Iowa Youth Learn about Biodiversity and Monarchs

April 10, 2018, 4:55 pm | Maya Hayslett

youth exploring adult Monarch butterlies.AMES, Iowa - More than 130 Iowa youth will use their critical thinking skills to solve a real-world agriculture challenge through the 2018 4-H Ag Innovators Experience Monarchs on the Move Challenge. Youth will take part in the challenge April 15 as participants in the Maize Program, a Youth Leadership Accelerator designed to provide learning and leadership experiences for youth that relate to Latino and Native American culture. 

Through the Monarchs on the Move Program, youth will be challenged to learn how increasing biodiversity, specifically by increasing habitat for the monarch butterfly, benefits agriculture. Working in teams, participants will build a model to understand the life stages of a monarch butterfly and the difficulties of survival as a monarch caterpillar.

Students will also evaluate a landscape to identify opportunities to increase biodiversity. Acting as consultants, teams will review a land plot scenario to identify three recommended practices to improve the biodiversity of the area and will evaluate the impact of their choices on increasing monarch habitat. These programs are designed to help youth understand the collaborative effort required to increase monarch habitat and thus contribute to sustainable monarch populations.

The collaborative, hands-on challenge will help youth learn about the unique lifecycle of butterflies, and understand the challenges that impact the monarch butterfly’s declining population.  

The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience program is presented by National 4-H Council and Monsanto to help develop critical workforce skills in young people and show that agriculture can be relevant and fun. Students in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska will have the opportunity to participate in the Monarchs on the Move Challenge throughout the spring and summer.

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