Jim Gilbert
Monarch Butterfly

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Monarch Butterfly

Journey North News will be posted on Wednesdays:
Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28, Mar. 7, 14, 21, 28, Apr. 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23...and weekly until the migration is completed!

Please Help Track the Monarch Migration from Mexico!
Latest Migration News

FINAL Monarch Migration Map

Migration Updates for Students in the Sanctuary Region


Journey North News

  • Monarch Migration Update: February 7, 2001
    Welcome to Journey North's spring monarch migration season! Biologists Bill Calvert and Eligio Garcia report this week from the monarchs' overwintering area in Mexico. How many is 20 million butterflies? How much space does a monarch colony need? Until the monarch migration begins in March, watch for weekly updates from the Mexico every Wednesday. Each will include a first-person account of life in the region, as told by the children and families who live there.
  • Monarch Migration Update: February 14, 2001
    Brrrrrr...It's cold in Mexico! If you visited the sanctuaries in the evening you'd see the forest floor fluttering with shivering monarch butterflies. Play this video clip and see how hard the monarch is working to warm up its muscles. Why do you think butterflies shiver so hard--and spend so much energy--to get off of the ground? Also, Esmeralda Cruz Guzman, a student who lives beside the sanctuaries, writes about her first job--at the new Symbolic Monarch Migration Exhibit!
  • Monarch Migration Update: February 21, 2001
    Biologist Eligio Garcia observed an important change last week that signals the monarchs are preparing to produce the next generation. How are these monarchs different than any other generation? Learn about life in the sanctuary area, through these "day in the life" vignettes by of a Mexican student and Mexican teacher. All last week, Mexican newspapers announced a national campaign to crack down on illegal logging. Meanwhile, deforestation maps show almost half of the monarch forest has been lost since 1971.
  • Monarch Migration Update: February 28, 2001
    From the sanctuaries, Dr. Bill Calvert describes "the cloud effect," in which basking butterflies push off into the air, their wings sounding like a beehive. Monarchs are moving down the watersheds in search of water, now that the dry season is at its peak. How does life change for people during the dry season?
  • Monarch Migration Update: March 7, 2001
    A big snowstorm hit the monarch region over the weekend. How does snow affect the butterflies? Dr. Brower describes the monarchs' winter habitat with this analogy: "The forest serves as an umbrella and a blanket for the monarchs." Read Brower and Calvert's tale of discovery which illustrates just how unique the oyamel forest ecosystem is: By knowing only that the butterflies were in state of Michoacan and at an elevation of 10,000 feet they were able to pick out the spot on a map--and travel there!
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 14, 2001
    The first migratory monarchs may have arrived in Texas! People in the Gulf States are needed to help answer questions about monarch migration through that region. From the Mexican sanctuaries, a look at the impact predators have on the colonies. Those butterflies who've survived are now mating in earnest, preparing to produce the next generation.
  • Monarch Migration Update: March 21, 2001
    The leading edge of the migration seems to have arrived in southern Texas! Observers there should watch for the migration to move through over the next two weeks. Who's watching for butterflies? See this map showing where Journey North participants are located, and consider what this means when interpreting data. At the overwintering sites, monarchs flooded into the town of Angangueo last week, a sure sign that the monarchs are moving out en masse.
  • Monarch Migration Update: March 28, 2001
    As the monarchs pour out of Mexico this spring, we're watching them spread across Texas. Where do you think they will appear next? New Mexico? Oklahoma? Arkansas? (You might be surprised!) Students in Texas are carefully monitoring their milkweed, looking for eggs. Why do you think female monarchs avoid laying more than one egg on a milkweed plant? Try Journey North's New GIS Map Server! Explore the interactive maps using migration data from1997-2001.
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 4, 2001
    Cold temperatures stopped the ruby-throated hummingbird migration in its tracks last week, and the same seems to be true for the monarchs, still concentrated in Texas. When will the Monarchs reach South Carolina? Cross the border into Canada? Arrive where YOU live? Place your vote, answer a Challenge Question, and learn how to use statistics to analyze historic migration records.
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 11, 2001
    Monarchs surged into Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana during the last week! While we don't know how far a single butterfly traveled in a day, we can see that the migration front advanced some 200-250 miles. Today's map contains a big surprise--how do you interpret the sighting in Athens, Georgia? Unlike people, who take care of their offspring for at least 18 years, a female butterfly's job as a parent is finished as soon as she lays her eggs. Why does she lay only one per plant? How many millions of Monarchs were in Mexico this year? The count is! How does this year's population compare to previous years'?
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 18, 2001
    The first monarchs have now been spotted in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Virginia. Virginia?! That's a long way from Mexico! How far did that monarch fly? What if it had travelled due north, instead of along the Gulf States? Is the migration traveling in the direction you predicted? Concerns about the low monarch population this year has turned scientists' attention toward monarch population dynamics. Try your hand at this challenging field of study.
  • News Flash: Mass Butterfly Migration in California
    All at once, a flurry of reports poured in from California and Arizona describing a spectacular butterfly migration. But do the comments sound like typical monarch observations to you? We contacted entomology expert Dr. Adrian Wenner, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA to find out.
  • Monarch Migration Update: April 25, 2001
    The monarchs from Mexico have now spread to about 36N, lagging some 260 miles behind last year's migration. Places like Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas are directly north of the sanctuaries. Why doesn't the migration move straight northward? The monarchs from Mexico are now in their final days, having lived since last fall. How long have these butterflies been alive, anyway? And when will the next generation emerge?
  • Monarch Migration Update: May 2, 2001
    Monarchs have now been sighted in 20 states, including 4 new ones this week--Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and West Virginia. A 3rd grader in Iowa reported the first butterfly from her state, and sent a digital photo as proof! Today's map probably shows how far the monarchs from Mexico will travel this year. After all, these butterflies have been alive for 8 months. Today's map shows when and where the new generation of butterflies will emerge. A recent tagging recovery proves monarchs travel to Mexico from the east coast of Canada--the longest distance ever recorded.
  • Monarch Migration Update: May 9, 2001
    The first monarchs have crossed into Canada! How far did the monarchs from Mexico go this spring? And where are their offspring now being seen? When you see your first monarch, carefully note if its wings are fresh--or faded, tattered and torn. Today's observations from Arkansas illustrate the remarkable reproductive capacity of insects! A single monarch laid over 200 eggs during the past month--and is still alive. Insects produce great numbers of offspring but provide no parental care at all. They rely entirely on mother nature to do that job.
  • Monarch Migration Update: May 16, 2001
    The predicted population explosion has occurred, and the first spring generation is now spreading across the north! During the last week, 44 sightings were reported. Learn about life as a monarch caterpillar. How big would you be if your weight increased 2000-fold in less than two weeks' time?
  • Monarch Migration Update: May 23, 2001
    During the last week another 75 sightings have been reported, reflecting a surge in butterfly numbers. The butterflies have now spread as far as 46 North. Scientists and "citizen scientists" from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia gathered this week to address concerns about the apparent decline of the monarch population. Of special interest to Journey North participants, the migration observations you are contributing are becoming very useful to scientists. It was exciting to see the data's value, and the important role citizens can play in the scientific process.
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: June 1, 2001
    Just a quick update today to the latest data for your migration map. We will be providing "Data Only" updates each Friday in June, until the migration is complete.
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: June 6, 2001
    Just a quick update today to the latest data for your migration map. We will be providing "Data Only" updates each Friday in June, until the migration is complete.
  • FINAL Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: June 20, 2001
    Thanks for helping to make Spring, 2001 such a successful migration tracking season! We hope you'll be back this fall to report your sightings of southbound monarchs, and track the migration all the way to Mexico. In the meantime, have a great summer.

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