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“We Were in Love with the Forest”

Forest History Society

November 12, 2020
“We Were in Love with the Forest”: Protecting Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
This blog post by Ellen Sharp and Will Wright is a working version of an article to be published in the Spring/Fall 2020 issue of our magazine Forest History Today. We are making it available beforehand because of the time sensitivity of the conservation issue it discusses. You can download a draft version of this post to read offline here. The issue is that illegal logging in the overwintering habitat of monarch butterflies in Mexico, which appears to be increasing due to the impact of the pandemic on the tourist-based local economy, threatens their existence. The personal history of some of the rangers who patrol those areas may hold the key to the insect’s survival.

Letter #2 From Cerro Pelon Monarch Sanctuary

Journey North

November 11, 2020
Letter #2 From Cerro Pelon Monarch Sanctuary
Butterfly behavior is confounding us this season. As any local can tell you, the monarch colony on Cerro Pelon alternates sides of the mountain every year. Every other season it’s an El Llano year, as the butterflies begin by roosting high above this majestic meadow on the southeastern side of Cerro Pelon’s peak. In other years, they occupy Carditos, an area southwest of the peak and above a meadow called La Lagunita. Last season was an El Llano year, and so this season, of course, should be a Carditos year.

Letter From Cerro Pelon Monarch Sanctuary

Journey North

November 4, 2020
Letter From Cerro Pelon Monarch Sanctuary
November 1st found the El Capulin cemetery eerily empty. An official sign at the gate required the application of hand gel, the use of masks, and visits of 15 minutes or less. There was no gel on hand, only a smattering of masks in use, and the one significant gathering, a new widow and her adult children surrounded by coolers and a sound system, looked like they weren’t leaving anytime soon.

Mexico's Monarch Migration

Saving Earth Magazine: Fall 2020

Clusters in Carditos taking to the air as temperatures break 13 degrees Celcius. Photography: Pato Moreno.
Oel Moreno films the beginning of remigration in La Canada on Cerro Pelon, February 29, 2020. Photography: Ellen Sharp.
Monarchs need an intact forest canopy to protect them from the elements. Photography: Pato Moreno.
Since starting work as a guardian for Butterflies & Their People, Leonel Contreras, has moved out of his inlaws' house and built a separate home for his family. Photography: Ellen Sharp.
Guests of JM Butterfly B&B picnicking in El Llano de Tres Gobernadores in January 2020. The colony clusters above this meadow every other season. Photography: Ellen Sharp.


San Miguel de Allende Rotary Club Presentation October 20, 2020

Online Butterfly Festival - Point Pelee & Parks Canada

Monarchs in Mexico: November through March

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