08 Mar Monarch Butterfly Migration and Why It Matters
Monarch Butterfly Migration
We’re hearing a lot of buzz about the bees, as well we should. Our pollinators are in decline and without them, well, humanity along with the rest of the spectacular species that inhabit our planet will be hard up to survive. But it isn’t just the bees – it’s the butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, and a variety of other insects which help get the job done. Monarch butterflies migrate 2,500 miles from eastern Canada to the forests of Michoacan, in western central Mexico, by the millions to hibernate in a 200 square-mile protected nature preserve.
If it’s not something you’ve heard about, take note. Seeing millions of hibernating Monarchs after completing such an incredible journey is truly an inspiration. Inside the reserve, the Monarchs spend 5 months conserving heat by clustering together by the thousands high up in the trees, blanketing them in orange and black. Sadly, we’re seeing their numbers decline.
It’s not too hard to understand, though. Monarchs only spend the winter in this sanctuary and then, in March, they begin their migration northward, through the Midwest, where they need flowers and wild plants to feed on – especially milk weed which they lay their eggs in. With more farmland than ever devoted to plants they can’t feed on, wildflowers cleared away and insecticide usage, it comes as no surprise that Monarch populations are dwindling.
Thankfully, there is hope and it lies with individuals, choosing to plant pesticide-free native plants like purple coneflower and asters, vervain and black-eyed Susans, and especially Milkweed, which encourages butterfly success.
Recently, artists came together in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to offer donations to a Monarch fundraising auction, organized by two local artists, Mari Osa and Billilee Mommer, and Hotel Zaguan Bed and Art. Dr. Pablo Jaramillo, leader of the reforestation project with the Monarch Butterfly Fund and winner of the Pollinator Advocate Award, was in attendance.
Interested in visiting the amazing sanctuary in Michoacan, Mexico, where the Monarchs winter?
We recommend the small mining town of Angangueo. You can approach on horseback, which is really fun. In February, the town hosts its annual Festival de la Mariposa Monarca (Monarch Butterfly Festival) “to raise awareness of the butterfly habitat and encourage nearby rural communities to aid in the protection and preservation of the reserve, as well as to promote culture and arts throughout the highland region.” (VisitMexico.com)
Have you been impacted by Monarch butterflies? Does Monarch Butterfly Migration matter? Have questions or thoughts? Share them in the comments below!