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Symbolic Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: October 27, 2006

Butterfly Ambassadors Staging in Minnesota
"Wow! Look at this one – it’s so beautiful," "This one’s an ambassador! Look at these patterns," "Every one--so different!" These are just a few of the exclamations coming from Journey North headquarters as workers open all the packages of symbolic butterflies headed for Mexico.

Like beautiful snowflakes, each unique butterfly demonstrates a caring and interest in monarch safety and conservation. The message is loud and clear, “Thank you for taking care of our Monarchs!”

Here's a peek at some of the thousands of butterflies staging in Minnesota.
Thanks for the class pictures!
We love your enthusiasm!

A Mountain of Delightful Butterflies

The deadline has come and gone, and it seems the Journey North headquarters is bursting at the seams with your beautiful butterflies. Before long, the mountain of butterfly envelopes – a staggering sight – will all be opened, sorted, and boxed for their journey to Mexico.

The Journey North staff and volunteers open each and every envelope to check its contents. We are the first to see the new year’s crop of delightful creations. We want to make sure of a safe return of butterflies back to you in the spring.

Dedicated workers sort, examine, count and enjoy each of your butterflies!

Try This! Are You an Ambassador for Your Monarch?


The migration of the monarch butterfly is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world — but it is considered "endangered." Protecting these fragile natural resources and their habitat is critical to their survival. The symbolic monarch you made represents you and expresses your interest, friendship, and appreciation for the role the Mexican people play in monarch conservation.

As you follow the migrations of real and symbolic butterflies this year, plan to look for similarities and differences between the migrations. Keep a list of comparisons all year in your Journal and watch it grow. If you haven't already done so, here are some questions to consider and some lessons to try.

Journaling Questions:

  • Who is responsible for the monarchs at each stage of their lives?
  • What happens when the butterflies cross national borders?
  • What obstacles might they encounter during their migration?
  • How do the butterflies find their wintering grounds?
  • Are there times during the fall, winter or spring when the entire population is at risk?

These butterflies are a shared natural resource. Symbolic Migration Lessons help reinforce the spirit and objectives of the Symbolic Monarch Migration.

The Longest Symbolic Migration
Symbolic butterflies to Mexico
Just as the real monarchs travel miles and miles in their fall migration, the symbolic monarchs also can chalk up the miles. Whose butterflies will travel the farthest this year? One package arriving at the Journey North headquarters contained butterflies made at Vogelweh Elementary school Germany!

Here’s a puzzle for you:
If the German butterflies migrated directly to the monarch sanctuaries in Mexico how many miles would they travel?
This information might to help you solve the puzzle:

  • Vogelweh Elementary School is located in Kaiserslautern, Germany (49.45N, 7.78E)
  • Their butterflies are traveling to the sanctuaries in Mexico (19.62N, -100.28W).

How many different ways could you determine the distance between the 2 places? Give it a try and share your information with your class!

Mark your Calendar! Here What's in Store for Your Symbolic Butterflies:

COMING November 3rd

  • Symbolic Butterfly Art Galleries: View a sampling of your creative masterpieces!
Beth Allen, in charge of the Symbolic Monarch, oversees the entire project.


  • Passenger Lists (so you can make sure your Symbolic Butterflies were on board).

COMING December 9th

  • Total number of Symbolic Butterflies revealed.
  • Total days, hours and minutes it took to reach Mexico revealed.
  • List of donors to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation proudly displayed.
  • Focus on life in the sanctuary region.

The Next Symbolic Monarch Migration Update Will be Posted on November 3rd, 2006.

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