Director, Monarchs in the Classroom Program; Professor, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota; President, Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation.
Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Her research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science.
Her strong interest in promoting a citizenry with a high degree of scientific and environmental literacy led to the development of a science education program that involves courses for teachers, and opportunities for youth to engage in research and share their findings with broad audiences. In 1996, she and graduate student Michelle Prysby started a nationwide Citizen Science project called the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which continues to engage hundreds of volunteers throughout North America.
Karen is passionate about the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, and believes that the connections her projects promote between monarchs, humans, and the natural world promote meaningful conservation action. She is the chair of the Monarch Joint Joint Venture, and a founding officer of the Monarch Butterfly Fund.
In 2013, Karen received White House Champion of Change for Citizen Science honors — for her work in the field of monarch butterfly citizen science and her role as director of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project .
“I am becoming more and more concerned with the impacts that humans have on monarchs and other organisms, and with the precarious balance between human needs and the needs of the species with which we share the planet. I’m convinced that learning as much as we can about our fellow earth-inhabitants and then sharing the amazing things that we discover will tip the balance in a direction that will be better for all of us.”