Butterfly Migration Update: May 14, 2004
First Monarchs Enter Wisconsin and Iowa!
first graders were so excited to be the first to spot a monarch at our
school in our butterfly garden,” wrote Ms. Sommerfelt from Burlington,
Do Monarchs Migrate at Night as Some Songbirds Do?
Discussion of Challenge Question #20
When songbird migration was in full swing last week, we wrote about their habit of traveling at night. We asked you to consider the reasons songbirds do this, and whether monarchs fly in the day, at night, or both.
Iselin Middle School students in New Jersey gave this a good deal of thought. “We think the Monarch Butterfly migrates during the day. We think this is because they might get too cold at night and might freeze. During the day, it's warmer and they can find food. Flowers don't supply nectar at night. It is also easier for them to see and find their landmarks.”
"You ask hard questions!" protested Dr. Bill Calvert. "Basically I believe that it is too cold for them to fly at night. They have no source of warmth (radiation) to keep their muscles working. But that raises the question of how moths do it. Let me think on this for a while!”
Later, came his response:
Bad News from Mexico: Massive Illegal Logging Reported
Dr. Lincoln Brower received alarming reports this week from officials in Mexico which indicate that massive illegal cutting is underway in the Sierra Chincua sanctuary. The cutting--in the protected “Core Zone” of the sanctuary--began in September 2003, accelerated through the fall, and has reached the current level of “apparent catastrophic logging,” said Dr. Brower.
“This incident makes it clear that the illegal and uncontrolled activities of businessmen who finance these raids are a serious threat to the Reserva Biosfera, the monarch migration in eastern North America, and the watersheds that support the local residents,” stated Dr. Chip Taylor in a Monarch Watch update on May 12. Monarch Watch has compiled translations of the original news stories thus far published only in the Mexican press and in Spanish.
Why Monarchs Need the Forest: Blanket and Umbrella Analogy
Dr. Brower has studied the monarchs in their wintering sanctuaries for over 20 years. Whenever he describes the monarchs' winter habitat, he uses this analogy: "The forest serves as an umbrella and a blanket for the monarchs."
Since you're already familiar with blankets and umbrellas, you can apply your knowledge to a question about monarch habitat. You may be surprised how helpful analogies can be. Try making an analogy between umbrellas, blankets and the monarch sanctuaries. The lesson and information below will help you carry the idea further.
Challenge Question #21: At Least How Many Hectares Illegally Cut?
“Here are some things to consider,” said Dr. Chip Taylor. “There are 300-400 trees per hectare in these forests. Each truck carries the remains of three trees, and there have been 50-100 trucks per day leaving the area for a period of at least 7 weeks.”
(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)
Local Mexican People Protest
On April 28, for the first time, the people of Angangeuo organized and held a public demonstration to protest the government’s lack of resolve to protect the forest. They are demanding that President Fox put an immediate end to the destruction. The schools, ejido leaders and church authorities have witnessed logging trucks pass through town under the cover of darkness for weeks but have watched silently, afraid to get involved for their own safety. Not only are monarchs threatened by the loss of the forest. The health of the local economy and environment are also at stake. For example, many people depend on the income tourists bring when visiting their town. If the butterflies are gone, so go the tourists. The mountain forests also protect the local watershed. When the forest is cut, streams, drinking water, roads and fields are damaged by erosion.
Watch the Press: How is News Made?
Watch for this story to break in the United States and Canadian press. Which news organization will be first to cover it? Who will the reporters interview? Where will they get their information? Or, will the press fail to cover the story at all?
Request a Google News Alert
Google News Alerts are a great way to monitor a developing news story. Google can send you an Alert by email whenever news articles appear online that match a topic you specify. Subscribe to receive a “News Alert” by entering the key words “monarch butterfly” and/or “illegal logging Mexico”then watch for the story to break.
Try This! Submit a Press Release to Your Local Paper
If you’d like your local newspaper to carry this story, you can participate in the news-making process yourself. Write a press release based on the information available on the web. (A "press release" is a public statement given to the media by a person, agency or organization, with the goal of receiving press coverage.)
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question:
Address an e-mail message to: email@example.com
1997-2004 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.