Karen Oberhauser

Karen Oberhauser, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum and the founder and director of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project.

Editor's Note: In the original publication of this article, Dana Schweitzer was quoted incorrectly. The original quote said 'vertebrates' when the correct quote was 'invertebrate.' The mistake was fixed and the Iowa State Daily apologizes for the error.

An informational session on the effects human habits have on monarch butterflies habitats will be open to the public at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

Karen Oberhauser, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum and director of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, will be presenting “Monarch Conservation: Saving an Iconic Insect” to raise awareness on the declining monarch population.

“[Oberhauser] will be talking about the potential benefits of viewing the monarch butterfly as a ‘champion species’ to help protect other invertebrates and bring more awareness to conservation to the monarchs and other invertebrates in all types of different landscapes,” said Dana Schweitzer, program coordinator in the entomology department.

The presentation will explore preserving habitats for monarch butterflies, which will in turn benefit other species, according to Oberhauser.

“My research has covered many aspects of monarch biology and most recently I’ve been focused on understanding factors that are driving monarch numbers,” Oberhauser said. “So both climatic factors and habitat availability and other things that might be affecting monarch numbers from year to year. That will be a big thing I’ll be talking about, but I’m also really interested in what people can do to help monarch populations [...].”

Oberhauser said she hopes to help make connections between people and the natural world with her presentation event by bringing awareness to the necessity of stronger conservation efforts.

“Monarchs are a flagship species, so a lot of people recognize monarchs and care about them.” Oberhauser said. “If we promote this recognition and caring at the part of a lot of people, people will become more engaged in conservation and do things that will benefit a lot of other organisms.”

Overall, Oberhauser said the goal of her presentation is for people to take away the idea that although monarchs and other organisms are in trouble, there are a lot of positive things humans can take part in to attempt to save them.

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