Imagine a world covered in butterflies. Trees, heavy with the weight of millions of tiny, beautiful, creatures…
This world does not have to come from your imagination because every year, monarch butterflies migrate to the forests northwest of Mexico City to spend the winter. This incredible migration spans generations and is one of the most spectacular journeys on the planet.
In this edition of Saturdays Around the World, explore the remarkable migration of the Monarch Butterfly.
Monarch butterfly migration spans thousands of miles, crossing through Southern Canada, most of the United States, and on to overwintering areas in Mexico.
How do these creatures find their way home?
The butterflies that return to Mexico are generations removed from the butterflies that left. Luckily, they have a remarkable internal compass that helps them navigate the vast distances they must cross. Check out this fantastic video explaining that process from the BBC.
Monarch migration has not gone without developing an important cultural significance to those that live in their wintering grounds. In this region of Mexico, the migration has become an important part of local tradition.
Now, important conservation efforts are being put into place to help save one of the planet’s most miraculous migrations. Here’s more about that from PBS NewsHour:
What can you do to help?
A great way to get involved with research is to join Learner.org and report your Monarch Butterfly sightings on their website or with their app!
Tracking and understanding the way migrations have been changing in recent history is an important part of keeping our finger on the pulse of the planet’s ecological health.
Migrations are a key part of ecosystem. But as they change, they signal widespread and sometimes unnoticed problems that we have to address.
The future of conservation will lie in noticing these minute changes and searching for their roots. As we continue to look at the ecology of the planet in a more interconnected way, we will be able to make interventions before it is too late!
For those of you who are interested in how Monarchs are also teaching us about new ways to do medical research, check out an incredible TED Talk by Jaap de Roode.
Stay beautiful & keep laughing!
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge
Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV
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- “Monarch Butterfly – Wonders of Life – Episode 5 Preview – BBC Two.”YouTube. BBC, 18 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-nnc6dWUJg>. ↩
- “Why Fewer Monarch Butterflies Are Surviving Their Winter Migration to Mexico.” YouTube. PBS News Hour, 24 Dec. 2013. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUqwAAoBcPA>. ↩
- “How to Create Your Own Monarch Butterfly Rest Stop.” YouTube. National Geographic, 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JpLR2hpfSk>. ↩