Save the World in Your Backyard: Volunteer to Raise Monarch Butterflies

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A fun opportunity to help preserve monarchs!

Image Courtesy Minneapolis Parks

The Minneapolis Park Board is looking for volunteers  to raise adult butterflies from eggs for the Minneapolis Monarch Festival – Festival de la Monarca™ on September 12, 2015.  This annual festival releases over 100 butterflies marked with a small, weatherproof identification tags each year. The tagged adult monarchs, raised from eggs by volunteers, will be part of a large-scale study of the monarch’s migration (just like we learned about in Flight of the Butterflies last fall).

By taking part in this opportunity, you will be helping to increase the monarch population which is perilously small and vulnerable to disease. The eggs are collected from the wild as opposed to being harvested from large rearing operations. This helps to reduce the potential of genetic adaptations.

You will also get to observe the life cycle of a monarch from egg to butterfly. So you get to sneak in some science, help a good cause and have fun as a family all rolled into one.

There is a fee of $5 per person to participate, but when you look at the price of a kit ($20-$40), this is a great opportunity — plus it is possible kit eggs would not be harvested from the wild.

Interested families will need someone to attend a one-hour training program to learn monarch biology and best rearing practices for each stage of the monarch life cycle. Each person who attends will receive three monarch eggs and all equipment needed to raise an adult from an egg and bring it to the Festival. Kids are encouraged to participate and no experience is necessary.  You do need a source of non-treated milkweed.


Two trainings will be held, both at Nokomis Community Center in Minneapolis:

  • Training session 1: Saturday, August 15, 2015 from 11:30am-12:30pm.
  • Training session 2: Monday, August 17, 2015 from 6pm-7pm.

Training costs $5 per person to cover staff time, rearing supplies, and eggs. Class sizes are limited so register soon!  Spanish speakers are welcome.  Classes will be conducted in English and training materials are available in both languages.   Registration and information here:


Contact (for rearing monarchs):
Dane Elmquist, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab
2003 Upper Buford Circle, 135 Skok Hall, St Paul, MN 55108
Contact (about the Festival):
MaryLynn Pulscher, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
3800 Bryant Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408


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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.

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