Southwest Monarch Study Leadership Team
Meet Our Board of Directors
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, Vice President on the
Boards of the Monarch Butterfly Fund and Central Arizona Butterfly Association.
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
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.
Sharon is a wife, mother, grandmother, and citizen scientist living on a
small farm in Central Arizona. After a career as a university budget
administrator, she now focuses on many volunteer efforts in her community.
She is especially dedicated to the development and monitoring of her
farm's Monarch Waystation.
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 is currently the native plant nursery manager for the Gila Watershed
Partnership in Safford, Arizona. 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.
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 Morris'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. He has also contributed to monarch conservation through his monarch
waystation in Southeast Arizona.