Monarchs on the Move Offers Opportunities in STEM

three teens examining monarchsAMES, Iowa – A group of Iowa 4-H'ers will come to Ames March 2–3 to be trained as a cadre of leaders for a new STEM curriculum, "Monarchs on the Move." Once trained, the young people will share their excitement and knowledge about monarchs with youth across the state. They’ll use a program designed by a team of Iowa State professionals, researchers and staff associated with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium.

The curriculum, created by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach at the request of the National 4-H Council for the 2018 Ag Innovators Experience, highlights the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and the importance of biodiversity to agriculture, and explores ways to increase habitat for the monarch butterfly and pollinators. 

Modeling is one technique the newly trained high school youth leaders will use when they lead "Monarchs on the Move." Modeling will provide young people the life experiences of a monarch caterpillar and highlight factors that impact survival to become a monarch butterfly. Satellite images will be used to give youth a view of the landscape from the point of view of a butterfly, making it possible to identify areas where milkweed and nectar plants could be found. These tools allow participants to identify where additional habitat could be planted for the monarch butterfly, resulting in increased biodiversity.  

Each trained teen leader will share the "Monarchs on the Move" experience at local and regional events. The "Monarchs on the Move" curriculum will be implemented by 4-H programs in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska and is expected to reach 5,000 youth from rural, urban and suburban backgrounds.  

For more information about the upcoming workshop and the "Monarchs on the Move" curriculum contact Lynne Campbell,, or Maya Hayslett,

[PHOTO] Teens share their excitement for butterflies during training exercises.