MMP Seasonal Staff for 2020

Everything is different in 2020, as we all know, and that’s certainly true for New Jersey Audubon and the Monarch Monitoring Project. Our program schedule will be greatly reduced; details will be shared in an upcoming blog post.

For much of the summer it seemed that we would not be able to hire seasonal staff, but we’re happy to report that the stumbling blocks have been removed and, on short notice, we have recruited and hired two terrific naturalists to work with us for the upcoming field season. We asked each of them to introduce themselves to the loyal followers of our project.

Kat is a lifelong naturalist and monarch enthusiast. Her experiences raising and tagging Monarchs while growing up in Kansas helped inspire her to become an ecologist, with a mission of advancing and sharing knowledge about the fascinating natural world around us! In college, Kat had the opportunity to pursue field research, ultimately leading to her senior thesis project investigating behavioral ecology of Anolis lizards in Florida, and stayed engaged in conservation outreach through the Harvard College Conservation Society. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Science in Public Policy in 2018, she has worked on several conservation projects, from communicating land conservation efforts in New England, to restoring rainforest ecosystems in Madagascar, to helping reintroduce osprey to the Midwest. She plans to continue her career in conservation through pursuing a PhD in ecology starting next fall. Kat is excited to put her science communication and data analysis skills to work as a member of the Cape May Monarch Monitoring Project, hoping to aid in the conservation and appreciation of the magnificent Monarch butterfly!

Katherine Culbertson

I’m a 10-year experienced naturalist and wildlife photographer in Cape May County, NJ. I started birding by the time I was 8 and my love for birds developed into all other aspects of nature by the time I was 13. Now I am a freshman in college in pursuit of a wildlife ecology degree through Rutgers University. I have an extreme passion for art, poetry, and photography with special interests in behavioral ecology and ethology. I have done scientific research with counting and tagging species of birds from shorebirds to osprey with New Jersey Fish and Wildlife and New Jersey Audubon, I have led walks as a naturalist guide at Cape May Point State Park, I have done counts for migratory dragonflies with the Cape May Bird Observatory, I have done butterfly breeding population counts for the North American Butterfly Association, I have taught k-2nd grade about nature and conservation as well as educating the public on marine biology at the Nature Center of Cape May, and I have been a guest speaker at Maud Abrams Elementary School to speak and educate about Snowy Owl conservation. I recently completed writing a book on the ecology of the Cape May peninsula and am looking to publish soon. I’ve been pursuing studies on the cognitive abilities of orb-weavers and the economic practice of sustainability within leaf beetles. I’ve always had a particular calling to be a voice for threatened and endangered species so it’s definitely an amazing opportunity to be working with the Monarch Monitoring Project and New Jersey Audubon to help save and restore the population of such an incredible species of butterfly. You can find my work on my Instagram @cape_photos20

Jack McDonough