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Science Everyday people contribute to research that benefits their communities and the world | By Sally James their hindwings. He recently tagged almost 200 monarchs near Lake Havasu. “It does not hurt the butterfly,” Graves emphasizes. The migration of North American monarchs is an epic north-south journey of up to 3,000 miles. Many monarchs spend the summer as far north as north- ern Canada and winter in the southern United States or Mexico. Tags help researchers with the nonprofit Southwest Monarch Study learn new details about the migrations and about monarch numbers, which are facing serious declines, according to a 2015 U.S. Forest Service report, “Con- servation and Management of Monarch Butterflies: A Strategic Framework.” Habitat loss is among the threats to the monarchs, notes the report, which cites a White House memorandum stating that there is “imminent risk of failed migration.” The Southwest Monarch Study is a member of the Monarch Joint Venture partnership of public and private entities that coordinate efforts to protect the monarch migration across the Lower 48 states. In addition to tagging butterflies for tracking, Southwest Monarch Study activities include monitoring the amount of native milkweed available to monarchs for food and laying eggs, supporting the North American Monarch Conservation Plan, and educating the public about the beautiful pollinators. Surveying the Microscopic Landscape Retired software engineer Malcolm Colton, who lives in California’s Sonoma County wine country, collects information from his house for researchers studying the microscopic landscapes of our homes. The information is designed to help scientists learn more about how microbes such as bacteria in our houses influence our health, and this research may one day lead to strategies for preventing illness. Colton hung up a device that collects informa- tion about temperature and humidity at his home, and also swabs his home to collect microbe samples. The data is sent to a project called The Wild Life of Our Homes (, which is working to map home-related microbes in all 50 states. The project, now in year three, was so intriguing, more than 1,000 citizen scientists signed up after learning about it via social media. New participants are not being sought, but there will most certainly be other upcoming opportunities to help study the biodiversity of our everyday lives, the project website notes. “A number of adverse health symptoms or diseases (itchy eyes, headaches, asthma, allergies, and auto-immune disorders, to name a few) may be linked to changes in the microbial species with which we live,” explains the website. images: except as noted HZ 8.15 CitizenScience.indd 61 AUGUST 2015 A L ASKA B E Y OND MAGA Z INE | HORI Z ON EDITION 61 7/16/15 2:48 PM