Inviting Monarch Butterflies to Dummerston

The Monarch Butterfly project provided funding for a second year of what was first funded privately. Judy Fink, Dummerston resident and then Dummerston Conservation Commissioner, invited community members to become involved in a local conservation effort to increase biodiversity for pollinators in their gardens, starting with Monarchs. The Dummerston Conservation Commission project partnered with a local farmer who raised swamp milkweed seedlings, distributed to participants free of charge, thanks to Tiny Grant funding. Judy trained with the nationally recognized Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) so that she could collect larva data in her garden. She shared materials with participants and provided onsite training for those interested in collecting their own data. Judy regularly corresponded with participants and posted a blog to the Dummerston Conservation Commission website, providing information and resources, videos and photos. 28 residents participated in the project - an increase from 18 participants in 2020.

Project Contact: Judy Fink
Project Contact Email:
Year Project Started: 2020
Year Completed: 2021
Project Lifespan: 2020-2021
Regional Planning Commision: Windham Regional Commission
Citizen Science
Other Keywords: outreach; wildlife
Project Accomplishments:

This project provided an opportunity for the community to be involved in a local conservation effort, get outside, learn from their neighbors, and work towards increasing biodiversity in their garden and the community. Wider community visibility was provided through DCC website blog postings. Because of COVID protocol, we only met in person twice (plant pick-up and data collection workshop). Judy posted weekly monitoring data from her garden to the MLMP national database. We believe the project met, and possibly exceeded, its goals. Project participants expressed joy in participation, curiosity in learning, and increased knowledge and involvement.

Project Partners:

Dummerston Conservation Commission
Bunker Farm - Helen O'Donnell, grower
Monarch Joint Venture/Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (Judy Fink - larva monitoring training and consultation)

Critical to Success:

This genesis of this project was when Judy Fink, by chance, planted swamp milkweed in her garden several years ago. The plants became hosts for successful generations of Monarch caterpillars. Spurred by personal interest, she pitched a community science project to the Dummerston Conservation Commission in 2020, personally funded swamp milkweed seedlings for 18 interested Dummerston residents, and launched year 1 of the project. With continued involvement from these first year participants, Judy was encouraged to build out the project, become trained in larva monitoring, and received grant funding to increase the cohort. (Judy was a DCC commissioner until the completion of this project.)


COVID prevented the participants from meeting together on a regular basis.