A Walk Through The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary With Javier
"Guide in the El Rosario Sanctuary"
(Page 1)

When I began my work nine years ago, it was very difficult as I would never have considered

Javier standing near the third colony of butterflies.

myself a biologist. I did not know the first thing about the monarch butterfly except that they were common to certain trees during the winter months here in Michoacan. What else was there to know?!

Yet I became determined to find out more as I grew to appreciate the beauty of these creatures. My head was like a tape recorder, trying to acquire every bit of information from the biologists conducting their research in the sanctuariess. Soon, this curioustiy passed over on to my youngest son, Osvold. He always enjoys accompanying me on my tours and someday wants to work in the Monarch butterfly sanctuaries.

A Typical Season For A Guide Working In El Rosario
The commisario (head of the ejido) pays a salary to the biologists who come from Morelia and offer guides two-day courses. These courses are for the benefit of the guides working in El Rosario, the sanctuary nearest my home. I find it disappointing that this is not mandatory and that I am the only one who has asked for any additional information. Yet half of the 42 registered guides do attend regularly.

Javier with his son at the entrance sign to El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary.

The newly paved parking lots
just outside the sanctuary.

Earning A Living As A Guide In The Sanctuaries
During the months of tourism, October through March, the ejido collects approximately 1,200,000 pesos, know as the "collective salary". Yet this does not get distributed until April, and even then, most of this income has already been distributed for reforestation projects, ecology seminars and other uses. We receive very little of these earnings (like 300 pesos for 8 days' work), therefore we open restaurants and artesian shops to supplement this income. Many children report to this type of work after or before school, and sometimes during the weekends as this is the most popular time for visitors. In March we close the sanctuaries to the public and beginning in April and May we start reforestation projects, most of these including planting and maintaining tree farms. It becomes very difficult for me at this time, as I must also plant and maintain my crops and the income has now decreased. Due to this situation, it has been common for me and many of my friends to travel to the city of Toluca or the capita of Mexico and find employment in construction or lumber companies. By September, I am finishing with my harvesting and starting to prepare for the next season in the butterfly sanctuaries.

Other guides waiting outside
the ticket office for visitors.

A group of children who work in their
mother's restaurant just outside of the sanctuary.

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