Intended Audience

This course is intended for anyone interested in dragonflies and in contributing to our growing knowledge about dragonfly migration in North America. Whether you are a novice or a pro when it comes to dragonflies, please join us for this fun and informative event to become a volunteer citizen science monitor and help us explore the amazing but understudied phenomenon of dragonfly migration!


Saturday September 21, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM PDT
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Point Blue Conservation Science 
3820 Cypress Drive
Suite 11
Petaluma, CA 94954

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Morning refreshments will be provided. Lunch is not included; please bring a sack luch. 

Once registration closes, please send an email to to be placed on our waiting list.

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This Dragonfly Migration Short Course is made possible with the support of the U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP) is chaired by Scott Black (Xerces Society) and vice-chaired by John Abbott (University of Texas-Austin). The following organizations are MDP partners:  


~ Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources ~ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum ~ Pronatura Veracruz ~ Rutgers University ~ Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound ~ Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute ~ University of Texas at Austin ~ U.S. Geological Survey ~ Vermont Center for Ecostudies ~ The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation


Special thanks to Point Blue Conservation Science for hosting this event!


Migratory Dragonfly Partnership 

Migratory Dragonfly Short Course

Point Blue Conservation Science Headquarters

Petaluma, California

September 21, 2013 - 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Dragonfly migration is one of the most fascinating events in the insect world, but also one of the least-known. To shed light on this understudied phenomenon, the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP) is hosting dragonfly migration short courses across North America. The objective of these one-day events is to train participants to identify key migratory species and contribute data to ongoing MDP citizen science projects

Dragonfly migration occurs on every continent except Antarctica. The aptly-named Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), though less famed as a migrant than the monarch butterfly, makes annual flights across the Indian Ocean that are twice the distance of monarch migrations. In North America, migrations are seen annually in late summer and early fall, when thousands to millions of insects stream southward along coasts, lake shores, and mountain ridges from Canada down to Mexico and the West Indies, passing along both coasts of the United States and through the Midwest. Movement back north is less obvious, but we know it occurs because mature adult dragonflies appear early in spring at places where overwintering resident nymphs have not yet emerged.

Only about 16 of our 326 dragonfly species in North America are regular migrants, with some making annual seasonal flights while others are more sporadic. The major migratory species in North America are Common Green Darner (Anax junius), Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea), Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata), and Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum).

Although it spans three countries and has been documented since the 1880s, North American dragonfly migration is still poorly understood, and much remains to be learned about migratory cues, flight pathways, and the southern limits of overwintering grounds. The MDP is filling this gap by combining research, citizen science, and education and outreach to better understand North America’s migrating dragonflies, and to promote conservation of their wetland habitat.

Migratory Dragonfly Short Courses will educate participants about dragonfly life history, ecology, and migratory behavior, and provide training in MDP project protocols. The courses will include both a morning classroom and afternoon field component, and participants will receive a resource packet with migratory dragonfly publications, fact sheets, protocols, and identification guides. For information on other MDP short courses in North America, visit the MDP events page to view up-to-date short course information. If you would like to receive announcements about upcoming dragonfly short courses or request one in your area, please email Be sure to include the following information: name, affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and the state(s) for which you would like to receive announcements.


  • Knowledge of dragonfly life history
  • Knowledge of key concepts related to dragonfly ecology
  • Knowledge of the current impacts on dragonflies and their habitat
  • Ability to identify migratory dragonflies and distinguish them from other look-a-like species
  • Knowledge of the key conservation issues concerning dragonflies in North America
  • Ability to assess dragonfly migration events and record observations
  • Ability to use monitoring protocols to collect and submit relevant scientific data
  • Ability to contribute data to citizen science projects and advance understanding of dragonfly migration

COURSE AGENDA (times are approximate)

10:00 am – 10:15 am       Welcome and introduction

10:15 am – 11:00 am       Introduction to dragonflies: life history and ecology

11:00 am – 11:45 am       Dragonfly migration

11:45 am – 12:00 pm       Break 

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm         Citizen scientists and the MDP: Migration monitoring,                                                     Pond Watch, and the stable isotope project   

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm          Conservation of Dragonflies /  Lunch (bring a sack luch)

1:30 pm – 1:45 pm          Break

1:45 pm – 2:30 pm          Dragonfly identification

2:30 pm - 4:30 pm          Field trip: observing and identifying dragonflies                                                                    



Celeste is the Project Coordinator for the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership, and the Aquatic Conservation Director at the Xerces Society. She believes strongly in providing the public with knowledge, skills, and motivation to enhance and protect natural resources within their communities, and works to promote conservation of aquatic invertebrates and their habitats. With a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Minnesota, she has worked for over 16 years in research and education. She has published numerous scientific papers and reports, and recently became Editor in Chief of ARGIA, the news journal of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas.


The MDP is composed of dragonfly experts, nongovernmental programs, academic institutions, and federal agencies from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Together, we are combining research, citizen science, and education and outreach to better understand North America's migratory dragonflies and promote conservation of their wetland habitat. For information about the MDP, visit


This course may qualify for continuing education credits for teachers or Master Naturalists seeking advanced training volunteer hours for citizen science projects. Please contact your local Master Naturalist/Continuing Education program coordinator to see if this course qualifies as a volunteer service project for advanced training hours or continuing education for teachers. Certificates of completion will be available to participants.