize.





We’ve received over 250 entries so far and we’re hoping to keep the momentum going.

Congratulations to our first prize winner! “irej” on iNaturalist is the winner of a $50 REI GIFT CARD!

A female monarch butterfly nectaring on rosemary observed by irej on Feb. 16, 2020 in Alameda, CA.


Congratulations to our 2nd week winner, Pete Bevelacqua! And he is receiving a gift card to Ethos Santa Cruz.

A monarch butterfly photographed in flight by Pete on Feb. 26, 2020 in Mountain View, CA.


Our third prize winner is waterlilykid from iNaturalist! Their photo was taken in Nipomo, CA, just in the outskirts of the Pismo overwintering site. Congratulations on winning an REI gift card!


Our fourth prize winner is @jonathan.curley.39 from Alameda County area! Jonathan is winning a flash pack, courtesy of REI in Saratoga!

A male monarch butterfly was photographed nectaring on a dandelion on March 9, 2020  in Alameda County (posted on iNaturalist).


Congratulations to @earthelation for winning our 5th week of the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge!

A monarch butterfly was photographed in flight on March 10th, 2020. n Half Moon Bay, CA.


Our 6th week winner is Chris from Davis, CA. Congratulations Chris! They are receiving a gift card to REI. We really enjoyed the creativity out of this monarch photograph! Keep up the good work team!