The Lepidopterists' Society can provide K-12 students, teachers, and parents resources on butterflies and moth awareness either in the classroom to enhance your educational curriculum, or for your own personal interest and enjoyment. Check out our projects below to find out more about how we can help you.
The Outernet Project
Children are fascinated with nature. The Outernet Project helps place butterfly nets into the hands of children so that they can explore, sample, and learn about butterflies. Children can now receive a 12" insect net, 12" spreading board, insect box, insect pins, How to Make an Insect Collection booklet, and more at no charge by joining The Lepidopterists' Society for a discounted price of $20!
Children also significantly benefit from the participation of our regional partners who provide classes, field trips, and other outreach programs in partnership with The Lepidopterists' Society.
If you lead a 4H group, a Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop, museum, school, or other organized group and provide programs to teach youngsters about butterflies and moths, and would like to offer kids a free butterfly and moth collecting kit, please contact Todd Stout (email@example.com) to participate in the Outernet Project.
We are indebted to the generous contribution of the Bryant Mather Bequest to The Lepidopterists' Society for support of the Outernet Project. We also appreciate BioQuip Products for their generous contribution and partnership in this endeavor. Special thanks go to Robert Michael Pyle who conceived the idea of the Outernet Project and to Martha Weiss who thought of the name.
Working with 4-H Clubs
Lepidoptera are excellent study organisms because they have relatively short life-cycles and are easily obtained from many environments. 4-H members who have questions to be answered, or would like suggestions about any aspect of Lepidoptera, including collecting, observing, photographing, pinning and mounting, studying adult or immature Lepidoptera, as well as identification of unusual or intriguing specimens find help from our membership. Lepidopterists’ Society members are willing to serve as guest speakers and/or to share their expertise with 4-H members who are enrolled in 4-H entomology projects!
- Monarchs in the classroom: Monarchs in the Classroom of the University of Minnesota aims to provide a solid background for understanding the ecology, behavior and evolution of monarch butterflies by providing an interactive forum for communication among students, teachers, and scientists. The website reports scientific discoveries as well as recent high school and middle school projects by students involved in monarch butterfly research.
- National Phenology Network: The National Phenology Network is a site that brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. This site is an information sharing network providing researchers with more data than they could personally accumulate.
- Raising Butterflies: "This website is an encyclopedia of knowledge designed both to help beginners understand the basics and to encourage seasoned veterans to collaborate in the specifics of raising butterflies from western North America and beyond."
- Students Guide to Butterflies: "The purpose of this Student/Teacher Guide is to help teachers organize information into a useful format for presentation. The guide is broken down into four modules that introduce the topics of butterfly physiology and life cycle. In addition, there are three modules included to help the students better understand the general ecological relationships that butterflies have with their environments. Found within the modules are also pieces of information which pertain to the farming of butterflies, located at the end of the module."
- The Children's Butterfly Site: "The Children's Butterfly Website was originally developed by renowned lepidopterist Paul A. Opler in conjunction with the Fort Collins Science Center. This project is based upon work previously supported by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Program. Today, the Children's Butterfly Site is now a project of the Butterfly and Moth Information Network. Funding support comes from advertisers."
Research projects you can participate in!
- Journey North: An educational and citizen science program devoted to tracking the migrations of many wildlife species, including monarch butterflies. Excellent educational materials and interactive features that target K-12 classrooms, but are useful for anyone interested in phenology or migration.
- Monarch Watch: An educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas that engages citizen-scientists in large-scale research projects. This program produces real data that relate to a serious conservation issue. Monarch Watch gets children of all ages involved in science. Its website provides a wealth of information on the biology and conservation of monarch butterflies and many children use it as a resource for science fair projects or reports. Additionally, children are encouraged to showcase their research or school projects on the Monarch Watch website. Children can be involved in real science with the tagging program and the Monarch Way Station program.
- Monarch Health This is a citizen science program that tracks infection rates of the Ophyrocystis elektroskirrha (Oe) parasite in monarch populations across North America. Their website includes information on how to rear healthy monarchs, check for parasites in adult monarchs, and some of the latest research on Oe.
- Monarch Larva Monitoring Project: This began in 1997 at the University of Minnesota. It involves citizens in collecting data that will help to explain the distribution and distribution patterns of monarchs in North America. The program tracks distribution and abundance of eggs and larvae throughout the monarch breeding range.
- Tactics and Vectors--Research on Butterfly Migration: This is a site encouraging anyone to participate in a continent-wide field research program that documents the flight tactics and navigational behavior of migratory butterfly species in North America. It is also a tool for teachers to develop lesson plans based on field studies of butterfly migration to illustrate methods of data collection, analysis, and hypothesis testing.
- Milkweed and Ozone Pollution: This is an instructional site for carrying out a milkweed check-up project to see how ozone pollution affects milkweed plants. It provides background information on plant use for observing pollution and data sheets for teachers to use with their students.
- North American Butterfly Association NABA is a non-profit organization formed in 1992. NABA's mission is to increase public enjoyment and conservation of butterflies. NABA focuses on the joys of non-consumptive recreational butterflying including listing, gardening, observation, photography, rearing and conservation. They also coordinate the annual 4th of July Butterfly Count and other butterfly observations. Chapters throughout North America are great resources for meeting people interested in butterflies.
- National Phenology Network A site that brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. This site is an information sharing network providing researchers with more data than they could personally accumulate.
- The Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) project is ambitious effort to collect and provide access to quality-controlled data about butterflies and moths for the continent of North America from Panama to Canada. The project is hosted by the Butterfly and Moth Information Network and is directed by Kelly Lotts and Thomas Naberhaus. Our goal is to fill the needs of scientists and nature observers by bringing verified occurrence and life history data into one accessible location.
Conservation Issues, Butterfly Gardening, and Habitat Restoration
- The Monarch Butterfly in North America: A website put together by several Federal agencies that is a gateway to news, information, activities, and resources about the biology and conservation of the monarch butterfly. The website aims to educate the public and increasing understanding of monarch biology and conservation.
- Butterfly Encounters; This site sells supplies for butterfly gardens, including seeds from many milkweed species, providing information on these plants' significance in the monarch habitat.
- Butterfly Gardening and Conservation: Includes a step-by-step guide to making a garden, provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation. It has a butterfly identification section as well as description of significant plants for butterfly gardening and conservation.
- How to Make a Butterfly Garden: This is a University of Kentucky site. It includes a list of butterflies along with specific nectar preferences for each. It also has background information on butterflies and their anatomy.
- Milkweed Farm: This site provides information on various milkweed species in every U.S. state, plus tips for how to raise both milkweed plants and monarch butterflies. It also sells milkweed seeds along with many butterfly books and useful teaching aids.
- Milkweed--An Introduction: A guide to milkweed species for your area and links to purchasing milkweed plants. It provides background on why milkweed is essential for the survival of monarchs and tips for growing milkweed and rearing monarch butterflies.