Every year, volunteer citizen scientists return to the California Coast to participate in the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count. Their work observing and counting monarch butterflies at hundreds of overwintering sites from Mendocino to Baja provides the best look at how the species is faring after years of serious decline.
After entering an “extinction vortex” in 2018 and hitting all-time low numbers in 2020, the 2021 count provided a glimmer of hope as observers, like Mia Monroe of the Xerces Society, saw monarchs bounce back with the highest population count totals in five years.
“I know monarchs are resilient. I know they bounce back. I know they are survivors. They will find a way,” Monroe said.
Produced by Adam Grossberg