210 - Coffan - What's going on with Western monarchs?

Transcript

[00:00:00] Andony Melathopoulos: Many of you remember a couple of winters ago, there was shocking news from California, the Western population of Monarch butterflies. The numbers that had returned to winter in California were exceedingly low. There was worry that these butterflies would not be able to recover. This past winter numbers are back up again.

[00:00:24] And it brings into focus how little we know about this butterfly. Not only its patterns of migration, but also the drivers behind these population dynamics. And that's where a lot of committed. Communities and groups have come together to try and get some of the data to better understand what's driving these dynamic, this dynamic.

[00:00:46] And so I'm really excited to welcome back on the show. Robert Kaufman, he's the chair and co-founder of Western Monarch advocates. Many of you remember, we'd had him on a past show he's with. Also with the Southern Oregon Monarch advocates. In this episode, he's going to tell us a little bit about why, how to understand these ups and downs with these populations, but also talk about the central importance of Southern Oregon in the migration of the Western modern butterfly populations.

[00:01:15] So without further ado, let's head down to Southern Oregon to talk with Robert Kaufman this week on pollination.

[00:02:00] Okay here we go. Welcome to pollination.

[00:02:05] Robert Coffan: Thank you. Thank you. Glad to be here this morning.

[00:02:08] Andony Melathopoulos: I'm so glad to get an update. I know there's been so much great work done in Southern Oregon around. Monarch butterflies, and I can see people can't see where they can only hear a voice, but I can see in the background, there's just like a newspaper clipping.

[00:02:24] And there's a big Monarch by your left ear, a little a little model. There's so much going on in Southern Oregon. Can you just to start with, just give us an overview of the role of Southern that Southern Oregon plays in the health of the Western Monarch butterfly population?

[00:02:39] Robert Coffan: Sure. I'll be glad to, but first of all, you're saying no one can see it.

[00:02:45] So they can see this Monarch pin that I have on just for today's podcast. My little stuff, Monarch that we use at our booths, where the kids love to flap around us just too bad. They can't see me, but I wish they could have seen my Monarch stuffs anyway. Yes. Let's start with basics because that really helps folks to understand.

[00:03:12] Why is Southern Oregon. What's up with that? Why is that so important for this precious population? So we have a Eastern Western Monarch population. I think most people will know this, the Western contemplation migrates misled the one in the east, but they migrate account to Southern California. Down along where the beach voice hanging out in Monterey and further south all the way down to San Luis Obispo.

[00:03:40] And then there's some monarchs that go way further south. And some of them just stay there and over winter, but the ones that migrate down there over winter. Are not the ones that then come back up here and migrate through Oregon. And then on up to Idaho, those people that knew about, you find our Western monarchs in Idaho and Washington and in some years, all the way into Canada.

[00:04:06] It's not that generation, that older winters, they move out. They reproduce right down there in California and their babies that the next generation migrate up to the north and to the east. And that's the generation. That it's here. They come up through the Holstein valley over the Trinity's around Mount Shasta and so on.

[00:04:30] And here is their first like stepping stone. What do they do then? Fine milkweed. Of course, everyone knows that the only host plant. The Monarch caterpillars eat. So they look for the milkweed and other neck during plants for food, for the adults, because they need to stop and make a pit stop as well and reproduce and make that second generation.

[00:04:56] So Anthony, if Southern Oregon wasn't set up and had a habitat available for the monarchs, that link that second generation, that Zen can keep going northward and eastward and on into central Oregon and all up through our corridor up where you are and all that. We miss that link and it's just like any chain you, if there's one link in trouble or one link that's actually goes away.

[00:05:24] There's your issue. So I think that's really the wrong work of why we really care about the Monarch here and what we're doing here to help keep that link going.

[00:05:37] Andony Melathopoulos: When does that link occur? When are these butterflies destined to hit southerners?

[00:05:44] Robert Coffan: That's the best. So of course there they're down there.

[00:05:47] Overwintering in the winter. Why? Couple of reasons, one there's no more milkweed up here. So since reproducing began, but also they monitor their temperature. So for that longevity so that overwintering population can exist long enough and wait until. So spring starts at all things start to warm up and in Southern California in March.

[00:06:14] And now that. First-generation is reproducing down there and starting, some of them are starting their migration. We typically, we like to say, we start to see monitors here in mid may, but, and so keeping your eyes open by then, especially in Southern Oregon is the time to get started. But honestly, it's the real observations don't really come in often until June, sometime.

[00:06:43] And that's that first, you're looking at those arrivals and of course, some of them stay, they'll stay here and reproduce and everyone doesn't just fly away. Of course, some stay all year long. But others keep that, that migration moving to so started June and you'll see the different generations here throughout the summer, all the way into fall until October, sometimes even early, early November.

[00:07:13] Andony Melathopoulos: Okay. Wow. Fascinating. I didn't realize that. I thought it was just a wave that moved forward, but I didn't think that there were these little populations that sort of hung around. As the migration wave moves up.

[00:07:25] Robert Coffan: That's, what's so neat about an insect population is it's not like you're tracking a wool for, or a game or some larger.

[00:07:34] This is, these insects. They are, hopefully tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands. We're going to get into that a little later, but they seek out different ways to continue the migration. So some years you don't even see many on the coast, for example, other year, For some reason, a few insects cued over the coast.

[00:07:55] Things are looking good over there that year. And maybe that's the part of the migrating population that becomes the strongest. So they're moving out like a big mask. That's almost like they're figuring it out, but do that in their little brains. The organism kind of figures it out each year.

[00:08:17] Andony Melathopoulos: I have a stupid question. I wonder, I would think that it's a way less, they're way less obstacles to move up, actually the coasts, but they don't is that true? They don't move. Coastal, Oregon, they really move in.

[00:08:32] Robert Coffan: Partially, and I want to be careful. I don't know who was listening, as I said it changes, but we've had great documentation of an observation of monarchs making it up to like the state of Jefferson here in between Southern Oregon, Northern California, the Eureka McKinleyville area.

[00:08:51] Wild monarchs observed there on, up into Brookings, monitored kits, real strong advocates over there and have Monarch festivals. And they do that because the wild monarchs make it there. But somewhere between maybe Brookings and then, and gold beach somewhere over there, but between there and all, maybe Bandon, they do start to move.

[00:09:12] That waves starts to move in. Again, probably tracking the milkweed and the nectar bearing sources and move in more like central Oregon, and then sands out into Idaho and Washington. Now, anybody listening from Bandon or further up the coast, if you want to school me on that and have Anthony's program here, really look like they're furthering research, just trying to.

[00:09:37] Andony Melathopoulos: I imagine we'll get into that in a minute. Just the importance of observations. But I guess one thing I want to pick up on that you mentioned is, two years ago, the return of butterflies to California was really low. And I just wanted to get an update. How did things look last year and where, what are things looking like for the upcoming year?

[00:10:00] Robert Coffan: Again, I hope a lot of folks already know this, but yeah, let's put some numbers on how bad is bad. So three or four seasons ago, if you want to count it that way. Let's even back up further. We all know that the Western Monarch and all the Monarch population really plummeted since the nineties, for example down and the Western population three years ago to a much steeper drop than the Eastern population everybody's scratching their heads about.

[00:10:33] So we dropped down from when the way we know this is there is a counting program and I won't go into all that, but there is a method that folks have been using to estimate accounts at these overwintering sites that they'd been doing for you. And they have big teams that are trained to do this count.

[00:10:53] So the account showed that things went from the two or 300,000 monarchs overwintering down to oh, like 20,000. Okay. That's like a 10 fold drop. Last season, not this December, but let's go back this. I'm getting my seasons mixed, make stuff. 20,000 monarchs. That's not very much for the total population that represents our Western migrating population.

[00:11:27] And that makes it all the way up into those states. That's what less than a bit higher, the B's going to be high as a thousand bees in it. So that already sounds pretty bad. Sit down because what happened last year was dropped and the not this season, I'm sorry. The council before that dropped to less than 2000 insects.

[00:11:52] Andony Melathopoulos: Oh my

[00:11:53] Robert Coffan: goodness. That's way below the, any botanists point of view of instincts extinction population data and so on. And everyone thought, Less than 20,000 adult monarchs. Overwintering at our overwintering sites that we knew of. However, I'm glad you asked that two part question. How did things look last year?

[00:12:16] It looked pretty bad, but then Monarch started arriving this next, last year, like November. Would that be five months ago? And at one of the sites and had quite an emotional moment there was a lot more. And more and people at all the different overwintering sites we're starting to get pretty excited about.

[00:12:40] And lo and behold, last year, our population was the count for this year's recording. After new years, it'd be this year now over 240,000 Monarch butterfly were counted. Again. Think about that. That's not a 10, that's a hundred fold increase. And a generation and a season now, a generation in one season.

[00:13:08] So first of all, everyone was pretty jazzed about that. People warn, that's still low for an overall population, but my goodness hap how amazing is that? And that's just what happened to all of our scientific community was scratching their head, going. That is a little too amazing.

[00:13:28] How could those few females and males that started that whole thing less than 2000 of them wind up spreading out, creating a generation than a next generation. Then it's third. There's usually four generations of marks in one season. How could they grow from a couple thousand 200 times? So the, I guess the, how are things looking now?

[00:13:59] Is everybody excited and fascinated because there's all kinds of, first of all, there's all kinds of postulations on, how did that happen? A lot. And most people agree. Most scientists disagree. If I can keep going with this is. To that a hundred fold increase really could not have come entire athlete from the less than 2006.

[00:14:23] So there's all these other concepts being tossed around such as Hey, what if there's some overwintering sites that we haven't counted? What if climate change is changing things and monarchs migrated to other sites, but then others counter. How many of those would you miss and how many monarchs would be there and why haven't they ever been counted before?

[00:14:44] And yes, there could be a few, but that doesn't really hold out. There's some others saying there was a lot of evidence where the monarchs that did make it. Stayed down in California and turned into residents instead of migrators. So they've moved down there and just hung out in the urban gardens and some of the more Southern most Southern areas and actually quite a few in the Santa Cruz area and a lot of reports.

[00:15:15] So while we're getting so many monarchs this year, even though. Kind of 2000 at the overwintering sites. So the scientists again are going maybe that's part of this how they react, maybe the population that decided not over winter, just stay down there and hang out, then switched back and decided to start the migration again.

[00:15:40] So there's those ones that contribute. There's another pop idea that some of them moved over to the east more towards Arizona. Arizona is a really cool place where our Eastern and our Western population both kind of show up Arizona, lack of Bermuda triangle. It's an area. And so maybe there was some blending of, maybe some of those kind of flew back and maybe even some of the Eastern migrants through the Arizona or somewhere got over here again, that's all smaller populations.

[00:16:18] So the, to wrap up my long-winded answer for you on this. That's, what's fascinating. And that's why. The Monarch world and people that are care about the monarchs are symbolic for all of our pollinators are really looking at wow, what happened so we can figure out anything good from that.

[00:16:37] Anything constructive that could help us and also learn, Where should we focus our attention our dollars and our interests and all that?

[00:16:46] Andony Melathopoulos: I do suppose. This is a great lesson in, there's a lot of uncertainty with, pollinating, insect populations. There are complicated.

[00:16:55] We don't know a lot and I guess it raises the importance of people more and more people making observations that when that data really populates up, you can you get a better sense of hidden populations or where they're going. Can you talk a little bit about how people contribute observations and the importance of it?

[00:17:15] Robert Coffan: Sure. There's there's okay. First of all, let's just say you're absolutely right now that I think everyone's understanding about how important the timing is for all this. So that is, we don't just care. When do you see a month? Or do you see one, it's the timing because where are those first spring movers going to?

[00:17:38] When are they showing up in where that's critical and where do they come back down to the overwintering sites? So the observations are important but it's also what you've observed. So let me go through it. There's. Fortunately, or unfortunately there's there. Isn't just one great place to report.

[00:17:58] There's three that come to my mind. And I hope some of your folks know that some of these one is I naturalist. One is journey north, and one is the Western Monarch milkweed. I naturalist a lot of folks know that's international. You can report your observations for almost any critter anywhere in the world.

[00:18:22] And there is a database that people share and I don't really have any of you heard of .

[00:18:28] Andony Melathopoulos: I have. And there's a great episode with Dr. John Asher talking specifically about eye naturalists and bees. So listeners are interested, check it out. It's a very easy phone based app to record any kind of biodiversity.

[00:18:43] Robert Coffan: Okay, good. I'm glad I hoping a lot of folks are nodding their heads about that. The second one journey north is also has to do with all different kinds of flying or on all different kinds of critters. And they're more. It's more of the United States and they have a really, I like to report my observations to them because they they do pretty much require a photo.

[00:19:12] A lot of folks will see a beautiful orange butterfly. That's a Monarch and it's throwing some curve balls in the migration. So they asked for some specific data, but also want a photo and everyone, the photo, it doesn't have to be beautiful. It does not have to be one of those ones you want to post in the magazine or you want to send a national geographic, it just needs to be good enough.

[00:19:35] So other folks could go, yeah, that really isn't it. So trying to do that

[00:19:40] Andony Melathopoulos: really helps. So just a quick question. So what comprises a a photo that's of use for a Monarch identification? Is there any angles or shots that are important?

[00:19:50] Robert Coffan: It's people that are good at photography that can get close ups.

[00:19:54] Really? There's just to see if it's a Monarch at all, which you can do from a photo that's fairly far away. Okay. Really see this also a little video of the way they fly baseline very differently than a lot of other a fertile area or a painted lady or a California Portis or whatever. They lilt.

[00:20:13] And of course, if you can get a close up the wing patterns can tell us if it's a male or a female, but since you're asking about the data and the photographs, the other thing, and I'll get back to the milkweed mapper and just assess. Jumping to what do I, what am I supposed to observe? First of all, don't sweat it, whatever you observed will help.

[00:20:35] But as I mentioned earlier, the date super important right now to know when we're seeing them, where they're located. And I can just be an address where he lives, but where you were hiding in the woods, whatever, if you're really fun. And you want to pinpoint that with some people that have to do that now with coordinates group, it doesn't matter.

[00:20:57] It's more like it's just, people will trust. However you want to report that. And then any comments. And again, if you're a Monarch enthusiast, you might be saying things like, oh, it was neck during, on a lupins. Or they were mating. I saw two, or it was a female or a male. But again, if you don't know that any comment that you have, it was flying really fast.

[00:21:20] It stopped and was on a nattering on a flower. It looked like it was laying eggs, any kind of comment that you think that would help. So dirty north, just to finish up on that, they have a map that I love to watch as you report, they post the re the little monarchs on a map of the whole continent.

[00:21:42] And of course you can zoom in on the map and let them, the sad thing is they it's, a lot of their reporting has been occurring so far for the Eastern population. And like last year, I think there was only four. Reportings for our Western population. Now that could have been because there weren't doing any last year, but it also could have been that this is new for us over here.

[00:22:06] So reporting to a place like journey north or I naturalist or Western Martin milkweed mapper is. Super helpful. The DRI north one, it also has a time lapse, so you can see the population and that's really fun. So hopefully people can check that out, even if they don't observe it. It's fun and funny. The Western Monarch milkweed mapper is, as it says, it's real specific to the Western Monarch and it's another great resource.

[00:22:39] I think they want photographs as well. And that is where you can. Not only monarchs, but they asked about milkweed species, which is a real big part of this, it, especially with changing climate and all that. How important is it that what's happening with the plant material, vegetation, flowers, and food sources as a migrating population?

[00:23:04] My race. So those would be the three I would suggest they do talk to one another and we're working hard, I think, as a scientific community to blend all that and share it

[00:23:14] Andony Melathopoulos: all. It raises a really thanks for that. And we will have the the, all of those linked up in the show notes. And I guess. You raise this issue of climate change and we had a heat dome last year, and I was surprised to see such good returns when, everything was just so hot, smoky.

[00:23:34] And I guess what I wonder about is, with, mapping of milkweed and when it blooms and when it's available. What are we learning about, mismatches between, when the butterflies show up and the kind of a bit, the suitability of Milky patches for those butterflies?

[00:23:53] Robert Coffan: I think some pretty interesting news about that. I'm going to interrupt you a Monarch sad facts. Are you ready for a Monarch?

[00:24:00] Andony Melathopoulos: Always. Okay.

[00:24:02] Robert Coffan: Now this is multiple choice. So in for those of you that can't see, and he has a huge smile on his face right now. I think he's getting through. Okay. So this fits in with everything we're talking about.

[00:24:14] All right. This is a fun fact I did with my grandsons, by the way. So you're in big company. All right. Monarchs track the day Lang cause they, they linked sun direction and the Earth's magnetic fields, all to migrate. What part of their body do they actually sense the magnetic field? Think about that first and I'll give you your choices.

[00:24:39] They sense the magnetic field as part of the way that they migrate mean that. Plus what fascinates me is how in the world did we figure that out? What part of their body do they sense? The magnetic field? Hey, they carry a magnet in their pocket. Be. Seat hairs. See their head D the tips of their antenna.

[00:25:08] He's

[00:25:08] Andony Melathopoulos: thinking folks. I am thinking Pete hair seems, I can't think head seems the obvious one, but I'm going, that's so obvious and you wouldn't have pitched it that way. I'm going to for the last one, what was the last one? Antenna?

[00:25:27] Robert Coffan: You are, you don't want to carry a magnet in their pocket?

[00:25:30] Andony Melathopoulos: I love that answer. Correct?

[00:25:36] Robert Coffan: Yes. It's still the tip. So if you've ever looked at a Monarch again up close and you see their antenna and you see the little black tips on the end, think about that when asked me how it works, but think about it.

[00:25:47] Andony Melathopoulos: Fantastic. Thanks for the thanks for putting me on the spot.

[00:25:52] Robert Coffan: Okay. Moving back to your question because it's a great question. First of all, I think everyone agrees that, there's significant climate change going on and there has been some research, especially in the butterfly world. I know Taylor from Monarch watch has published a lot as so as Francis Villa Blanca.

[00:26:12] So moose is a peaceful about not only climate change, but modeling and so on. That shows how it's impacting the monarchs. And I won't take time to go into all of that, but I think that's trying to have a given cause there's been some predictions that show that the California side has increased about two degrees warmer.

[00:26:34] And other areas. So think about that. Every area in the U S the temperature is rising, but that California rim over there, Southern or central California, where the temperatures even rising faster in these last 10, 15 years. Okay. And some more modeling has shown that the Monarch butterflies are likely going to be moving Upland and Northern.

[00:27:01] Which makes sense, move up land where the temperatures are cooler and move northward. Whether the numbers are cooler, the thing is what's up. Will there be habitat will be milkweed and other plants be blooming if the monarchs do that. So that we'll get to the second part of the answer here is something I'm really pleased about, and that is this there's this concept of what people are calling on.

[00:27:28] Phenological mismatch. And that's exactly does milkweed that you brought up entity is what we're referring to the monarchs. What was one of the reasons that the learn population dropped? Could it be that the spring migrating monarchs moved out and they moved out early? And if they move out earlier, the milkweed is needed to be out there for them, for their young, the caterpillars isn't up yet.

[00:28:00] So they show up, they reproduced and there isn't any milkweed. So to answer that or to look into it further, some of the folks that are at Western Monarch advocating. I have launched this program to there's a certain milkweed that's called a California milkweed or a sloppiest California that blooms or grows starts to grow a little earlier than the other native species.

[00:28:30] And there's been some controversy about how important is native versus non native? And I don't want to get into that too much. There's another non-native in California that a lot of folks are looking at because it's some issues related to it. Tropical milkweed, and it's, it grows early as well.

[00:28:48] People are there controversial about that? So this group said okay, here's this native milkweed population grows earlier. Let's go out and let's find out. And look at, not just look in urban areas, let's go out in nature, up in the Hills, over by San Diego, and up north and all through the area and look for the California milkweed and see if we can find it.

[00:29:13] Here's a really interesting part. The scientific communities have these two opposing views on this, which was. It's great because it's early, it's really going to help, but it's also loaded with extra latex and has really thick it's really fuzzy stuff. So the tri Combs on the outside of the leaf, plus the latex.

[00:29:38] We're some folks said, oh, the tiny baby caterpillars, they can't eat it. They can't get through the size. And when they do eat it, the latex gums up their mouth parts and they died. It's not a good milk weed species of all. Don't worry about it. Leave it alone. This year we're researching it finally.

[00:29:55] That's great. It's a good example. And what they're finding thus far, and there'll be reports on it later on in the year is documented evidence that. All kinds of Monarch caterpillars are being sound. On the California milkweed out in the wild and people have been watching and documenting it and signing the little caterpillar is growing into those big size, tiny ones and on into the adult stage.

[00:30:24] So it's just a good. Story about how, okay. First of all, we identified a problem. Second of all, somebody came up with a, what is solution? And then third of all let's go get together and collaborate. And then we're talking with California department of fish and wildlife, Western Monarch advocates, all kinds of community, citizen, folks to get up there.

[00:30:49] You can imagine. How time consuming, but also fun. It might be to keep going to a site to watch and see are the Caterpillar's still feeding. Is this still working? Are they, having problems and so on? Oh, I better get solar over and then I better share it. So that's ongoing. And Dr. Land is Tom Landis is tired of taking a lead on that and we'll be reporting on it.

[00:31:15] Andony Melathopoulos: I suppose the thing is milkweed and leech and these butterflies have been in an arms race trying to, and even though something can be in, the plants probably in inhospitable to many other herbivores, but bilk wheat, monarchs have really. Honed in, on overcoming those defenses.

[00:31:35] Robert Coffan: Yes. Fester how they can stay. So Shogun and pop might orange wings and say I you're coming with me. I think that started long ago, Bob pile, and some others talking about the barfing blue Jay. And which was someone observing a learned response of birds, eating a Monarch butterfly that's toxic to them and they got a picture of it, throwing it back up.

[00:32:04] Yes, you're right. They've got a very special niche with the

[00:32:06] Andony Melathopoulos: milkweed. Let's take a quick break. I want to ask about Western Monarch advocates next and sort of the work that you do, but let's take a quick break. We'll be right back. I started up again. Okay. We are back. So you talked about Western Monarch advocates.

[00:32:22] What is it, how does it work to conserve a Monarch butterfly? So you've talked about a number of dimensions, walk us through the multidimensions of Western Monarch havoc.

[00:32:33] Robert Coffan: Oh, love Western Monarch advocates itself. Okay. But since everyone was on a break, I just want to check with you.

[00:32:38] Do you still remember how the Monarch butterfly tracks the magnetic seal? Yay. All right, we're ready to go for the next part. Yeah. I'd love to share with you. So Western mark advocates, who are we? And I'm not going to go into a big, long thing, but what we are not is we definitely be. These this group not to be another Monarch group at the trucks, so to speak.

[00:33:08] There's so many that are doing great things and learning scientifically and reaching out and so on. Here's what we wanted to do back when we started, which was so four years ago, we realized everyone's in their own state. Everyone has their own turf, their own agencies, their own garden clubs, their own research rooms and classrooms, their own funding and all that.

[00:33:35] And we have this population that have monarchs that is exists, nationwide. And in the west, nine different states plus Canada, including where you said you came from Alberta every now and then. And we thought what we need to do if we can every now and then bring these people together and have them interact with one another and hang out and talk and share, not just researchers, but everyone they're going to probably go back and do whatever they do.

[00:34:10] That's it. That's all we were thinking. If this collaboration and getting together helps folks to then go back to where they are and do what they're doing better to help restore the habitat for monarchs and other pollinators. Not only did we do it and we win monarchs wind. And so do all of our other native pollinators.

[00:34:31] So that's what we got. Western Monarch advocates. We held a big summit back in even though good old Southern Oregon Monarch advocates, which I helped call sound. We were the starters of all this, but the summit that we held in 2020, some folks might even remember that was sound in the Carmel.

[00:34:53] Yeah. Yeah. Pacific Grove Carmel and Monterey bay is a great standing room only. And that's exactly what happened. Folks came in, we had a three-day summit speakers workshops go to the modern groves and enjoy them and see them and get that great feel for it and so on. And then, and talk and share, and then go back to, we had people from Hawaii all the way to me.

[00:35:18] Wow. You don't have to live

[00:35:19] Andony Melathopoulos: here to care

[00:35:21] Robert Coffan: about the Western monarchs. So that's the one thing that we did. And I'm going to tell you about our next step, which would be international in scope, but I want to go back to your specific question about another thing that we've done to help. And that is the actual conservation of the Monarch butterflies, probably really like this outreach.

[00:35:45] How did this collaboration. For reals, did that really happen? Where people did something better? Okay. So last year I get a phone call us forest service international programs. Now, any of you ever heard of us forest service international program? So can you shake it and said, no, a lot of people haven't and if they're listening now, they'd probably know that.

[00:36:11] And it's a program that's often for birds that migrate out of our country. So we care about that. They contacted Western Monarch advocates and said, Hey, we hear what's going on with the Western Monarch. And we know it also travels just like the Eastern downwind. Areas of Mexico. No, sorry. That's the wrong way.

[00:36:35] Western Monarch gets down into the Baja region, so they also still stay over here, but it makes it on into Canada. And they said we've got some funding for our wings across the Americas program. And we've identified, California is probably a focal point, but also Oregon. As maybe the second most important state probably mentioned the link and the links and all this.

[00:37:01] And they said we would like to have you guys figure out where should we provide some funding in Oregon to restore Monarch habitat? Where are there some shakers and movers that can really do it? So we really do this and don't just arm. And second of all, is it in a place where the Monarch butterflies truly do migrate?

[00:37:23] So we collaborated with the disputes land trust. Okay. Can we got the us forest service in, by the way, the guy was from Washington DC. We've got that. We've got Western Monarch advocates. We've got the Deschutes land trust, which is central Oregon. And they said we'll be the administrators of this for you.

[00:37:41] We will help in that way. And then we identified four different areas in Oregon, too. Spread out this restoration dollars and got involved with here in Southern Oregon. Maybe you've heard of the bear Creek restoration initiative, people that have all banded together after the ravaging fires that rips through this area and have been trying to restore our right period corridors and Greenway areas.

[00:38:13] And they, we are now leading in that area. Eight to 10. Pollinator garden areas along in mixed in with all the rest of the restoration work that's going on because as we were talking on the break and this doesn't have to be real specific, like it's a different thing. All you need to do is weave in the vegetation, a little milkweed, as well as other plants that Pall that are nectar producing throughout the summer season.

[00:38:47] For our different generations of monarchs, but also all our pollinators really need nectar, very sources throughout a season, and just weave that into all the rest of the restoration work. So we've been working with them here on that, but also the rest of the Oregon area, further to the. Elkton Oregon are going to be growing three or 4,000 milkweed plants this year.

[00:39:13] Thanks to that effort. They're a partner. So the key, all these different entities in mind, can you believe that in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Mansion and Washington park, how many folks have been there as tourists? This year for the first time, the first pollinator gardens that they've ever done in their carts are going, are being built right now.

[00:39:40] As we chat mansion and Washington DC. And then finally over in central Oregon, where the Deschutes land trust is working as also outsourcing all kinds of milkweed, giving them away because of the funds to grow it and giving away milkweed and other nectar bearing plants to any kind of groups that needed to go out and plant, and then they're doing the planting on their own.

[00:40:07] So I know that was long-winded. But if you are thinking about all the different entities. The guy involved because of that. That's when I say.

[00:40:18] Andony Melathopoulos: It's a great combination of federal dollars making their way to communities and the connection. The thing I always love about the Monarch world is the enthusiastic, the advocates.

[00:40:31] There's a lot of you out there. And I guess that brings us to. You were hinting the next conference of the Western Monarch advocates. Tell us a little bit about that. I imagine there's a lot of people who are looking for an opportunity to get together and share stories and share celebrate what they've been able to do.

[00:40:50] Robert Coffan: Sure. Can you hear this fake drum roll? That

[00:40:53] Andony Melathopoulos: was real.

[00:40:55] Robert Coffan: Oh, okay. Yes. So that you remember, that's what started us in the fact that we got this call and we, a lot of the Monarch advocates on our board and that are doing whatever they do best. We all freely agree with that. We all said it's time, Kobe.

[00:41:12] The wildfires hit everyone hunkered down. So folks, the normal is that in January of 2023, Western modern advocates is facilitating and now setting up as we speak a deep international Western monarchs. And this one will be down in the Pismo area. Pismo Monarch grows and San Luis Obispo area. Again, it will be like a three day type of a thing with speakers.

[00:41:44] And you mentioned international, we'll have speakers from Canada as well as Mexico. Possibly. It's looking like a pretty known figure from Australia. And perhaps from R native American or Indian tribes, we're not sure we're looking at all that as well as of course, researchers right here as well.

[00:42:06] One of our keynote speaker from the United States was really big back here, David James at Washington state university, but all kinds of other speakers. Workshops about milkweed field trips to the Monarch groves side trips. If you come early and you want to go learn about other things and go to the beach and take a biplane ride, if you want.

[00:42:30] I won't be part of what you pay for though when you join to this. So we've got a website with the details on that. Right now it's a save the date thing. And soon that our website will show. The speakers a little bit about the venue, about lodging, about the sealed trips and how to register and costs and all that.

[00:42:51] But January, 2023, the amount of be a lot of fun and it will be the same kind of a thing. Our effort is to bring together the different entities and from all the different realms to come on in and just learn from each other, have a good time with each.

[00:43:09] Andony Melathopoulos: Sad. When you do have the details, let us know, and we'll put it in the introduction of one of the episodes so that people are.

[00:43:16] Ready to go down. I imagine, especially after COVID and people having to do Monarch work on their own in some years within their county, this is going to be a wonderful opportunity to finally network with one another. And. Just learn as much as you can in one spot.

[00:43:34] Robert Coffan: Yes. And anybody that has, if you have not gone through an overwintering site to see a Monarch cluster, that's a bucket list item I would highly recommend.

[00:43:47] And that would be one of the things that you could do if you attended the seminar. If everyone and Anthony can see, I'm waving my finger around. If the monarchs continue. And hang out, hang in there. And stay resilient and continue to exist and hopefully have their populations continue to grow back.

[00:44:10] Andony Melathopoulos: I I can only imagine Robert with the good work that everybody is doing that at least there's a chance now, and I really thank you for taking an opportunity taking time. And I'm really glad for this opportunity to get a catch up from you.

[00:44:24] Robert Coffan: All I can say is likewise not only to you and any I'm so their needs.

[00:44:28] Do you know what? I mentioned? All the different folks in the media folks that are good at getting the word out. Hey, you're a huge part of this and whoever's listening. I just appreciate you giving me the time to share in whatever fashion I can what's going on. Knockout ya,

[00:44:45] Andony Melathopoulos: anytime I hope to have you back soon.

[00:44:48] Robert Coffan: Okay. Thanks very much.

[00:44:50] Andony Melathopoulos: All right.

The Western monarch butterfly population appears to have recovered from a tremendously low number of butterflies returning to overwintering grounds a few years ago. In this episode we try to understand what still remains unknown about this remarkable migrating butterfly species.

Robert has lived in Southern Oregon for 25 years and has passionately enjoyed researching the biodiversity of the northwest; from the headwaters of the Rogue River on the flanks of Mt Mazama, to the hills and rivers where Western Monarchs stop and rear their young. He is fascinated by the beauty and life processes of the Monarch butterfly and other pollinators. He has worked to help restore their habitat and bring the population back. Robert shares his knowledge and enthusiasm with students, colleagues, families and children, clients, landowners, decision makers and volunteers. Robert never loses sight of the importance of preserving and caring for this beautiful and diverse part of the world we call home on planet Earth.

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