We are sad to report the loss of our friend and longtime colleague Lincoln P. Brower. His contributions to monarch biology and conservation were enormous, and his legacy will live on through the many people who continue to work actively to conserve the remarkable migration of monarchs. On July 29 the TODAY show ran a short piece of Lincoln in their “Life Well Lived” segment which you can watch here. Dr. Chip Taylor, MBF Board member emeritus, wrote about Lincoln’s passing in his blog which also contains links to Lincoln’s obituaries in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. A video about Lincoln’s life, posted by Sweet Briar College, is available here as well as an article on his legacy.
In honor of Dr. Lincoln Brower’s extraordinary dedication and commitment to monarch conservation, the Monarch Butterfly Fund has established the Lincoln P. Brower Award, an annual grant of $3,000 USD to support undergraduate or graduate students in research on the conservation of monarch butterflies and their habitats.
Dr. Brower began studying monarch butterflies in 1954 and dedicated his career to research on their biology and conservation. He became enthralled by monarch butterflies ever since his first encounter with them in Mexico and realized then that not only were they beautiful, but their spectacular migration was a gift from nature worth conserving. The Lincoln P. Brower grant will be awarded each year during the fall months to continue his commitment to monarch conservation.
This grant is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from our board members and supporters. If you would like to make a donation online, please go to the donation page or you can send a check to:
Monarch Butterfly Fund
c/o Karen Oberhauser
4013 Yuma Drive
Madison WI 53711
To ensure that your donation is credited to the Brower award please send an email to Karen Oberhauser (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Monica Missrie (email@example.com) indicating that you would like your contribution designated to the “Lincoln P. Brower Award” fund.
To apply please click on the Grant Application Form on our website and follow the guidelines adding a line stating that you are applying to the “Lincoln P. Brower Award” in the “Strategic Initiative” section. Details regarding this Award will be posted by September 1 each year and submissions will be due January 31. The final decision for the Lincoln P. Brower Award will be announced on May 1 annually.
Pablo Jaramillo and Lincoln Brower collaborated with Rob Mackay from the University of Hull, U.K. to set up a live streaming of the sounds from the ecosystem of a monarch colony on Cerro Pelón. The sound is quite remarkable, and it is the first time that this has been accomplished in Mexico! You can hear the monarchs at:
Every fall millions of monarch butterflies begin their long spectacular migration to the mountains of Mexico or coastal California. Through tagging monarchs in the fall we are learning their migration destinations and, very broadly, the routes that they take to reach these destinations. However, we do not know details of the routes they take or perils they face en route. Conservation is a hallmark of the Monarch Butterfly Fund’s (MBF) mission, but advocacy for suitable habitat along their migration route is a challenge because we just don’t know enough. Through tagging programs, starting with a program led by Dr. Fred Urquhart from the University of Toronto, and continuing to day with Monarch Watch, we know that most monarchs from east of the Rocky Mountains migrate to Mexico, but we still lack information about their destinations on the eastern seaboard and Florida. In the west, tagging data through the Southwest Monarch Study reveal that some monarchs in Arizona and New Mexico migrate to Mexico but others fly to California. There is so much more to learn!
Dr. Karen Oberhauser, MBF Treasurer and Director of the UW-Madison Arboretum, explains why MBF is engaging in research focused on understanding more about monarchs’ migratory pathways. “Habitat conservation in the breeding, migratory, and wintering areas is the most important focus of what we do, and will always be the main focus of MBF’s efforts. However, learning several things about their migratory path can have key conservation outcomes. For example, knowing the time taken on the flight, the degree to which individual monarchs diverge from ‘straight line’ pathways, and the kinds of habitat that lead to those divergences will help us to understand the best way to focus migration habitat conservation and restoration. We don’t have the tools to learn these things now.”
The goals of the Flight Challenge are to answer remaining mysteries about monarch migration, and finding the answers to these questions engages everyone from budding scientists in elementary schools to graduate students and more established scientists.
Habitat conservation will always be key to MBF, but pushing the science forward so that we can ensure that our habitat conservation work is based on the best available science will always be important. The purpose of the “Flight Challenge” is to encourage development of new, exciting leading edge technology and the MBF is excited to support this effort! None MBF’s “general” funds will go to the Flight Challenge. This is completely separate effort, so you can be assured that your donations to MBF will continue to be used as for monarch habitat conservation.
To learn more about how the Flight Challenge will accomplish its goals, see https://www.generosity.com/animal-pet-fundraising/the-monarch-butterfly-flight-challenge
This summer the Crescencio Morales, Donaciano Ojeda and Nicolas Romero indigenous communities joined us to plant 23,400 trees in 20 hectares! Our supporters were delighted too and posted their feedback on the GlobalGiving report we sent recently. Some of their comments were:
“Outstanding work at creating a community effort to reforest lands, teach skills and help local communities be the guardians of their own forests. Excellent planting techniques that result in a high survival rate for the seedlings. Well done!”
“I am truly dedicated to helping the survival of the Monarchs and tell everyone I know about my passion.”