Colorado Butterfly Monitoring Training

Colorado Butterfly Monitoring Network (CBMN)
What: A statewide citizen science project to observe and count butterflies
Who: Butterfly Pavilion’s Science and Conservation Branch started this project in 2013. Volunteers from all over the state participate
Where: Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center
When: April 23rd: 12:30-4:30
Why: To raise awareness about Colorado butterflies and their habitats. To provide long-term data that can be used when making land management decisions.

Butterfly Pavilion has joined 11 other states and regions from around the country in using citizen science to monitor the trends and fluctuations of butterfly populations. The summer of 2013 was the pilot year for this project. Since then Butterfly Pavilion dramatically expanded the number of sites, from 9 locations to 97, and the number of citizen scientists, from 8 volunteers to over 100.
Over the course a field season, CBMN volunteers walk a designated census route at a specific location a minimum of six times. The “Pollard Walk” protocol is utilized, which requires volunteers to use pre-existing trails that cover multiple habitat types. Each volunteer is trained to identify 25 common butterfly species in their first year and encouraged to master more species over the course of the study.
Using a citizen science model with a standard monitoring protocol or methodology has proven to be a powerful tool to collect data on butterfly species and populations in a region. By monitoring the same census sites from year to year, the CBMN will be able to observe the fluctuations of butterfly abundance in different parts of the state. Over the long term, the information from these surveys will assist land managers in more effective conservation of Colorado’s butterflies and their habitats. This data will also be part of a national butterfly monitoring database, to assist scientists investigating larger trends.
One exciting aspect of this project is how it unites individuals, cities, counties and nonprofits in order to raise awareness about ecosystem health. Our partners made it possible for CBMN volunteers to monitor butterflies at a number of diverse sites and offered additional training materials and general consultation. We sincerely thank the following organizations and look forward to continuing our work with them over the long term: Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, City & County of Broomfield Parks & Open Space, Jefferson County Open Space, Colorado State Parks, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, City of Westminster Open Space, Denver Botanical Gardens at Chatfield, Plans Conservation Center and USF&W.
To register for this training, please contact
If you have any questions regarding CBMN, please contact Butterfly Pavilion Lepidopterist Sarah Garrett at or CBMN Intern Morgan Kerr at

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