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  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: February 18, 1997

    While the monarch migration is not expected to begin for several weeks, the monarchs are coming through the coldest months of the year. In January and February, temperatures at the sanctuaries frequently drop below freezing, especially in open areas close to the ground. As temperatures rise in late February, the monarchs will become more active. Those that have survived the winter will soon mate and their incredible life cycle will be set in motion again.

    Who are the people who work with monarch conservation in Mexico?
    Read this interview conducted by U.S. students who visited the sanctuaries this month as part of Blake School's student exchange with the village of Angangueo, Mexico.

    What is it like to live near the sanctuaries?
    Meet students at Escuela Primerio Pedro Ascencio. As part of the Symbolic Monarch Butterfly Migration, they are caring for some of your paper butterflies this winter!

    Escuela Primerio Pedro Ascencio is a tiny one-room school. It is situated right beside the Cerro Chincua monarch sanctuary, the largest and most beautiful monarch sanctuary in the world. High in the mountains at an elevation of 9,000 feet, they are surrounded by the same pine forests in which the monarchs spend the winter. Standing in the school yard on a sunny day, a monarch can almost always be seen flying overhead, to and from the sanctuary. While the people of this community (or "ejido") do not own the land at Cerra Chincua, they are the nearest neighbors. Their community is just one mile up the mountain road from the sanctuary.

    Teacher Gilberto Salazar Vargor told us about his class: "My 21 students range from ages 6 -12. They all live nearby and walk to school each day. There are fifteen families in our community. Brothers, sisters, and cousins all come to class together. Since most of the students are related, we are like one family in this school."

    We delivered butterflies to Escuela Primerio Pedro Ascencio in early December. Each student was given a butterfly to care for, and each made a butterfly for the return trip. As they received their butterflies, we placed a dot on the map of North America to show how far the butterfly had flown. As the students quickly realized, these paper butterflies had come from points across the map, just as those in the nearby sanctuary had. Is your butterfly at Escuela Primerio Pedro Ascencio this winter? We will soon post more pictures of these students with the butterflies they received. Come back to this page soon!

    In last week's report, we heard about life in the ejidos of this region, and the many economic challenges the people face. Since these students live beside the sanctuary, conservation of the monarch sanctuaries will one day be in their hands--and in the hands of others like them. As they sat outside in the sunshine, their teacher asked them this question: "What can be done to protect the monarchs?" Here is what they wrote:

    • No hasaer lumbres junto a ellas.
    • No matarlas
    • No tirando arboles.
    • No espantarlas cuando estaen tomando agua.
    • No acerles ruido.

    Challenge Question # 2 "How do the students of Escuela Primerio Pedro Ascencio say monarchs can be protected?"

    To respond to this Challenge Question, please follow the instructions and the end of this report.

    Fernando Luis Romero sent his second message to you from Angangueo this week. He is pictured here in his parents' store, where he often helps out. The store is a friendly place, where members of the community stop in to buy rice, beans, peppers, and other groceries. His parents have worked in this store for almost 40 years! Here's Fernando's message, and a chance to brush up on your Spanish!

    How to Respond to Journey North Tulip Challenge Question # 2

    1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-monarch@learner.org
    2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #2
    3. In the body of the message, give your answer to this question:

    Challenge Question #2
    "How do the students of Escuela Primerio Pedro Ascencio say monarchs should be protected?"

    The Next Monarch Migration Update Will be Posted on February 25, 1997.