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Monarch Butterfly

Journey North News will be posted on Wednesdays
Feb. 9, 16, 23, Mar. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Apr. 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24...and weekly until the migration is completed!

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Journey North News

  • Monarch Migration Update: June 14, 2000
    Just a quick update today to give you the latest data for your monarch migration map. Now that monarchs have spread across their northern breeding range, we'll post the FINAL Migration Update next week. Have a great summer!
  • Monarch Migration Update: May 17, 2000
    The predicted population explosion has occurred--another 49 new sightings were reported this week! What a contrast between this spring's migration map and that of Spring, 1999. Here's a chance for students to do their own analysis, using maps from both seasons for comparison. Monarchs can't live without milkweed, but milkweed's not only for monarchs. Which other creatures are connected to milkweed? Explore milkweed ecology and take this creature quiz.
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: May 10, 2000 The first monarchs have crossed the border into Canada! Strong south winds blew butterflies into the north during the past week. What a contrast you'll see when comparing this week's map to last week's! How many generations of monarchs will live this summer? And which generation will fly to Mexico next fall?
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: May 3, 2000 Your migration map probably now shows how far the monarchs from Mexico will travel this year. How long have these monarchs been alive? Florida students calculated the answer: 245 days. That's 8 months! If a monarch butterfly could talk, just think of the stories it could tell! But are the early monarchs ahead of their milkweed? Try this field study to see which grows faster, a monarch or a milkweed plant.
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 26, 2000 The monarchs are continuing to push northward! Just how far north do you think the monarchs from Mexico will go? Are some monarchs ahead of the milkweed they need? If you live in the north, where monarchs have not yet arrived, YOUR first monarchs will probably be the children of the butterflies from Mexico. Turn your migration map into a new map, one that shows when and where the NEXT generation of monarchs should emerge.
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 19, 2000 Just a quick update today to give you the latest data for your monarch migration map. This week's report is abbreviated, due to vacation this week at many schools. Watch for a full update next week, according to the schedule posted.
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 12, 2000
    The migration surged northward last week. Among the most surprising news: First Monarchs were reported in Tennessee, Illinois...and Connecticut! Can you think of 3 reasons why it might be risky for a monarch to travel as far north as Connecticut this early in the spring? When unusual or surprising sightings occur, don't ignore the questions that come to mind. Remember, this is your study and you're the scientist!
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 5, 2000
    If the monarch sighted last week in Georgia had flown straight northward, instead of to the east, it would be in Nebraska--and almost in South Dakota! Why don't monarchs go directly north? Do you see any correlation between "Plant Hardiness Zones" and the path of the monarchs? Name two important reasons why a vegetation map might be helpful when analyzing monarch migration.
  • Monarch Migration Update: March 29, 2000
    Although the monarchs have now left the Mexican sanctuaries behind, for the first time this year, news of their journey north will be sent back to the people who share their mountain home with the monarchs every winter. Now that the migration has been underway for 3-4 weeks, what pattern is your map beginning to show? Do the monarchs move straight northward from Mexico? One pattern we notice each year is that most migrating monarchs are seen on Saturdays and Sundays. Do you think monarchs usually migrate on weekends?
  • Monarch Migration Update: March 22, 2000
    The first monarch has already been sighted in Arkansas! Assuming it flew all the way from Mexico, how far did that butterfly fly? How many millions of Monarchs were in Mexico this year? The count is! Meanwhile in Texas, they're watching the wings for clues as to how old the butterflies are. Do you think these 3 monarchs flew from Mexico?
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 15, 2000
    The migration is off to an early start this spring, with sightings already as far north as latitude 32 N. This is at least a full week earlier than those at the same locations last year. "Not withstanding, in 24 years of Mexican monarch watching, I'd never seen the colonies break apart substantially before the 20th of March," reports Dr. Calvert from the Mexican sanctuaries. Read this week's news from the sanctuaries, and an interview with local tour guide, "Javier". How is ecotourism working as a conservation strategy there?
  • Monarch Migration Update: March 8, 2000
    The first Monarchs are on their way! From the mountains in Mexico, Eligio Garcia sends the news we've been waiting for: "Parece ser que la migracion al norte ya esta comensando. Observe varias mariposas volando hacia el norte y fuera de la reserva." Has the migration reached Texas already?! How can you tell a migratory monarch? Also, Dr. Calvert shares research data about affect of snowstorm on monarch colony.
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 1, 2000
    Dr. Bill Calvert reports from Mexico: Streams of butterflies flowing down the mountain, filling the road and bringing traffic to a crawl. And 'the cloud effect', where basking butterflies immediately push off into the air, their wings sounding like a beehive. What are the reasons behind these beautiful spring displays? Also, some thoughts about land conservation: Who owns the monarch sanctuaries?
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: February 23, 2000
    Millions upon millions of monarchs were basking in the sun this week when U.S. students joined Dr. Calvert in the Mexican sanctuaries. "We were treated to a display that was simply astounding." How many monarch are typically clustered on a single tree in a monarch colony? And why do monarchs shiver?
  • Monarch Migration Update: February 16, 2000
    For those of us waiting for the monarch migration to begin, this week's news from Eligio Garcia signals some exciting changes. After clustering tightly together during the coldest months in Mexico, the monarch colonies have begun to break up and the butterflies are beginning to descend the mountains. Students at Pedro Ascencio school are monitoring the weather in the sanctuaries. Why might information about rain, snow, dew and frost be important to measure?
  • Monarch Migration Update: February 9, 2000
    Biologist Eligio Garcia sends this greeting from the mountains in Mexico, where the millions of monarch butterflies from the U.S. and Canada have gone for the winter. This year he reports only 350 trees filled with monarchs in one sanctuary, where there were 1,750 last year. How might this be explained? Until the monarch migration begins in March, watch for weekly updates from the Mexico every Wednesday. Each will include a first-person account of life in the region, as told by the children and families who live there.

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