Monarch Sanctuaries Open in Mexico

November 25, 2019 by Team Journey North

There was a burst of festivities, color, excitement and celebration by local communities and outsiders!

November 16th grand opening at the Monarch Sanctuaries in Mexico. Photo by: Estela Romero (11/19/2019)

Massive Arrival—Ms. Romero’s Report From Mexico

Estela Romero has shared her last article from the Monarch Sanctuaries in Mexico for 2019 fall migration season.

“Wintry conditions have hit the northern states of Mexico with temperatures ranging from 2  to 6 degrees Celsius. Yet, despite the chilly and foggy weather conditions in our region, Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries officially opened last Saturday on November 16th. With the announcement, there was a burst of festivities, color, excitement and celebration by local communities and outsiders!” Read more by following the link below or by following this link.

Journey North thanks Ms. Romero for her passion and dedication to building relationships with our Journey North community that knows no borders. 

Monarchs in the West and Southwest of U.S. 

Gail Morris, Coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study, has written her last report for the 2019 migration season.

“Thanksgiving approaches, monarchs are racing to their overwintering homes. Many have already arrived but others are still present in the lower deserts. They’re faced soon with a decision: Continue to fly or stay where they are as their urge to migrate wanes in early December.” Read more by following the link below or by following this link

Journey North thanks Ms. Morris for her articles which have brought the story of the western monarch population to life for our community. All 29 of Ms. Morris’ articles have been archived and can be accessed via the link below or by following this link.

Roosts and Adults Still Observed Along Gulf Coast of U.S.

From Missouri City, TX: A noted, “Maximum 5 at any given time, but Monarchs were in and out of the yard all day long — including four males I netted, tagged and released.” (11/24/2019) link to sighting

From Corpus Christi, TX: Andrea entered a sighting for a “male monarch milkweed.” (11/24/2019) link to sighting

From Bay City, TX: Kathi had the last submitted sighting of a roost along the Texas coast 10 days ago: “Another wave of monarchs came with the sunshine that followed the recent cold front that moved through Matagorda Beach, Texas! (11/15/2019) link to sighting

Educating Future Monarch Scientists and Enthusiasts 

Journey North would like to give a “shout out” to two teacher, Karen Spence and Jennifer Haynes from Morgan County Charter School System in Madison, GA. This past summer, Ms. Spence and Ms. Haynes participated in a workshop for educators sponsored by the North American Monarch Institute and the UW-Madison Arboretum. Both teachers were so excited to share their experiences with their schools and the community. And share they did…

Ms. Hayes expanded the garden program at Morgan County Primary School to include a pollinator habitat, a turtle pond, and a farm-to-table program to grow vegetables for students to taste. Students also collected milkweed seeds from their garden and packaged them in origami butterflies that they made. Ms. Spence galvanized the whole faculty to launch a school-wide project on monarchs at Morgan County Elementary School. At the culminating community-event, students shared what they learned with their parents, siblings and friends. On display were an orange origami butterfly mobile; beautiful ofrendas; and pumpkins decorated like monarchs. In addition, each homeroom participated in the Symbolic Migration Program.

Journey North thanks Ms. Hayes and Ms. Spence — and the countless educators dedicated to teaching students about monarchs and the importance of pollinator habitats.

Journey North also thanks Monarchs Across Georgia for administrating the Symbolic Migration Program. Thanks Monarchs Across Georgia!

From December to February, Ms. Estela Romero will share photos and stories from her travels to schools at the monarch sanctuaries in Mexico as part of the Symbolic Migration Program. Check out her blog: Symbolic Monarch Migration. Thanks Ms. Romero! 

The Monarch Story Continues During December, January and February  

Please continue to report your observations… 

Adult Monarchs, Monarch Eggs, Monarch Larvae

  • Report to Journey North all monarchs you see during December 2019 and January and February 2020. Monarchs are present all winter in many southern and western U.S. states and southern California. Please continue to report all adult monarchs as well as eggs and larvae so we can learn more about these individuals.

Roosting Monarchs

  • Report to Journey North any night-time roosts observed during December 2019 and January and February 2020. Again, in the Southern tier of the southwestern U.S. monarchs can be present during the winter months. Please continue to look for small aggregations of monarchs in trees – especially check the southeast sides of trees, where monarchs like to warm in the morning sun if a nectar source is nearby. Help us all learn more about monarchs in the West in winter!

If you live in California, you might also wish to check out Xerces Society website and join their Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count and News Year’s Count in California. Thanksgiving Count: Saturday, November 16th through Sunday, December 8th, 2019. New Year’s Count: Saturday December 28, 2019 through Sunday January 12, 2020.

Thank you!

Our fall migration season is coming to an end. It’s time to thank you, the citizen scientists who make tracking migration possible. Your photos and comments have told the story as the monarchs traveled across the continent to their winter home. Thank you for contributing! 

We will start up our news updates again in February when we prepare for spring migration 2020.