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About Us

Southwest Monarch Study Leadership Team

Meet Our Board of Directors

You can reach us at info@swmonarchs.org

Gail Morris M.A.
Gail is the Coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study. Her other contributions to the monarch community include serving as a Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist and Vice President on the Board of the Central Arizona Butterfly Association. She also serves on other monarch and pollinator advisory committees. In addition, she writes a regular feature for the Journey North Western Monarch News and co-authored “Status of Danaus plexippus in Arizona,” (2015) and other publications.

Laura Miller
Laura is a Naturalist and an avid native seed collector for our restoration projects. She is a monarch and butterfly garden educator and Research Associate for the Southwest Monarch Study.

Adriane Grimaldi
Adriane loved butterflies since a child growing up in California, raising Mourning Cloaks. She serves on the Board for the Central Arizona Butterfly Association and is currently Director of Education at Butterfly Wonderland, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Steve Plath
Since retiring as the nursery manager at the Gila Watershed Partnership in Safford, Arizona, Steve continues to do plant production consultation for various nurseries. He has been growing plants for revegetation projects throughout the southwestern US since 1994 and has likewise been involved in habitat restoration management throughout that period. He's also been growing milkweeds specifically for Monarch butterfly habitat enrichment since 2014.

Science Advisors

Dr. Ron Rutowski
Ron is a Professor Emeritus since 2016 after 40 years teaching and doing research on butterfly behavior and ecology at Arizona State University. He is currently President of the Central Arizona Butterfly Association and actively involved in leading butterfly counts in Central Arizona.

Dr. Tom Christensen
After receiving his Ph.D. in Neurobiology & Behavior in 1983, Tom moved to the University of Arizona where he became a Senior Research Scientist using tiny neuroelectrodes to probe how insects use their amazing brains to sniff out crops and suitable mates. He later expanded the scope of his research to include brain imaging methods like fMRI to study how the human auditory system processes spoken language. Now retired, and loving every minute of it, his next goal is to train his grandson to tag monarch butterflies. He is currently a docent at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum where he is actively involved in several insect conservation projects with monarchs and native bees.

Dr. Scott Morris
Scott's degrees in Computational Biology and Industrial Engineering make him the perfect volunteer to analyze our data to find patterns that are not immediately apparent and to determine which patterns are meaningful (and which are not).

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