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Gleanings
Ellen Sharp

Squirrels & Stingers: A Nature Writing Lesson

I’ve been going a little crazy after two months plus of sheltering in place, thinking a lot about travel and asking myself, what was it about the possibility of leaving that made staying bearable, now that I’m staying without the possibility of leaving? Instead of long-distance travel, I make long-distance phone calls. One friend responds

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Gleanings
Ellen Sharp

The Repeated Refrain of Nature

The book club doesn’t talk about books anymore now that we meet on Zoom. Jill and Lisa mention the solace they’re finding on the rooftops of their Mexico City apartment buildings, a momentary escape from four walls to be surrounded by sky and, until recently, the effusion of jacarandas in bloom. I too go to

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Conservation
Ellen Sharp

March 2020: Monarchs Remigrate, Leaving Questions in their Wake

The monarchs started a long, staggered departure in mid-February. On Cerro Pelon, part of the colony stuck with their second roosting site above El Llano until the end of the season. Other pioneers flitted about lower altitude locations along the ravine below the meadow. Every sunny day, monarchs streamed down from their perches, turning La

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Climate Change
Ellen Sharp

Cerro Pelon Colony on the Move

  The Season in Review We spotted the first monarchs flying over Macheros and Cerro Pelon on October 31. They formed a colony above El Llano de Tres Gobernadores on November 10 and the sanctuaries opened to the public on November 16. There were many gloriously sunny days in December, as the monarchs continued to

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Environmental Issues
Ellen Sharp

Bad News at the Butterflies: Reactions to the El Rosario Murders

Mexico’s monarch butterfly sanctuaries made international news last month. It began with the disappearance of the administrator of the El Rosario sanctuary, Homero Gómez Gonzalez, on January 13, followed by the appearance of his lifeless body two weeks later. The bad news kept coming when a second body, that of Raul Hernandez, was also found

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Conservation
Ellen Sharp

Cerro Pelon Update: Continued Arrival and Colony Relocation

https://youtu.be/F6p89eRe3xw Many of you have been asking how the monarch population is looking this season. The answer is very good — at least as good as last year, which was the most numerous people said they had seen in at least twenty years. For official numbers, you’ll have to wait until those figures are released later in

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Ecotourism
Ellen Sharp

How to Do Monarch Butterfly Ecotourism

Mexico is not a poor country, but its wealth is unevenly distributed. Half of Mexicans live in poverty, including the rural communities that lost their land after the discovery of the monarch colonies. Until recently, these communities lacked tourism infrastructure. Only outside operators benefited from butterfly tourism and locals continued logging the butterfly forest to

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