Ernest Williams is Professor of Biology Emeritus at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. As a butterfly ecologist for nearly 40 years, he has studied the population biology and conservation of several butterfly species, including monarchs at their Mexican overwintering colonies. He taught undergraduate courses on ecology, evolution, and New York’s Adirondack Park. In addition to scientific articles, he writes about nature; one example is his book The Nature Handbook, which describes observable patterns in plants and animals. His Ph.D. is from Princeton University and his favorite thing to do is to be out in nature looking at plants, butterflies, and other living organisms.
M. Isabel Ramirez is Research-Professor at the Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental (CIGA), Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (UNAM). She is especially interested in the topics of landscape ecology. She has published work on vegetation dynamics, microclimatology, road network, and land cover change of the monarch butterfly overwintering habitat in Mexico. She is teacher of postgraduate courses in Remote Sensing and GIS, and has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students. Currently, she is conducting a research project on the effects of land use change over the local climate at the Monarch Butterfly Reserve.
Isabel Ramirez holds a bachelor degree in Geography from the University of Guadalajara (Mexico, 1995), a Ph. degree in Geography from the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain, 2001), and completed her training as Fellow LEAD International (2006).
As Citizen Science, Don Davis has been involved in a wide range of conservation, scientific and educational projects, beginning in 1967 with Dr. Fred Urquhart’s “Insect Migration Studies” program. Don served on the Board of Michoacán Reforestation Fund prior to the founding of Monarch Butterfly Fund.
Don has had a lifelong interest in natural history, while his education and career focused on child protection. He is a Life Member of Ontario Nature.
Don’s participation with others in workshops and meetings in held in Canada, U.S.A. and Mexico culminated in the North American Monarch Conservation Plan (2008). Don also worked on the Canadian Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan.
Don has supported Journey North and Monarch Teacher Network Canada since their inception and joined Monarch Watch in 1996. Travels related to monarch conservation have taken him all across North America.
With recent retirement, Don remains dedicated to achieving MBF’s Vision for monarchs in North America. He resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Karen Oberhauser Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum; Past-President, Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation.
Karen Oberhauser is the Director of the UW-Madison Arboretum. Before coming to Madison, she and her students at the University of Minnesota conducted research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Her research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science. Her strong interest in promoting a citizenry with a high degree of scientific and environmental literacy led to the development of a science education program that involves courses for teachers, and opportunities for youth to engage in research and share their findings with broad audiences. In 1996, she and graduate student Michelle Prysby started a nationwide Citizen Science project called the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which continues to engage hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. Karen has authored over 90 papers on her research on monarchs, insect conservation, and citizen science.
Chip Taylor Orley R. “Chip” Taylor, Founder and Director of Monarch Watch; Professor Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.
Trained as an insect ecologist, Chip Taylor has published papers on species assemblages, hybridization, reproductive biology, population dynamics and plant demographics and pollination. Starting in 1974, Chip Taylor established research sites and directed students studying Neotropical African honey bees (killer bees) in French Guiana, Venezuela, and Mexico. In 1992, as the bee research was coming to an end, Taylor founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation relative to monarch butterflies. Through the last 18 years Monarch Watch has enlisted the help of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration. This program has produced many new insights into the dynamics of the monarch migration. Four years ago, in recognition that habitats for monarchs are declining at a rate of 6000 acres a day in the United States, Monarch Watch created the Monarch Waystation program. The goal of this program is to inspire the public, schools and others to create habitats for monarch butterflies and to assist Monarch Watch in educating the public about the decline in resources for monarchs, pollinators and all wildlife that share the same habitats.
Position: Managing Director Field Programs, CCSOrganization: Center for Conservation and Sustainability, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park
Dr. Alfonso Alonso is a conservation biologist who has worked for the Smithsonian for 20 years. He is very interested in determining how species of plants and animals are distributed in different ecosystems, as well as the implementation of monitoring programs to ensure their persistence. Dr. Alonso’s interest in nature began early in his life while traveling with his parents to different parts of Mexico, his country of origin. His undergraduate degree in biology led him to study the ecology and conservation of the monarch butterfly. He also studied this phenomenon at risk for his master’s and doctorate at the University of Florida.
Dr. Alonso’s current position focuses on integrating conservation needs with development priorities to maintain biodiversity. He develops evaluation and monitoring programs to minimize the impacts on biodiversity in oil and gas infrastructure projects. To do this, he organizes expeditions with researchers of specialties in different taxonomic groups of plants and animals. These conservation and development partnerships are aimed at avoiding, mitigating, restoring, and compensating the impacts of the projects, and developing best practices to protect biodiversity and maintain ecosystem services. Dr. Alonso enjoys giving talks and working with people from different cultures, and has done studies in America, Africa, and Asia. Dr. Alonso has published more than 50 scientific articles and 5 books.