Letter of Invitation to Participate in Symbolic Migration Project, 2020-2021

To our Symbolic Migration community,

Join the celebration by participating in the 25th anniversary year of the Symbolic Migration! Every year since 1995, teachers and students across the United States and Canada have created paper replicas of monarch butterflies. These paper monarchs are then shipped to Mexico for delivery to teachers and students who attend schools in two Mexican states: Michoacán and Mexico. Why these schools? The Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary is located in the state of Mexico, while the El Rosario and Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries are located in the state of Michoacán.

We hope you will participate in this important transnational education project this academic year. Read more about how to participate.

A Few Changes

Online for US and Canadian Participants: Given that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge across North America necessitating some school districts to turn to virtual or hybrid learning, we have been working behind the scenes to create an online program for participants in the United States and Canada, and alternative learning experiences for participants in Mexico.

For schools in the United States and Canada, teachers can guide students as these students create, decorate and take photos of individual life-sized paper butterflies from home. Teachers would be responsible for decorating the Classroom Ambassador Monarchs with input from students. (Use of interactive whiteboard software optional.)  Teachers can then work with their students to upload photos of the individual butterflies and the Classroom Ambassador Monarchs to a shared Google Drive folder managed by Monarch Across Georgia. Uploaded scanned images are also accepted. Monarchs Across Georgia will print and ship paper copies of your butterfly images to environmental educator and courier, Estela Romero, in Angangueo, Michoacán.

Alternatives for Mexican Participants: In August, the Mexican government decided to keep public elementary and secondary schools closed indefinitely. Teachers and students in Mexico will begin the new academic year at home. In a country where 4 in 10 homes lack internet access and computer hardware, teachers and students will be learning remotely using TV programming. Because of this situation, online participation is not a viable option for our educational partners in Mexico. If schools in Mexico remain closed, Estela Romero will deliver Classroom Ambassador Monarchs to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries and possibly a few local churches where small groups of students will be able to retrieve them. Remember that these students will keep the Classroom Ambassador Monarchs as your gift. We are also discussing the possibility of Ms. Romero creating a few monarch educational spots on a local radio station for participating schools in Mexico. We continue to work with Ms. Romero to develop creative, alternative learning experiences. 

Read About the Arrival of the Classroom Ambassador Monarchs to Mexico

Starting in mid-November, you will be able to read about these deliveries and see photos on Estela Romero’s Symbolic Migration blog site.

Spring Time Deliveries to US and Canada

In the spring, when the real-life monarchs begin their annual migration north (typically by mid-March), you will receive a link to a Google Drive folder with a Classroom Ambassador Monarch and a cluster of life-sized butterflies made by participants from across North America as well as a letter from a Mexican student.

Participation Only Costs $10

The cost is a $10 Passenger Ticket per classroom. This $10 fee will cover printing and shipping costs for the Classroom Ambassador Monarchs, and most importantly, conservation education for students both here in the United States and Canada, as well as, participating schools in Mexico. The deadline to purchase your Passenger Ticket and to submit your Classroom Ambassador Monarch and life-sized butterflies is October 9, 2020. 

See the Symbolic Migration Teacher Packet for complete details.

Watch Real-Life Monarchs Journey South on Interactive Maps

Monarch fall migration begins soon. The fourth generation of monarchs will soon begin their journey south on their annual migration to overwintering sanctuaries in Mexico and Michoacán, Mexico. Keep watching Journey North’s interactive maps to find out when the first monarchs arrive in the sanctuary region (typically around November 1st).

Be well,

-Team Journey North and Monarchs Across Georgia

The Symbolic Migration project is a partnership project between Journey North, a program of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, and Monarchs Across Georgia, a committee of The Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia, a 501(c)(3) organization.