Monarchs in the News
Population Rebounds, Deforestation Continues

February, 2003

Dave Kust

After the devastating storm of January 2002, which killed an estimated 75% of the last year's overwintering monarchs, scientists were surprised and relieved by the results of this winter's survey, just released. This year's population covers an estimated surface area of 8 hectares--nearly 20 acres. This compares to an average coverage of 9.6 hectares, according to measurements made annually during the past decade.

"The data this winter indicate that the monarchs are moving back toward their average population size, which is very encouraging news," said Dr. Lincoln Brower. "But until illegal logging is halted in Mexico's butterfly sanctuaries, the monarchs remain increasingly vulnerable from exposure to storms and loss of habitat."

The researchers who measured the colonies this year witnessed illegal logging activities in the core zone of the reserve, in addition to heavy cutting in the parts of the buffer zone.

How News is Made
A "press release" is a public statement given to the media by a person, agency or organization, with the goal of receiving press coverage. The press release above was issued jointly by three organizations: The Mexican government, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation. Within 48 hours, hundreds of news organizations, such as these, came out with the story:

Try This!

  • Compare the headlines, content, wording, and information sources in each of the stories. How are they similar and different from the press release?
  • If you wrote the headlines, what wording would you use?

Did You Know?

  • If your local newspaper missed this story, you can send the press release to a reporter. Learn how the news-making process works for yourself!

National Science Education Standards

Science as Inquiry
Mathematics is important in all aspects of scientific inquiry. (5-8)

Life Science
Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms. (K-4)

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither. Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans. (K-4)

National Geography Standards

Environment and Society
How human actions modify the physical environment.


Copyright 2003 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to
our feedback form