Migratory Travels and Travel Stories

    The Challenge

    Pick a migratory species of your choice and build a tool that shows the distribution of their available habitats, and track their sightings in real time!


    Migratory species travel around the world each year in the air, over land, and in the seas.  Pick a migratory species of your choice and build a tool to show the distribution of their available habitats.  Allow users of your tool to track sightings of said species and input them into your visualization.  

    Here, we provide the example of the great North American monarch butterfly, which crosses over national boundaries to link three countries together in its migration corridor!  You can design a tool that helps users track these butterflies as they travel across their migration corridor.

    Take it to the next level and show the environmental conditions in the species’ habitats and along their routes of travel.  Think about what environmental factors are important for the species’ survival, and what factors they are sensitive to.  For example, did you know that monarch butterflies need ultraviolet light to charge their internal magnetic compass, allowing them to orient themselves based on the Earth’s magnetic field? 

    Use your tool to demonstrate habitat connectedness, and to identify emerging gap areas. Help users identify if their location is on or near these gaps along the migration route, so they can take action to help support habitat preservation for the species’ populations.   For example, users along the monarch butterfly migration routes can find habitat gaps and plant monarch food- and egg-laying plants in back yards, in parks, or on roofs, to help monarch populations. 

    Finally, allow users to see how the landscape, the land cover, and the environment along the species’ migration corridor have changed over time.  Have these changes affected their migration patterns? 

    This challenge addresses the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to engage all countries and all stakeholders in a collaborative partnership.  The SDGs aim to build a better future for all people by achieving sustainable development in three dimensions – economic, social, and environmental – in the spirit of strengthened global solidarity:

    • Goal 15.5:  Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
    • Goal 15.9:  By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, developmental processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.
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