Participate in the Annual Thanksgiving Western Monarch Butterfly Count

Volunteer Effort Begins Tomorrow and Runs Through December 5

Goleta Butterfly Grove circa 2013 | Credit: Courtesy

The 25th Annual Thanksgiving Western Monarch Butterfly Count is here! The Western Monarch Butterfly Count is an annual volunteer effort to collect data on the status of the western monarch population along the Pacific coast from Mendocino to Northern Baja, Mexico during the overwintering season, which occurs from approximately October through March. The height of this volunteer effort occurs during the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, which runs for three weeks surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, and during an additional count added in 2017, the New Year’s Count, which occurs during a three week period beginning around New Year’s. The Thanksgiving Count will run from November 13th – December 5th and the New Year’s Count will run from December 25th – January 9th.

Monarch butterflies at Goleta’s Ellwood Butterfly Grove are returning for the winter season, but are still at historically low numbers. About 500 monarchs were counted at Ellwood at the beginning of November. If you would like to help count monarchs in Goleta and other nearby locations, please contact our local area coordinator Charis van der Heide at

The annual Thanksgiving Monarch Count is a community science program organized through the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

To learn more about monarch butterflies and this year’s annual Thanksgiving Count, please visit the following websites:


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