Letter from Estela Romero: Monarchs Crossing Borders and Linking Cultures
Israel is a young guy in his mid-twenties. He was born in a village located near the El Rosario Sanctuary and is part of the El Rosario Ejido. Israel shared his story with me recently:
When I was three years old, my parents left to work and live in the United States taking me with them as their only child. Once in the U.S., I was unable to visit the place of my birth in Mexico. I graduated from high school and recently obtained my legal residency in the U.S., under the Dreamers Act. I remember speaking with my grandfather often on the phone over the years. My grandfather is part of the Ejidatario El Rosario community. He always invited me to visit and would asked: “Would you like to come and experience the miracle of monarch butterflies right here where you were born?”
His invitation was really impossible for me to think of until recently. From my new home in Washington D.C., I could only watch the migration of monarchs on television. The monarch sanctuary was very far from me and my parents.
Luckily, because of my new legal status, I was able to return to Mexico this past November. You cannot imagine how immensely proud and lucky I feel. I have learned so much about the whole life-cycle of monarchs! Since I am an Ejidatario grandson, I have been allowed to work as a guide within the Sanctuary, speaking my mother language of Spanish as well as English, my second language. I am happy to welcome foreign visitors and share my experiences!
I look forward to traveling frequently between the U.S. and Mexico to share the wonders of the monarch migration with more people than ever. I feel I am truly part of the many cultures that work on conservation of monarchs led by Canada, U.S., and México.
Temperatures are warming. Winter may soon be over for us. Monarch roosts in the oyamel fir forests seem to be slowly starting to awake from their hibernation season in Central Mexico. The butterfly colonies at both sanctuaries have slightly moved an average of two hundred meters, slightly heading north. This movement might be an early sign of the end of the overwintering season. We now get ready to witness the start of the mating phase and the journey north.
Angangueo, Michoacán, México.
Note to our readers: This article has been edited from the original English version for clarity and readability.