The Monarch Monitoring Project is a long-term study on monarch migration through Cape May, NJ. It is a part of the New Jersey Audubon Research Department, and closely affiliated with the Cape May Bird Observatory.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The 2016 Monarch Season Begins

Thanks to Dave Magpiong for this photo.

The field season for the Monarch Monitoring Project got off to a head start last Friday at the annual "Pledge to Fledge" event at Cape May Point State Park.  We spent three hours talking about monarch biology and migration and tagged the first 4 monarchs of the year.  This great event is designed to introduce lots of Cape May summer visitors to the amazing natural history of the Cape.

Most of the fall seasonal staff for the Cape May Bird Observatory began work today, and tomorrow we will introduce them all to the work of the Monarch Monitoring Project.  We'll report back with photos of the group in action on their first visit to the gardens of Cape May Point.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The 2016 Monarch Monitoring Project Team

We’re happy to introduce the Monarch Monitoring Project Field Naturalist Interns for the 2016 field season.  The Monarch Monitoring Project is a program of New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory.

Lindsey Brendel teaching about monarchs.

Lindsey Brendel will be returning for a third season.  If you came to Cape May during the monarch season in 2014 or 2015 it’s likely that you met Lindsey.  She has been the passionate mother to monarchs raised in the display at the Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center, and a super-enthusiastic presenter at our tagging demos and the drop-in programs at the Cape May Point Triangle Park.  Perhaps you just ran into Lindsey’s smiling face and trusty butterfly net around Cape May Point as she tagged monarchs at the gardens and parks around the community.  Behind the scenes Lindsey has done a great job organizing our data and the materials used in our research and education efforts.

Diane Tassey teaching about monarchs.

Joining Lindsey this year will be Diane Tassey, who brings a wealth of experience to our project.  Diane holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Education and has many years of teaching experience.  She has taught about monarchs in the classroom and also taught an in-service course for other teachers titled, “A Cross Curricular Study of Monarch Migrations.”  She has studied monarchs at the wintering territory in Mexico, rainforest ecology in Belize, and salmon habitat in Washington state.  She lives in northern New Jersey and has visited Cape May often during the fall to observe the monarch migration, and this year she has carved out the time to spend the full migration season working with out team.  We’re excited to welcome Diane to “Team Monarch” and imagine we’ll learn as much (or more) from her as she might learn from us.

Perennial members of “Team Monarch” include Founder and Director Emeritus Dick Walton, Field Coordinator Louise Zemaitis, and Director Mark Garland, along with many enthusiastic volunteers.

Dick Walton

Louise Zemaitis
Mark Garland
We hope to welcome many monarch enthusiasts to Cape May this fall.  Our field season runs from September 1 through October 31, and our formal programs begin on Sept. 14.  We’re often asked to predict the best time for seeing monarchs in Cape May, and unfortunately we can’t pinpoint the exact days ahead of time.  We can say that usually most monarchs migrate through Cape May between September 10 and October 20, but during that period some days will have many monarchs and some days will have few.  We do promise, however, to update our blog and FaceBook pages frequently through the season, and we’ll make a special effort to get the word out whenever we see a significant upsurge in monarch numbers.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Correction to application procedures

Our previous post about the fall Field Naturalist Intern positions with the Monarch Monitoring Project included an incorrect e-mail address for applications.  This has been corrected in the previous post.  If you tried sending your application to the incorrect address, try again, sending to:  The deadline has been extended by one week to ensure that all applications are received.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Our Community Mourns

Cape May Point will seem a little empty this fall when the field season begins for the Monarch Monitoring Project.  Edie Schuhl passed away last week.  Edie and her husband Bill planted and maintained a wonderful, wildlife-friendly garden at their home in Cape May Point.  I'm sure more monarchs have been tagged in the Schuhl's garden than anywhere else around Cape May.  Edie and Bill always welcomed our team into their garden and into their home, offering snacks, cold beverages, and a friendly smile or hug (or both).  In the photo below, Edie & Bill are in their garden, visiting with MMP Field Coordinator Louise Zemaitis and 2012 Field Naturalist Julia Druce.  Louise & Julia are seated on a bench that was placed here strictly for the benefit of the monarch taggers.

It wasn't enough for Edie & Bill to simply create one haven for monarchs and other wildlife.  They were instrumental in the development of another amazing butterfly garden a block away from their home.  The Triangle Park, owned by the Borough of Cape May Point, is now another haven for monarchs and a spot where we engage in tagging and educational outreach.  The old boat, shown below, became a picturesque flower box at the north corner of the park.

2014 - 2015 Field Naturalist Lindsey Brendel gives an
educational program at the Triangle Park.

Edie touched the lives of many during her time on earth.  Some of her accomplishments are noted on her obituary:!/Obituary.  But what many of us around Cape May remember most vividly are the ready smiles, the heartfelt hugs, the upbeat attitude, and the endlessly deep level of compassion she shared with family, friends, neighbors, strangers, and the natural world.

Edie & Bill in their garden
Many of us who are involved with the Monarch Migration Project have vowed to help Bill maintain the gardens at his house and at the Triangle Park.  The first work day will be Wednesday, July 20, beginning early in the morning to beat the heat.  We feel that we can pay tribute to Edie by working to keep her gardens vibrant and healthy.  Please let us know if you'd like to help out on July 20 or at a future date.

Many groups visit Edie & Bill's garden each fall.
This group included members of the NJ House of Delegates.

2014 Field Naturalist Angela Demarse on the tagging bench
in Edie & Bill's garden.

We'll all see Edie's spirit soaring with the monarchs
over Cape May Point every fall.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Help Wanted

Position: Field Naturalist Intern, Monarch Monitoring Project
Departments: Research and Education
Location: Cape May, New Jersey
Reports to: CMBO Program Director and MMP Director
Job Classification: Fulltime Seasonal

Job Description: FIELD NATURALIST INTERN for ongoing MONARCH MONITORING PROJECT at New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory, Cape May, New Jersey August 25 to October 31. Cape May is renowned as one of the world's great hot spots for migration. NJA fosters the application of sound scientific principles and practices to address conservation issues related to vertebrate and invertebrate fauna, and the natural habitats with which they are associated. 

·         Daily road censuses of migrating Monarchs
·         Monarch tagging
·         Data entry
·         Educating the public about the project and Monarch biology

      Experience interacting with the public and excellent interpersonal skills
      Enthusiastic and motivated self-starter who is also a strong team player
      Familiarity with insect ecology a plus, but not required
      Willingness to work irregular hours
      Careful data collecting and entry skills
      Must have own vehicle and a valid, clean driver’s license
      Must be able to lift and carry 25 lbs as needed

Start Date: August 25, 2016                                  Ending Date: October 31, 2016

Salary: $900/month; housing and reimbursement for gas provided

Application Deadline: July 8, 2016

Please send cover letter of interest, resume, and three references as a single pdf document (including email and phone contact info) to:  New Jersey Audubon (NJ Audubon) is a privately supported, not-for profit, statewide membership organization. Founded in 1897, and one of the oldest independent Audubon societies, NJ Audubon is not connected with the National Audubon Society. NJ Audubon is an equal opportunity employer (EOE).

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Work with us this autumn

We will soon be posting the position description and application procedures for our fall Field Naturalist Intern positions. If you or someone you know might be interested in working with the Monarch Migration Project in Cape May this fall, be sure to watch this site for all the details.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Success in the World Series of Birding

Searching for Birds in the forest at Higbee.

The CMBO Monarchists team enjoyed a great deal of success and good luck in the recent World Series of Birding.  We didn't win any trophy this year, but our total of 145 species was a whopping 34 above last year's total.  More importantly we raised a considerable amount of money to help fund the Monarch Monitoring Project for the coming field season.  We invite you to read the whole story (and enjoy some photos from our day in the field) here:

Monarchists team members (l to r): Michael O'Brien, Louise Zemaitis, Mark Garland, Meg Walker Hedeen, & Lu Ann Daniels