Rachel TaylorSaving the Monarchy Southwest Monarch Study
Rachel Taylor is a local business owner, Citizen Scientist, and volunteer Research Associate for Southwest Monarch Study. She is passionate about engaging fellow Utahns in discovering and protecting the native flora and fauna around us, especially the monarch butterfly which caught her attention growing up in rural Utah. The monarch butterfly was considered and denied Endangered Species status in 2020, with the possibility of being reconsidered in 2024.
When her efforts to grow native milkweed and attract monarchs to lay eggs in her yard were successful, the project evolved to grow and give away hundreds of milkweed seedlings each spring. She began teaching classes on monarchs and milkweed at Red Butte Garden, Swaner Nature Preserve, Osher Lifelong Learning and elsewhere. She has visited monarch overwintering sites along the California coast and the high mountains of central Mexico – a bucket list item to be sure! She is active in tagging monarchs to study migration patterns, through Southwest Monarch Study.
In 2019, in an effort to grow a larger amount of milkweed seedlings to share, Rachel partnered with the Nadkarni Lab and the Department of Corrections to grow native milkweed species at their greenhouse. She helped to create an eight-week course at the facility. The students shared hundreds of seedlings with Salt Lake City and County Parks and Open Space for restoration projects, which included spots along the Jordan River. She also partnered with the State of Utah to develop a website on Monarch Conservation in Utah. She was also able to launch statewide Citizen Science projects to help map out where monarch breeding habitats are located throughout the state in order to preserve existing sites with hopes to enhance them.