Studies show that we are seeing unprecedented declines in insect abundance and diversity

Although the situation is dire, we still have a path forward if we all step up and do our part
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April 28, 2021

Spring is often a time of hope and optimism, but the return of insects and flowers to our landscapes can’t hide the peril they face. Studies over the last several years show that we are seeing unprecedented declines in insect abundance and diversity, and that insect populations are shrinking by 1–2% a year. With this loss of insects and other invertebrates comes the loss of ecosystem services—invertebrates pollinate our plants, feed our songbirds and bats, clean streams, dispose of waste, and so much more. 

This decline is epitomized by the state of the monarch butterfly population, which is fading—and fading rapidly in certain areas. Growing up in Nebraska I witnessed thousands of butterflies every summer in yards, meadows, and even agricultural fields. Whether you were in New Jersey, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Utah, or California, you likely would have admired this majestic animal at some stage in its lifecycle. Unfortunately, our children and our grandchildren might not have the opportunity to create similar memories.

This is why I am coming to you today. I know that monarchs and all that they represent are important to you. We need your support if we are going to save the monarch as well as other invertebrates that sustain our planet. 

Although the situation is dire, we still have a path forward if we all step up and use a holistic conservation approach. Xerces follows just such an approach—using applied and community science to shape our education and outreach, guide our technical assistance, and inform our advocacy and policy work. 

We work with academic scientists to understand the severity of insect population declines and, more importantly, what actions will likely lead to their recovery. Xerces also harnesses the enthusiasm and skill of thousands of community scientists to help us gather data. In return, many of our community scientists become outspoken advocates for conservation and amplify our messages in their own communities. Xerces has proven outreach and education mechanisms to help make conservation science accessible to the public, and in the last decade, we have directly engaged with over 140,000 people though workshops and other events. In addition, our work has led to the protection and restoration of over 2.5 million acres of habitat and the adoption of policies and practices that are helping invertebrates across hundreds of millions of acres.

For sure, the challenges are daunting, but we are working hard to meet them. With your help we can do our best to ensure the next generations will get to experience the sight of monarchs on the wing, the hum of bumble bees, the beauty of freshwater mussels, and the joy of encounters with many other invertebrates. I urge you to make a tax-deductible donation today.

Thank you for all you do. 


Scott Black, Director

PS. Studies show that we must act now to minimize the devastation of insect declines. Your support is critical. Please show us that you are behind us by making a tax-deductible donation to Xerces today. 

Xerces is a donor supported non-profit organization. Your tax-deductible donation today will help grow and sustain our essential work.

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The Xerces Society
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Photo: Xerces Society / Jennifer Hopwood
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