Monarchs on the Move Challenge

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The Monarchs on the Move challenge stopped by Cherokee, IA to educate students about the importance of the monarch butterfly in the crop and food production cycle. Monsanto and the National 4-H Council sponsored the program. Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management assists in delivering the program throughout Iowa.


Cherokee, IA — Over 160 sixth graders from the Cherokee area (Ridge View, Cherokee, and Alta-Aurelia) participated in the sixth grade field day at Silver Sioux Recreation Center Friday, May 4, 2018. At the field day, youth experienced the Monarchs on the Move challenge, learning about the importance of monarch butterflies as pollinators in crop and food production. Students interacted with live monarch eggs, caterpillars, butterflies and chrysalises from the USDA monarch colony at Iowa State University. They also participated in discussions and activities with the intentions of not only preserving the monarch population, but increasing biodiversity as well. The preservation and conservation of biodiversity and monarch populations is integral in promoting the pollination of crops, while curtailing the use of pesticides on possible monarch habitats.

Working in teams, students used a model to understand the life stages of a monarch butterfly and the difficulties of survival as a caterpillar. Students evaluated a satellite landscape image to identify opportunities to increase biodiversity, and made recommendations for improvement. Students then evaluated the impact of their choices on increasing the monarch habitat while ensuring productive crop fields. Ashley Cagle, 17, of Spencer High School was the afternoon’s teen leader, and assisted in facilitating the day’s activities and instruction.

The Monarchs on the Move challenge is orchestrated by the 2018 4-H Ag Innovators Experience (4-H AIE), presented by Monsanto, in conjunction with the National 4-H Council. The Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program assists in carrying out the program in Iowa. The purpose of Monarchs on the Move challenge is to help develop critical workforce skills in young people in the form of teen leaders (when possible) and show that agriculture can be relevant and fun. Students in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska will have the opportunity to participate in the Monarchs on the Move Challenge throughout the spring and summer.