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Angangueo Monitoring Monarchs

October 10, 2013

Dear Friends,
In less than one month, monarchs should be arriving. Meanwhile we will be eagerly looking at the sky searching for the first ones. We are happy to be the speakers to announce their Official Arrival to our region where the two biggest Sanctuaries are found: El Rosario and Chincua.

Let me introduce you to our official monitoring children this season: José Alberto (12), Rosa Isela (10), Javier (10)--these two latter ones are fraternal twins—and Erika (8).

As you can see, our four friends this year welcome you pointing at their new house after the flooding event in 2010 in our town. The family lost everything, since they lived in a very steep mountain where one of the main landslides occurred. Their home was highly damaged—but fortunately not swept away—so they managed to survive. Now they live at the "Barrio Sustentable Monarca" where around 500 new houses were constructed by the State for affected families.

This new living settlement is only 1 km. right beside "El Cerrito", the place where they will be monitoring the Monarchs' arrival. Once there, we started looking at the sky in case an early Monarch would appear, but no signal of them yet. At first, the children were shouting excitingly at me assuring they had found several! To their disappointment, I explained that the butterflies were Viceroys and very frequently confused with Monarchs.

Although no Monarchs yet, the whole atmosphere and weather turn now to "time of Monarchs" in our town. We are having the last heavy rains of the season. We had a very intensive raining time this year—not seen in the last 10 years perhaps—which kept us alert to landslides and floods, which fortunately did not occur. As you may have seen on tv or internet, our neghbouring state of Guerrero suffered an exponential disaster compared to ours four years ago.

Exhausted, as we were, after walking into the forest searching for a Monarch, we finally set our picnic table and enjoyed our snacks, consisting of Adobado Chicken Tacos which we made by ourselves. We did not have enough Adobado preparation (a kind of chili preparation to cover the meat itself), so added some additional harsh vinegar-chili, as you can see.

While we had lunch, I explained to the Monarchs life-cycle, to which they widely opened their eyes—since their mouths should all the time be full—but once their mouths could open, I got very interesting questions from them, such as:

What do they eat?
Do they sleep?
How does the new generation know where our Sanctuaries are to reach them?

To which, I wished, their mouths should have kept full, since their questions were really wise and clever!

"We eagerly wait for Monarchs to come", Erika, the youngest, said, "because we very easily sell some more bunches of Lemon-Minted tea we pick up at the forest --off-mushrooms-season-- to tourists in town".

"I would like to include myself as a guide at the Sanctuaries," José Alberto added. "However, since my father is not Ejidatario, we children have no right to work there. There we would have one good chance to make some more money."

He wisely seemed to understand very well the concept of being an Ejidatario at his very early age.

Finally, the graph was filled after reflecting about its graphic representation of our monitoring within the coming weeks.

We closed our day meeting their parents at the main Plaza downtown were we made the family photo: Sandra, the mother, 32, Javier the father 50, and their four children.

Next week, besides monitoring, we want you all North American and Canadian students and teachers, to accompany us to know a little more of the life of our four official Monitoring guides specially focused on their school life, which is a new aspect of school life in Angangueo after the events in 2010.

Until then,

Estela Romero
Local Reporter
Angangueo, Michocán, México.

Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico Map: Location of monarch butterfly overwintering region in Mexico
Located in the mountains near the two largest monarch sanctuaries.
Monarch Wintering Sites
The region in central México where monarchs overwinter.


Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Pointing to our house.
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Looking for monarch butterflies.
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Picnic on our field day.
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
The start of our graph
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Riding in Estela's car
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Introducing our family