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Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030807

Public Knowledge of Monarchs and Support for Butterfly Conservation

1
Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Louisiana State University and AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
2
Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University and AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
3
Department of Agricultural Environmental and Economics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 11 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
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Abstract

Pollinator populations in North America are in decline, including the iconic monarch butterfly. In order to determine if public knowledge of monarchs informs opinions on butterfly conservation, we surveyed the public to assess their knowledge of monarchs. We also asked participants about their attitudes towards general butterfly conservation and if they believe that butterfly gardens contribute to conservation. Respondents generally had some knowledge of monarchs but were unaware of monarch population declines and the necessity of milkweed to their life cycle. Respondent knowledge was correlated with more positive attitudes about butterfly conservation. Furthermore, membership in an environmental organization increased the likelihood that the participant had prior knowledge of monarchs and cared about monarch conservation. Respondent socioeconomic factors of age and sex were also significantly correlated with conservation attitudes—older and female participants had more positive attitudes towards general butterfly conservation. Interestingly, females were also less likely than males to admit having prior knowledge of monarchs, indicating that gender may also play an important role in conservation outreach efforts. Our study indicates that educational efforts need to be directed more toward individuals not already associated with an environmental organization as these individuals are predisposed to regard conservation positively. View Full-Text
Keywords: attitudes; insect identification; milkweed; monarch; outreach; viceroy attitudes; insect identification; milkweed; monarch; outreach; viceroy
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Penn, J.; Penn, H.; Hu, W. Public Knowledge of Monarchs and Support for Butterfly Conservation. Sustainability 2018, 10, 807.

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