Karen Oberhauser is the Director of the UW-Madison Arboretum. She and her students have conducted research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Her research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science. To promote broad engagement in research, she developed a science education program that involves courses for teachers, and opportunities for youth to engage in research. In 1996, she started a nationwide Citizen Science project called the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP), which continues to engage hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. The MLMP and another flagship citizen science program with a strong monarch focus, Journey North, are key features of the growing citizen science programming at the UW-Madison Arboretum. Karen has authored over 90 papers on her research on monarchs, insect conservation, and citizen science. She has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, a degree in science education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota.
Karen is passionate about the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, and believes that the connections her projects and the Arboretum promote between humans and the natural world promote meaningful conservation action. She is the chair of the Monarch Joint Venture, and a founding officer of the Monarch Butterfly Fund. In 2013, Karen received a White House Champion of Change award for her work with Citizen Science.
Monarch Butterfly Biology and Conservation
Monarch butterfly populations have been declining over the last 20 years. It is important to move beyond documenting this decline, and toward responding to the challenge posed by monarch conservation, and insect conservation in general. Karen will describe the amazing biology of migratory monarchs, how citizens and scientists are documenting monarch numbers across their migratory cycle, and what individuals and organizations like the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail can do to preserve this charismatic insect for generations to come.