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.

Image: Monarch Butterfly Migration. Millions of monarch butterflies

Source: JOLE SARTORE

In this edition of Saturdays Around the World, explore the remarkable migration of the Monarch Butterfly…

 Via: Vimeo 1

Monarch butterfly migration spans thousands of miles, crossing through Southern Canada, most of the United States, and on to overwintering areas in Mexico.

Image: Monarch Butterfly Migration Map

Source: LEARNER.ORG

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.

Via: BBC 2

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.

Luckily, this means locals have kept a close eye on populations and seen early on the need to preserve shrinking forests.

Now, important conservation efforts are being put into place to help save one of the planet’s most miraculous migrations…

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!

Or, you can help create habitats for butterflies along their journey by creating your own butterfly rest stop!

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 and, 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.

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Or just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few more incredible articles from like this one!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV

Notes:

  1. “Monarch Butterflies – Teaser.” Vimeo, Romero and Braas, 28 July 2017, vimeo.com/223184986.
  2. “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>.
  3. “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>.
  4. “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>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV