Connecting seniors with monarch butterflies!

1 by Hannah Gurholt A Cornell based research group is collaborating with senior citizens and their living centers around Ithaca, NY to increase milkweed gardens for the community. The group is composed of PhD student, Hannah Gurholt, Cornell undergraduate, Retna Arun, REU student, Van Hniang Par, and Cornell lab technician, Paloma Mate-Kodjo. So far, the team has been planting the monarch’s… Read more

Two questions from Cornell Cooperative Extension: Is educational rearing of monarchs still allowed? And, how to encourage milkweed in our fields?

monarch3 Recently two folks from Cornell Cooperative Extension wrote to ask about rearing monarchs and planting milkweeds. Their questions and my answers are given below. Is educational rearing of monarchs still allowed? I am an Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension – Steuben.  I have been trying to find out more information on monarch conservation status and how… Read more

Q&A How monarchs find milkweed

ovipn Brandon wrote in recently about a how monarchs find their milkweed host plants… below is his Q and my A: ________________________________________ Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2021 7:59:59 PM Subject: Monarch Butterfly Chemoreception Dr. Agrawal, My name is Brandon Rosenblatt, I was referred to you during a conversation I was having with Dr. Heather McAuslane at the University of Florida. I… Read more

News, outreach, and podcasts

A quick post to note some recent happenings. First off, last week I received an unexpected phone call from the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a group of elected scientists that are part of an advising body to the US Government. You can read the official NAS announcement, Science magazine article, or Cornell’s press release. Unrelatedly, we had a… Read more

Q&A about tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)

diabrotica Hello, I am a retired physician, neurologist and recent master gardener. I am a fellow butterfly enthusiast and have just returned from Mexico where I saw the wintering monarchs. I have been planting many types of milkweed and observing for several years. I planted tropical milkweed Asclepias curassavica and have been told it is terrible to do that because of… Read more

Q&A with a writer (Dana Church)

glauc2 Dear Dr. Agrawal, My name is Dana Church and I live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I studied bumble bees for my PhD at the University of Ottawa. I am also a children’s author. My upcoming nonfiction book for middle-grade readers (aged 8-12), entitled, “The Beekeepers: How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees” will be published by Scholastic on March… Read more

Q&A about research funding to study monarch butterflies

blip Continuing with Q&A from insightful readers: Chris Padgett of Louisville, KY, recently wrote: “Hello, I recently read your book. I’m curious, is Monsanto or a think tank funded by their industry funding your work? I ask because I find it interesting you suggest GMOs and pesticides are not harming the Monarchs. Hearing you say this in various interviews on YouTube,… Read more

Q&A with a textbook author

c Every couple of weeks I get a very interesting email message from somebody out there who has thought deeply about monarchs and milkweed.  Especially since these exchanges can be insightful and relevant to questions others may be asking, I have decided to start sharing some of these exchanges. Below is a wonderful message from a freelance writer, William Hoover, of … Read more

Monarchs and Milkweed from Mexico Part II

Ornament Hello from Oaxaca!  A few updates on monarchs and milkweed, February 2018… Click here for my photo blog on Monarchs and Milkweed in Mexico Part II Listen to this new podcast and interview about monarchs and milkweed on Brad Grim’s Grow Milkweed forum. See this great book review in American Entomologist And finally, a bit of humor, I think. Illinois… Read more

Second graders do science!

1 Science education should start early!  And as part of our collaborative NSF grant on milkweed genetics and ecology (with Georg Jander from BTI and Steve Broyles from Suny Cortland), we are implementing outreach projects in the K-12 Ithaca schools.  Led by research support specialist, Amy Hastings, and inspired by a set of experiments by former postdoc Patty Jones, second graders… Read more

Outreach: from elementary schools to diversity in graduate school

DSC 0068 Folks in the lab are frequently engaged in outreach activities, ranging from visits to elementary schools to high school teacher training. In the past year, we have visited South Seneca and Belle Sherman elementary schools in Ithaca, and the Lincoln Street Elementary School in Waverly, NY.  We also participate in Expanding Your Horizons events, Cornell Entomology’s Insectapalooza, Cornell Institute for… Read more