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The Monarch migration has been going on for thousands of years and is one of the many wonders of our world. And as I type these words, millions and millions of monarch butterflies are migrating as much as 20,000 miles to Mexico for the winter.
Monarchs also need our help! In recent decades the Monarch Butterfly population has declined by almost 90 percent. Some of this is due to excess tree harvest and over-logging in their over-winter sites. But it also has to do with their food source; milkweed plants. Milkweed plans used to be as common as mud, but over the years that plant has declined as a result of sprays and chemicals used by farmers to protect crops that harm the milkweed the caterpillars need to survive. Removed milkweed from their habitat is making it harder and harder for butterflies to find food.
The best way to make a difference in the world is through education and actions. With that in mind, here are a handful of Family-Friendly ways to help save our Monarchs.
Family-Friendly ways to help save our Monarchs/ Books
Check out these 21 Books for All-Ages About Monarch Butterflies and the Monarch Migration at Study for Common Things
Becky at Kid World Citizen has a great tutorial about teaching your children about monarch butterflies, details about their migration and life cycle via some wonderful books, sites, videos, and activities!
Family-Friendly ways to help save our Monarchs/ Butterfly Activities
I love the idea of teaching children how to raise these amazing animals and these butterfly kits may be just the ticket.
To grow into an adult, Monarch butterflies go through 4 stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. To fully understand the complexity of this natural miracle, check out this article about The Life Cycle of the Monarch here.
Family-Friendly ways to help save our Monarchs/ Learn More
Explore Life Moore has an excellent article on the what, the why and the how of raising Monarchs.
Where do Monarchs go in the fall? Learn more about the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico City.
|Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve|
|Reserva de Biosfera de la Mariposa Monarca|
Entrance of Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
|Location||Michoacán–Mexico State border|
|Nearest city||Mexico City|
|Established||1980 (as a wildlife refuge)|
|Designated||2008 (32nd session)|
|Region||Latin America and the Caribbean|
The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (Spanish: Reserva de Biosfera de la Mariposa Monarca) is a World Heritage Site containing most of the over-wintering sites of the eastern population of the monarch butterfly. The reserve is located in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt pine-oak forestsecoregion on the border of Michoacán and State of Mexico, 100 km (62 miles), northwest of Mexico City. Millions of butterflies arrive in the reserve annually. Butterflies only inhabit a fraction of the 56,000 hectares of the reserve from October–March. The biosphere’s mission is to protect the butterfly species and its habitat.
Most of the over-wintering monarchs from eastern North America are found here. Western researchers discovered these areas in 1975. Presidential decrees in the 1980s and 2000 designated these still privately held areas as a federal reserve. The Reserve was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 2008. The reserve remains predominantly rural. Reserve administrators continue to be concerned with deleterious effects of illegal logging and tourism. Conservation efforts sometimes conflict with the interests of local farmers, community-based landowners, private landowners, and indigenous people.
Family-Friendly ways to help save our Monarchs/ Participate
Participate in the Symbolic Migration with other teachers in Mexico
The Symbolic Migration unites children across North America through the migration of symbolic ambassador butterflies. This fall 60,000 students across the globe will create symbolic monarch butterflies and send them to Mexico. Children who live beside the monarchs’ winter sanctuaries in Mexico will protect the paper butterflies and return them in the spring. See Teacher’s Packet for step-by-step instructions. Learn more here.