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Reporting on science, technology and innovation in Arizona and the Southwest through a collaboration from Arizona NPR member stations. This project is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.Additional stories from the Arizona Science Desk are posted at our collaborating station, KJZZ:

Southwest Monarch Study Awarded $89K to Track Butterflies

Southwest Monarch Study

Within the past two decades, the North American monarch butterfly population has plummeted.  To aid in its recovery, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently awarded $3 million in grants to various programs, including one in Arizona.  Maya Springhawk Robnett of the Arizona Science Desk reports…

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently awarded nearly 89-thousand dollars to the Southwest Monarch Study, a non-profit based in Arizona.

The Southwest Monarch Study will be using the money to tag monarchs in the state as well as to host Monarch Waystations at eight Arizona state parks.  It plans to distribute and plant native milkweed and nectar plants, which are the primary food sources for monarch butterflies and caterpillars.

Gail Morris, Coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study, says the decline of the monarch is partly due to loss of its habitat.

"We know these habitats are getting lower in number," Morris says, "and so by adding milkweed to areas that are protected, we’re trying to keep the amount of habitat at a healthy rate.”  

The Southwest Monarch Study is one of 22 non-profit organizations and government agencies to receive an award.