Monarch butterflies are extraordinary and beautiful creatures. Every year they fly up to 3,000 miles on a migration to Mexico and California. "One of the greatest natural events on Earth," according to National Geographic.

I am the founder of the Taos Eco Kids Club, created when I was 9 years old in 2014. I have been raising monarchs since 2015 to help them survive to adulthood, and send them on their long journey.

I was fortunate to win the AISES National Junior Division Science Fair for my monarch project in 2015, and have had the honor to present my knowledge last summer as part of the Summer Lecture Series at the Río Grande Wild and Scenic Rivers.

The Taos Eco Kids Club's focus is to help inspire and teach youth about monarchs and pollinators through their hands-on projects.

I've just created a course to show you how to raise monarchs at home. The course is filled with detailed explanations, photos and videos, and teaches you everything you need to know about raising monarchs.

Learn about their migration, finding the monarch eggs in the wild and, when the butterflies are ready, tagging and releasing them.

A study published in 2019 called the "Contemporary Loss of Migration in Monarchs" (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) investigated how indoor rearing conditions affected monarchs' tendency to migrate. The study indicated that some of the monarchs lacked "migratory behavior," meaning some of the fourth generation (the generation that migrates) didn't orient themselves in the right direction - south.

In order for monarchs to become migratory, they need to be exposed to special environmental cues from the outdoors. The study basically showed that indoor conditions didn't give them enough cues to migrate.

However, it sparked a debate over the reliability of the study because the study lacked "scientific method," meaning it didn't correctly follow certain rules for doing a science experiment.

So now we are wondering whether we should really be worried? Although many will have different opinions, we can all agree that whenever humans mess with nature, there's bound to be consequences. So, just to play it safe -- the course will teach you how to rear monarchs outdoors.

Additionally, the study has become a "wakeup call" for monarch enthusiasts, as we should be more conscious and mindful of how we take care of our monarchs. The last thing we want is to raise monarchs that never migrate again.

Raising monarchs is a great activity to do with kids and families, and is an inspiring and life-changing experience. The course includes detailed tips and tricks to help you raise monarchs outdoors. It's fully explained, with photos and videos by fellow YouTuber and monarch hobbyist Mr. Lund Science, who has created a plethora of educational videos about raising monarchs.

Unfortunately, other tutorials online are all outdated and do not meet the outdoor conditions needed.

If you need supplies, we have rentals available. Check out our website for more details or email us at taosecokidsclub@gmail.com.

The course is free, and is available on our website at taosecokidsclub.weebly.com/courses.

Marielle Gomez, incoming sophomore student and athlete at Taos High School, is the daughter of Bruce Gomez and Anne-Marie Emanuelli.She is a member of Taos Pueblo.

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(1) comment

Krista Steen

This is so cool! Thank you for doing this, I can't wait to raise some monarchs next year!

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