Letters From The Field

Our Contributors

Thanks to Ms. Estela Romero and Dr. Ellen Sharp, Journey North is able to bring our readers news about monarch butterflies from the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve) in Mexico. These Letters From The Field herald the arrival of millions of monarchs to their overwintering habitat in the high altitude forests situated within the states of Mexico and Michoacán. From October to February, Ms. Romero and Dr. Sharp provide first hand observations of monarch behavior within Sierra Chincua, El Rosario and Cerro Pelon Sanctuaries. These writers share stories from the community, stories that tell of the challenges and opportunities as well as joys and responsibilities of living in close proximity to an internationally recognized world heritage site. (UNESCO World Heritage List)

  • Ms. Estela Romero, Environmental Educator, Angangueo, State of Michoacán, Mexico

Every week, starting in mid-October, Estela Romero writes articles describing monarch activity within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Ms. Romero’s articles focus on Sierra Chincua and El Rosario Sanctuaries. 

As an experienced environmental educator, Ms. Romero works with other educators and students in communities surrounding the Monarch Reserve. She delivers educational programming as well as Symbolic Migration Classroom Ambassadors to local schools. Ms. Romero describes these school visits in her weekly blog posts for the Symbolic Migration Project.

Estela Romero’s work is made possible with funding from Monarchs Across Georgia.

  • Dr. Ellen Sharp, Macheros, Donato Guerra, State of Mexico, Mexico

During the 2020-2021 overwintering season, Dr. Ellen Sharp, co-owner of JM Butterfly B&B and Ecotours and co-founder of Butterflies & Their People, generously shares observations from the Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. Due to the pandemic, the Cerro Pelon Sanctuary closed to outside visitors. Dr. Sharp and Forest Guardians at the Cerro Pelon Sanctuary will provide glimpses of monarch happenings in this region for the Journey North community. More of Dr. Sharp’s writings are available at ellensharp.com.

  • Ms. Ana Moreno, Macheros, Donato Guerra, State of Mexico, Mexico

Ms. Anayeli “Ana” Moreno is unusual in the village of Macheros, whose handful of college graduates all studied elementary school education. Ms. Moreno was the first to major in tourism instead, assiduously applying herself to learning English as part of her curriculum. In the male-dominated business of butterfly guiding on Cerro Pelón, she became its first female guide, paving the way for other women to start working at our entry. Please read more about Ms. Moreno in this interview by Dr. Ellen Sharp. The NRDC also wrote a profile about Ms. Moreno and the two brothers that she works with the most closely, Mr. Joel Moreno, ecotourism entrepreneur and Mr. Pato Moreno, Butterflies & Their People coordinator.

  • Mr. Pato Moreno, Macheros, Donato Guerra, State of Mexico, Mexico

In 1986, the Cerro Pelon Sanctuary became part of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a federal agency. Despite this change, the State of Mexico-employed rangers continued their patrols, and when the first generation of rangers retired in 2014, their sons took over their jobs, including Mr. Pato Moreno. Apart from his job as a CEPANAF forest ranger, Mr. Moreno is the coordinator of Butterflies & Their People, a non-profit organization that employs guardians from both the Michoacán and State of Mexico portions of the sanctuary.