A Walk Through The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary With Javier

"Guide In El Rosario Sanctuary"

(Page 3)

How The Guide System Operates
One of the earlier scientists in the sanctuaries started with an idea that the local people could work as tour guides because they are the most familiar with the land. This was difficult at first for the 40 new "guides" simply because the local people, including myself did not know a lot about the science of the butterfly. Yet they all seemed very eager to start and the commisario agreed to pay them the dividends from the tourism money. Within a short time the idea of the "List" was established. This is a fair manner in which the guides can obtain work, but since the number of tourists varies daily, there are times when one might not work the entire day.

On the contrary, the weekends are so busy, that I always prefer to work with fewer visitors as I can really talk about the sanctuaries and get to know the many types of people. It is horrible on the weekends! The majority of our larger groups come from schools and universities in or near Mexico City. Other groups are families from all over the world on vacation. Sometimes there are as many as 10,000 visitors after one week! (There are 11,000 thousand people that live in the ejido El Rosario). Besides the language barrier, the larger groups are the most difficult for me. When there is a large group of students or family trip on the weekend, we won't allow more than 20 individuals per guide. Usually though, two guides will combine their groups and this makes it easier as one guide and one of the group's teachers are in the front and also in the back. This makes it easier to control the students and explain the sanctuaries.

Javier with his two sons
in one of the three colonies.

Observing and enjoying the Monarch butterflies.

Osvold delighting in the
beauty of the butterflies.

Discussion Questions
  • If there are approximately 10,000 visitors per week during the busiest season and only a list of 40 guides, what is the average number of visitors that each guide has to work with per week, per day?
  • What affects, both positive and not positive, would this many visitors create in passing through the Monarch butterfly sanctuaries every week during high tourism?

Try This! Interview a Grown-up About Seasonal Work
Share Javier’s story with an adult you know. Here are some questions you could ask to guide the discussion:
  • How would your life be different if your work lasted 5 months of the year, from November through March?
  • What if your work was only busy for 2 months, or only on weekends?
  • What are the challenges of having a seasonal business? What are the benefits?
  • How is Javier's example similar to those involved in ecotourism in our state or province?

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