Keeping Track and Awaiting Arrival
This beautiful Oyamel forest region in Central México, located right at the border of the state of Michoacán and the state of México, slowly wakes up after a quiet Summer and Autumn.
As Monarchs left last March, our beautiful swallow migration — too far from being as large in number as that of Monarchs — filled up Monarchs’ absence for a while, doing their nesting and breeding season until late in July.
Very rarely and quite different from previous years, even from last year, we have had rather scarce rain and low humidity concentrations, which is somewhat causing concern amidst our farming, mushroom, reforestation and conservation organizations and activities in general, as well as in our local society who speak of it every day.
This summer, as every year, reforestation activities took place at the overwintering spots for Monarch butterflies as one of the main tasks for locals from the forest at “El Rosario” Sanctuary, (the largest Monarch colony), and locals at the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary. They assure to have planted over 10,000 ten thousand Oyamel and Pine trees at each spot and its buffer areas, striving to manage a better survival rate than that in former years. Hopefully, the low rain water precipitations shall not disturbe expectations.
Xochitl, Armando, Hugo and Joel, (2nd and 4th elementary school graders, 8, 10, 8 and 10 years old respectively), accompanied by Nicolás and Antonio, (middle school 1st graders, 11 and 12 years old), all living in Angangueo town, assured, while monitoring around with their monitoring map in hand, the prior welcoming conditions to Monarchs arrival due in only 2-3 weeks:
“No, the raining season is not yet totally over; we could still have a couple to three more week’s rain; Monarchs seem to guess when rain is over in our region with flowers full blooming with color and nectar, then they start little by little appearing, gliding down upon our flowers’ meadows as if starving after their long, long trip from the North, from betweeen our mountain’s peaks! “, -they assured—.
Vicente, 9 years old, striving at volunteering to fill in the monitoring map, together with Manuela, Priscila, Esmeralda with her little sister in her arms, Héctor, Yahir, Lila and Mónica, (kindergarden and elementary students), all living really close to El Rosario Sanctuary at 3,000 three thousand meters average altitude, commented reminding each other:
“Monarchs are very, very wise!; they are our ancestor’s souls and arrive to us on the Day of the Dead!. Weather arriving the exact day of our Festivity, or one or two days before, or a few days later flying right upon our dear relative’s graves, they come from a very long trip and appear little by little all of a sudden in the sky while we dress-up our homes and our cemetery recalling our dead ones’ lives and memories with happiness and color all over…!. Up here we can see them coming from those mountain peaks to the north!…” -
They proudly pointed norhtward, while showing their wisdom on the significance of Monarchs since our ancestor’s indigenous beliefs, passed on from generation-to-generation unitl today.
Up there at our Oyamel mountains, Lucía, third elementary schooler and 7 years old, together with her sisters, her brother and her young parents, making a living from sheep raising in “El Rosario” location, her parents expressed their excitement at Monarchs’ arrival:
“We are just waiting for the momoment!. Once Monarchs arrive, we can make a much better living for the next 5 months for our family!. We are trying to better and better preserve our forests and greens so that we can keep them forever!. We have heard that their arrival means that our forests are specially healthy and rich in greens so that they choose the same spots up here from all over the planet for maybe hundreds or even thousands of years now, instead of moving to another place in the planet!, it is like a mistery!. We do live in a very special place and sometimes cannot believe it when we see thousands and thousands of people visiting us from many different countries!. —Lucía’s parents expressed in real excitement—!
Diana and Emilio, 11 and 13 years old respectively, from the town of Angangueo, proudly show our monitoring map in “zero’s”, letting you see how we will be keeping close track of the minor signal in case something similar to a couple of strong, vigorous orange-black wings may be seen around and announced among us.
At their back, our majestic, now wet and foggy mountains and misty fresh air, show the ancestral spots where Monarchs shall announce their arrival to their final destination in México to the rest of the world!.
We hear in the radio that you all, families, schools and society in general in the North have done a fantastic job protecting and increasing Monarchs’ habitat and that millions and millions of them are coming!
Now, it is our turn to take over our responsibility, and, let us tell you, we will do no less!.
Estela Romero, Journey North Reporter
Angangueo, Michoacán, México