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  • Symbolic Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 11, 1997

    The monarchs' spring migration is underway, and the beginning of the symbolic migration won't be far behind. It will be a hard to keep pace with nature, but we'll do our best-- and we'll keep you informed each step along the way. Here are the plans:

    Once again, UPS has offered to fly the butterflies back. Hooray! As soon as a date for their return flight is set, we'll let you know. When the butterflies reach their staging grounds in Minnesota, we'll immediately begin the process of re-packing each and every butterfly. We will return them state by state, province by province, beginning in the south and working our way northward just as the real monarchs are. We know you must be eager to see what the Mexican students have made for you! While you wait, please keep your eyes peeled so you can report the FIRST monarch butterfly you see this spring, and help us track their journey.

    How to Report:
    When you see your first monarch this spring, send a Field Report to Journey North.
    By E-mail: jn-report@learner.org
    Via the WWW: http://www.learner.org

    If you have any trouble using this system, send a message to our feedback form We'd be happy to help you!

    Last week, the first step in the return migration began, thanks to a group of teachers from the Science Learning Network. Here is their report.

    "We visited Escuela Primeria Isaac Arriaga, the local grade school, and two monarch butterfly sanctuaries during the weekend of March 1st-3rd. We were joined by scientists from the University of Minnesota who study the monarch, and several "Cuates," teen guides from the Papalote Children's Museum in Mexico City. (The word cuate is local word for "friend.")

    "As we walked the steep street to the school in Angangueo, hundreds of monarch butterflies had filled the town. People in the square told one of the Cuates that this was the most butterflies she had seen in town this winter. She said, "The butterflies must be leaving".

    "We shared things that the US students had sent with their teachers. (On the SLN WWW site you can see Ms. Kindig from Minnesota showing the students a snowsuit and asking what they think it is. They thought it looked like an astronaut suit!). The students were excited to give us the paper butterflies they had made for the symbolic migration. The teacher of one classroom asked us to come back and visit Angangueo again, and that we were always welcome at Escuela Primeria Isaac Arriaga.

    "At the monarch sanctuaries the butterflies were very active and flying all around us. Our guide told us that the butterflies were moving down the mountain more and more each day and soon they would head north. The hike to the butterflies was very steep and we had to stop to catch our breath along the hard hike, but when we arrived there were millions of monarch butterflies drinking water in the stream, resting on the trees and flying over our heads.

    "We appreciated this opportunity and thank Elizabeth Donnelly and Jon Dicus for introducing us to this special school. Our visit was very rewarding and we will be bringing our experiences back to our classrooms to share with our students and the rest of the Internet!

    To read more about their trip--and view some great photos, visit the SLN WWW site at: http://www.sci.mus.mn.us/sln/monarchs/