FINAL Fall Migration News: November 3, 2006

Highlights from the Migration Trail:

  • It's Official: The Monarchs are Arriving!

This Week:

  • Monarchs, Dia de los Muertos, and Mexican Tradition
  • Why is This Place So Special for Monarchs?

For Teachers:

  • Final Migration Rate Math
  • Suggestions for Assessment
  • Teachers' Guide

The finish line!

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Highlights from the Migration Trail

The First Monarchs Have Arrived!

"¡Las primeras mariposas han llegado!" announced Estela Romero on Sunday, October 29th.

And on Thursday she added, "Germàn Medina told me this morning that at El Cerrito there must be now about 50 trees with a fairly good number of butterflies, while in El Rosario there must be about 30 trees with Monarchs (though fewer per tree). So we can say that the monarchs have officially arrived!

They're Home!
Angangueo, Michoacan (19 N, -100 W)
is couched in the mountains beside two of the largest monarch sanctuaries.

The finish line!
This is the front entrance of the El Rosario Sanctuary, east of Angangueo.

Monarchs, Dia de los Muertos, and Mexican Tradition

Since Pre-hispanic times, people in Mexico noted the monarch's arrival at precisely the same time every fall. In fact, the name for the monarch butterfly is the "harvester butterfly" in the native language of the Purépecha Indians. As the people observed, the monarchs appear each fall during the corn harvest. The Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos also occurs at this time. Many people in the region believe the monarchs are the souls of their ancestors, returning for their annual visit.

"On the First of November we remember the souls of our dead children and, on November 2nd, the souls of our adults," explained Estela. "It is also then that the Monarchs traditionally begin to arrive."

  • Estela's Day of the Dead report and pictures from her daughter's school (English/Spanish)



This Week: Why is This Place So Special for Monarchs?

Monarchs travel to a very small region in Mexico from across eastern North America. You can see it on the map below. The region is only about 70 miles wide. Within the region, only 12 places have the habitat the butterflies need to survive.

Where do you think the 12 overwintering sites are?

Take a look! >>

Migration Rate Math: The Migration Continues

As we close the curtain on this fall’s migration, monarchs are still migrating to Mexico. They are streaming southward from points far and wide, but most are now in northern Mexico. This season's final collection of quantifiable monarch observations looks at migration past a single point on the Texas Gulf Coast. The observations below were made by Mr. and Mrs. Aschen. What can you learn?

See You in February When Journey North Begins!

Thank you for helping track the migration to Mexico. We'll pick up the story again in February. How the monarchs manage to survive 5 winter months in Mexico is as amazing as the monarch migration itself. Journey North publishes weekly updates every winter while the monarchs are in Mexico. The updates will begin on February 2nd and lead up to the spring migration in March. Join us for a "guided tour" of the monarch's winter habitat. Then help track the monarch's journey north next spring.

  • Watch for the first weekly update from the monarch sanctuaries on Friday, February 2, 2007.
Teachers' Guide

The suggestions in this guide are provided to help teachers integrate Journey North's real-time program in the classroom.

This is the FINAL Fall Monarch Butterfly Migration Update. See you in February!

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