The Monarch Alliance (TMA) began as a Maryland-based group in Washington County and has expanded its reach into the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia by partnering with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society. The main activities of TMA involve educating the public on the Monarch butterfly's life cycle, the threats to its spectacular migration, and how the public can help by planting native habitats and engaging in citizen science. One of the primary focuses of TMA is to engage students through outreach programs and the creation of the Junior Monarch Alliance! It is important to TMA to partner with local leaders who have regional expertise and can help share the monarch conservation message.
TMA is working to strengthen the monarch network in Maryland and West Virginia by partnering with the City of Hagerstown on the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, through the installation of a Monarch Waystation, conducting a butterfly and plant ID workshop, and putting on a spring milkweed sale and monarch tagging events at a new city park. They also host Monarch Discovery Days events in early September to celebrate the peak monarch migration in the area, hold monarch tagging events at the Antietam National Battlefield and the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), and conduct extensive outreach both online and through presentations, booths, and other events.
In order to achieve their mission of supporting the monarch migration through education and outreach, TMA continues to build and maintain various partnerships locally. For example, they have a close relationship with Discovery Station, the local children’s science museum in Hagerstown, MD, which will be installing a monarch exhibit to further engage area youth. Through the Junior Monarch Alliance program, TMA and the museum host a program built around the Monarch Larva Monitoring Program. It is their aim to get children into the field to monitor milkweed each summer. They also work closely with the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s NCTC, the Washington County Master Gardeners, and the City of Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Department. Building these relationships has been key to TMA’s success.
TMA feels strongly about youth education to inspire a life-long commitment to conservation. Monarch butterflies are a tool for educators in fostering a long-standing relationship with conservation and serve as the flagship species for building knowledge about pollinators. Instilling this connection early in life will ensure that younger generations are ready to take the baton and continue to tackle the challenge of sustaining habitat for our nation’s wildlife.
Co-Director: Sandy Sagalkin
Co-Director: Tracy McCleaf
Board of Directors:
Jim Jenkins, Member
Ann Aldrich, Member and Consulting Botanist
John Maciolek, Member and Consulting Botanist
Tess Dew, Member
Chris Tawney, Member
Jeff Unsworth, Member
Ann Payne, Member and Frederick County representative
Joette Borzik, Member and WV representative
Katelyn “KC” Walters, Member and PVAS representative
Emily Conrad, Member and Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Representative
Mark Madison, Ph.D , US FWS Historian, NCTC
Brittany Wedd, Member and Discovery Station representative