4-H Ag Innovators Experience
The Monarchs on the Move Challenge is a part of the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience (4-H AIE), an annual program that challenges young people to apply critical thinking and STEM skills to a real-world agriculture challenge. Developed by National 4-H Council and Monsanto, the program helps develop critical workforce skills in young people, and demonstrates how agriculture can be fun! This year's activity is the Monarchs on the Move Challenge, created by Iowa State University. More than 5,000 youth across five states will be challenged to learn about monarch butterflies, pollination, and the need to work together to be good stewards of the land.
In Iowa, the collaborative, hands-on challenge will help youth:
- Learn about the unique lifecycle of butterflies.
- Learn why the monarch butterfly is a flagship species representing many pollinators that contribute to our food supply and the health of our planet.
- Understand the challenges that impact the monarch butterfly’s declining population including habitat loss, extreme weather, and pest management.
- Explore ways to increase monarch habitat, its importance, and ways that everyone can participate.
- Understand the collaborative effort required to increase monarch populations. Enhancing monarch butterfly reproduction and survival will require a collaborative and coordinated effort from farmers, government, private citizens and businesses.
Monarchs on the Move Challenge
During the challenge, youth will use modeling to understand the declining population of the monarch butterfly and the important relationship between the agricultural landscape and biodiversity to enhance habitat for a sustainable population.
- Monarch butterfly lifecycle: Learn about the biology of the monarch butterfly including its lifecycle and habitat
- Hungry Caterpillar: Experience life as a monarch caterpillar as you try to get food and avoid predators and other dangers. Collect data like a scientist.
- This Land is Your Land: Use satellite images to look and the landscape and find opportunities for monarch habitat while learning about conservation practices in agriculture and in cities.
- Planting kits: Get materials to plant your own monarch habitat!