The southern journey has begun. According to Journey North
Journey North citizen scientists in southern Ontario, the Midwest, and the Northeast still reported monarch activity, including roosting behavior and directional flight. With temperatures falling and daylight shortening, reports in these areas will continue to drop over the coming weeks.
Yesterday I was out in the Saratogo Community Garden and I did not see any Monarch Butterflies. The nights are dropping to the 40 degree F range and butterflies can not fly under 50 degrees F. Last week was a definite week of Monarch Butterfly sightings. There were Mexican sunflowers that the Monarch is drawn to with its bright orange color.
Be safe little Monarch Butterfly and may you have a successful journey back to Mexico. El Dia de los Muertos is on November 1, and the people in the mountains of Mexico look at the Monarch Butterfly as their ancestors returning, and they celebrate their annual return with festivities to honor the butterfly and their own departed.
“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” — George Eliot
According to Wisconsin Public Radio on February 9, tourism is down at and near the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacan, Mexico. The drug wars led by La Familia and beheading of opponent drug gang members is keeping tourists away. Even though the Sanctuary is some distance from the drug wars, tourists do not want to go to a country in the middle of a drug war.
Millions of monarch butterflies are now at the Sanctuary hanging from the Oyamel fir trees. Towards March they will begin their journey back to the United States on their way to Canada.
Winter 2010 destroyed El Roserio a town near the Sanctuary. Roads and bridges were wiped out and homes were lost to floods and mudslides. The people are dependent upon tourism who come to see the monarch butterfly at the Mexican Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. A resident interviewed said that the people could depend on working five months a year because of tourism. 13,000 people used to live there but many residents are leaving to try to find work in other parts. The population in 2011 is down to 10,000. The people were already poor and a setback from a weakened tourist trade is unraveling into further hardship on the people.
Mexican President Calderon wants to make 2011 the Year of Tourism. Between the mudslides and floods at the Sanctuary, that killed at least 50 percent of the wintering monarchs, in 2010 and the continuing drug wars in 2011, tourists are backing off and the nearby towns, that support the tourist industry, are being impacted economically by lack of tourists.
The only host plant of the monarch butterfly (milkweed) is often a noxious weed in Canada. In the USA there is a loss of biodiverse agriculture and agricultural lands to urban sprawl and use of pesticides and herbicides.
In Mexico there is illegal logging of Oyamel fir trees within the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. In 2010 according to Monarch Watch over 50 percent of the monarchs died due to mudslides, freezing rains and floods within and around the sanctuaries.
We the undersigned promise not to use pesticides or herbicides in gardening. We agree not to plant monoculture crops.
We promise to plant a variety of native crops and plants for pollinators and insect control. We promise to plant milkweed for the monarch butterfly to establish the next generation of butterflies.
I spoke with Sue Sill, Executive Director, La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, (LCHPP) via email yesterday. She is in Mexico now where the damage of floods and mudslides destroyed Angangueo and El Rosario, towns near the Mexican Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. We do not know the status of the monarch butterflies yet and what the survival rate is. There is no way in or out at the present time. According to Monarch Watch, we will need to wait and see.
You can make donations directly to: LCHPP, 404 Victoria Ave., McAllen, TX 78503. We are also raising funds for LCHPP on Happy Tonics Facebook Blog.
October Hill Foundation in Connecticut donated $5,000 in seed money to initiate the monarch area assistance fund.
Won’t you please help by donating to help LCHPP? Thank you.
What would life be without the Monarch Butterfly? The monarch is a butterfly of transformation. Is she teaching us that clear cutting leaves the mountains vulnerable? No tree roots to hold the soil can bring soil erosion through heavy rains which in turn can bring floods and mudslides.
The monarch needs the Oyamel fir forest to survive in Mexico. Stop clear cutting to save the Mexican Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. Mexico is the home country of the monarch butterfly. Reforestation will begin in the spring with funds raised for LCHPP.