Pond Watch: Migratory Dragonfly Monitoring


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 Migratory Dragonfly Pond Watch Project is an international effort by citizen scientists to help monitor the presence, emergence, and behaviors of five migratory dragonfly species. When gathered across a wide geographic range and throughout a span of years, these data will provide answers to questions about which species are regular migrants; the frequency and timing of migration in different species; sources, routes, and destinations of migrants; and patterns of reproduction, emergence, and movements among migratory dragonflies along their flight paths.

The Forest Service Wings Across the Americas program assists in research, conservation management and capacity building to maintain healthy ecosystems here at home and outside the US. Investing in international conservation protects our investments here at home, reduces the risk of increasing endangered species, builds scientific knowledge and creates a cadre of trained scientists and managers to bring about positive conservation action. You too, can help us to conserve birds, bats, and insects by sharing what you observe.



International: Mexico, Canada 



The Xerces Society 

Migratory Dragonfly Partnership


Accepting Participants

Yes, this project is accepting volunteers


How To Get Involved

Visit the MDP website and log in as a new user. Download a PDF of the MDP Monitoring Protocols manual, register your pond as a Pond Watch site, and start reporting your observations.


Participant Requirements

This project is open to all ages. Anyone willing to learn the 5 main migratory dragonfly species in North America can participate.


Participant Tasks

  • Annotation
  • Data entry
  • Identification
  • Photography
  • Site selection and/or description  

By visiting the same wetland or pond site on a regular basis, participants will note the arrival of migrant dragonflies moving south in the fall or north in the spring, as well as any additional behaviors observed in a migratory flight including feeding or mating. Photos or videos are strongly encouraged to aid in identification.

A Conversation with a Conservation Leader: John Parrotta

John Parrotta, the national program leader for international science issues in Forest Service Research and Development, is a co-author of “Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition: A Global Assessment Report” recently released by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations(link is external), or “IUFRO.” The report says that although conventional agriculture will remain the major source of food for people around the globe, the link between forests and food production and nutrition could be a key to ending world hunger. 

Sustaining Ecosystem Services in the United States

It’s a pleasure and an honor to be here today. This is a timely topic—how to sustain ecosystem services—and I appreciate the opportunity to talk about what we are doing in the United States.


Economic Valuation

Our economic system is set up to protect what has cash value and to take for granted what does not, even if it has tremendous value and even if it doesn’t really come for free. So the United States is looking for ways to show the true economic value of ecosystem services.