As you prepare to send your monarch to Mexico, the following activities and resources may help make the project more meaningful.
Journey South Monarch Migration Updates
Help track the monarchs' journey to Mexico. Contribute sightings from your region, then watch for regular updates on Journey North's Monarch Butterfly Fall Migration.
Support Monarch Butterfly Conservation in Mexico
The monarchs' winter sanctuaries in Mexico are critical to the survival of their incredible migration. The sanctuaries are now seriously threatened by logging activities. In August, 1997 a new non-profit organization was formed by scientists and educators concerned about the rapid loss of wintering habitat in Mexico. Journey North urges you to consider ways you can support monarch habitat in Mexico by contributing to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation. Imagine our paper butterflies carrying support for the real monarchs with them when they go!
Create Monarch Habitat Where You Live
Plant a butterfly garden and help Unpave the Way for monarchs. Even a small planting of milkweed for monarch caterpillars and flowers with the adults' favorite nectar will attract monarchs. For help with your garden, be sure to check the butterfly gardening resources in the Unpave the Way section of this site. When your garden is complete, report back to Journey North so we'll know where along the migration trail your butterfly garden is located. Don't forget: Monarchs are insects so don't use insecticides in your garden!
Raise and Tag Real Monarchs
Through the Monarch Watch program, you can raise monarchs in the classroom and tag them before they travel south. Contact Monarch Watch for more information. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the WWW site at: http://monarch.bio.ukans.edu/
When Do Monarchs Leave Your Area?
Keep a record of monarch sightings by students in your classroom this fall. When was the last monarch seen? Each week, take a walk outside and look for flowers. Keep track of the date you see the last goldenrod or other wild aster in bloom. When does the first frost occur? What happens to the flowers? How does the date of first frost compare to the date the last monarch butterfly was seen?
How Far Will Your Monarch Travel?
Measure the distance between your home town and Mexico City. How many miles will your butterfly travel? What places will your butterfly cross on its way to Mexico? What does the monarch need along the route? Write a short story about your butterfly's journey south, from a monarch's perspective.
Exactly Where Do the Monarchs Go?
This map shows the 9 major monarch sanctuaries in Mexico, where all migratory monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains spend the winter! (Click on the face of the map for a larger image.) Look carefully at the map and see what you can learn about the monarchs' winter habitat. Find other maps of Mexico and see if you can form a theory: Why do you suppose monarchs go to these sites? What seems to be unique about them?
Habla espanol? If not, you'll soon be needing a Spanish-English dictionary. Because when your monarchs are south of the border Spanish will be spoken here. Better yet, find a friend who speaks Spanish and can serve as your translator this year!
Monarchs in the Classroom
This excellent monarch curriculum was written by Dr. Karen Oberhauser and a team of classroom teachers. Three separate editions are available: K-2, 3-6, and 6-8. All are full of ideas for integrating the study of monarchs across your curriculum. The cost per 200-page book is $16.50 (includes shipping). Checks to: Univ of MN Monarch Fund.
Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Univ of MN, Dept of Ecology, 1987 Upper Buford Circle, St. Paul MN 55108
National Geographic, August, 1976
Read about the discovery of the monarch wintering sanctuaries in Mexico, which was announced by Dr. Fred Urqhuart 21 years ago in the August, 1976 issue of National Geographic. Dr. and Mrs. Urqhuart tagged the first monarchs 60 years ago--and tagged the first paper monarchs for the symbolic migration.
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