Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
About the Symbolic Migration

Q: I am new to the project and want to introduce my class to the concepts of the Symbolic Migration. Where do I start?
A. There are 3 introductory activities to do with your class to help them understand the Symbolic Migration. These activities are found in the Teachers section (see Menu bar at top of any page). Detailed instructions for making and sending your Symbolic Monarch and enclosures are found in the Teacher Packet.

Q. If I am already registered, do I need to register seperately for the Symbolic Migration?
A. No! Once you have registered for Journey North, you are in our database for ALL Journey North activities.
If not, go here to register for Journey North:

Q. What is the timeline for this project?
A. For all information about this project see the Timeline.

Q. I am not a classroom teacher, can I participate in the Symbolic Migration?
A. Yes, many organizations in addition to schools participate (examples include 4-H, Scouts, homeschools, nature clubs and church groups).

Q. What is a class butterfly?
A. Your class butterfly, made from a file folder, is like an embassador that will be traveling to Mexico this fall. The butterfly and its enclosures will represent your classroom in friendship and goodwill. It will be delivered to a child in a school near the monarch sanctuaries. In the spring your class butterfly will return to a classroom in the U.S or Canada.

Q. What do I enclose with the class butterfly?
A. Your butterfly will carry a letter to the student in Mexico describing where your classroom is located. It will also hold 2 class/school pictures and an envelope containing a cluster of life-sized paper monarchs, one from each of your students. You may also include postcards and Spanish messages for the students in Mexico (within the weight limit).

Q. Can we send a butterfly made out of recycled plastic and “found” materials?
A. Your class butterfly must be made from a standard-sized file folder. It has no 3D decorations and no glitter.

Q. What is the small, individual butterfly cluster?
A. Each student in your classroom will make a tiny, life-sized monarch to include inside your classroom butterfly. It will be no larger than a real monarch. A template is included in the Teacher Packet.

Q. Why is it so important to write our messages in Spanish?
A. The children in the sanctuary region of Mexico speak Spanish. Very few people speak English.

Q. Why do we have to put our school mailing address on our butterfly?
A. Your class butterflies will be mixed with thousands of other butterflies. A clearly labeled butterfly gives you a chance to receive communication from others who receive your butterfly.

Q. Where on the butterfly should our mailing addresses go?
A. Put your mailing address in a clear place. (Mailing labels work perfectly.) Here's why: Mexican students may have an opportunity to write to you. Therefore, use the EXACT format needed to mail a letter, like this:

First Name
School Name
Town, State/Province, Zip/Postal Code

Do NOT write your address in a single line or as part of a sentence or they will not recognize it as an address.

fall envelope

Q: Where do we send our butterfly?

Journey North
19130 Highland Ave.
Wayzata, MN 55391

Q. Is it OK to send FedEx?
A. Yes.

Q. I do not understand why we must have 10" x 13" envelopes for our butterfly.
A. The 10"X13" sized envelope ensures your butterfly and its enclosures will fit.

Q. How much postage do we put on our Spring envelope?
Your Spring envelope will be mailed to you from Journey North headquarters in Minnesota. ** Therefore, make sure it h
as exactly $2.00 postage (stamps only) affixed for the return trip from MN. Canadian Mail: Choices are: $5.75 Canadian postage, or 5 IRC’s. *One IRC=1 oz.

Q: Can we mail our butterfly directly to Mexico since we are going to miss the deadline?
No, you cannot mail your butterfly directly to Mexico.
Please understand and respect our need to stick to the deadlines--it would be impossible for us to manage this project otherwise. Every year we receive several requests from individuals to accept their butterflies late. These kinds of requests make it difficult to coordinate the project overall.


Q: What will we receive in our Spring envelope?
A: You will receive a class butterfly made by students from the US and Canada and a cluster of small butterflies from children involved with the program. You will also receive a Journey North newsletter.

Q: Do we get our own butterfly back?
A: No. You will receive a butterfly made by students from the US and Canada in the spring.

Q: Why is the butterfly we received this spring made by students in the United States and Canada?
A: This is intentional. The Symbolic Migration is parallel to the actual migration. The monarchs begin their migration in the U.S. and Canada, go to Mexico. In the Spring they return to all parts of North America.

Q. What happens to the butterfly we send to Mexico?
A. Students in Mexico will receive and enjoy your butterfly in their classroom this winter. In the spring the butterflies and enclosures are randomly returned to the US and Canada. The spring newsletter inserted with the butterflies will explain the process.

Q: I'm trying to share the video you posted of the paper monarchs ariving for the symbolic migration with my students. Can you help?
A. I believe you need to copy and paste the URL, and put that in your "Windows Media Player".
  • Open Windows Media Player
  • Go to "File -> Open URL"
  • Paste the URL that you copied in the box.

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