Selected Press



November 5, 2022
Visiting Mexico’s monarch butterflies? Here’s how to make the most positive impact

Ellen Sharp has worked with monarch butterfly tourism and activism for a decade, and is currently writing a book about her experience called “Fragile Messengers.” She states that there are concerns about so many visitors stressing the monarchs.

January 1, 2022
Butterfly chaser: how Mexico’s monarchs helped an expat find a new life

About a decade ago, American Ellen Sharp tagged along with a writer friend to central Mexico. Little did she know that this would change her life.

When she could not accompany her friend on an interview, she decided to take one of the tours available in eastern Michoacán during the monarch butterfly season.


May 28, 2021
Opinion: How the amazing monarch butterfly migrants became refugees — from us

On a damp January afternoon 46 years ago in rural Mexico, a wayfaring American retiree, his adventurous young Mexican wife, and a local villager, along with a skinny pack horse and a dog named Kola, trudged up a muddy mountainside in search of a waking dream. At 11,000 feet, improbably, they found it.

May 13, 2021
The Visionary Activist Show – Beauty vs Cruelty – We’re Betting on Beauty

Caroline welcomes Ellen Sharp and Joel Moreno to file scouting reports on the plight of monarch butterflies and indigenous communities near the sanctuaries. To save the Monarchs, we must save the people… 

February 9, 2021
For a Family in Mexico, a Mission to Protect Monarchs

If there’s something that the Moreno family agrees on, it’s that monarch butterflies changed their lives. And not just their own but the lives of most in Macheros, Mexico. The agricultural village of 400 people—whose name translates to “stables” in Spanish, because of the 100 horses that also make their home here—sits at the entrance to Cerro Pelón, one of four sanctuaries in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, established by the federal government in 1986.


December 24, 2020
Discovered butterfly tag in Mexico represents monarchs’ tale of survival.

Their existence threatened, monarch butterflies didn’t receive the protection hoped for under the Endangered Species List in an announcement last week. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said Dec. 15 that while a listing was warranted, there were “higher priority” species in need.

December 7, 2020
In Mexico’s vibrant forests, locals adapt to a year without tourists

WHEN SHE WAS 10 years old, Ana Moreno watched buses full of tourists pull into her village. They had come to see the monarch butterflies, which arrive in flurries each November and stay the winter in the Sierra Madre’s forested peaks. Moreno watched the monarch enthusiasts pour from buses, chattering to each other. She thought to herself, “How is it possible that I don’t speak English?”

November 16, 2020
As ESA listing decision looms, new study challenges “dogmatic narrative” that monarchs are in decline.

With a decision on whether or not the monarch butterfly will be listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act due by December 15, a new study challenges the conventional narrative that the migrating monarch butterfly population is in decline.

October 29, 2020
Sanctuary closure sparks virtual butterfly tours to support economy

Conservationists worry that people will turn to logging to support themselves. While butterfly sanctuaries in México state are gearing up to open for the arrival of the monarchs in November, two sanctuaries on the butterflies’ first major stop in Mexico — and where they form their first colony of the season — will be closed to the public this year due to fears about the coronavirus pandemic.

October 28, 2020
Outrunning Death with the Monarchs

The migration of the eastern North American monarch butterfly is an improbable feat. Every fall, an insect no more substantial than a potato chip flies up to 4,800 kilometers—roughly 3,000 miles—from southeastern Canada to central Mexico, subsisting on nectar and riding the wind. In 2019, a group of humans joined the butterflies for an improbable migration of their own.

October 27, 2020
Peterborough ultramarathon raising funds for Mexico’s famous monarch butterfly sanctuary

Peterborough ultra runners Carlotta James and Tim Haines are running 50 kilometres on Sunday (November 1) to help protect monarch butterflies in Mexico. Last week, the wife-and-husband team launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness and funds for the protection of the Cerro Pelón Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, located in Macheros, Mexico.

October 8, 2020
Why San Antonio and South Texas are critical to survival of monarch butterfly population

The monarch butterflies have a special meaning in Mexico and parts of the United States, including South Texas. The butterflies are not just beautiful to look at, as millions of monarchs begin to appear in Mexico around Day of the Dead, they are believed to hold the spirits of lost loved ones.

October 7, 2020
Monarch butterfly migration is unique and amazing phenomenon with Dia de Muertos symbolism

One of the most recognizable symbols of Dia de Muertos is a creature many people in San Antonio and South Texas are familiar with, the monarch butterfly. In Day of the Dead lore, these butterflies are said to represent the souls of lost loved ones and appear in Mexico every year around Dia de Muertos.

March 11, 2020
Off-the-Beaten Path: A Visit to Mexico’s Cerro Pelón Monarch Butterfly Reserve

Each autumn, millions of monarch butterflies make the journey thousands of kilometres south from east of the Rocky Mountains to a small area of high-altitude forest near Mexico City. This is where they roost in colonies from November until March. It’s a beautiful annual migration—butterflies return to the same trees in the same forest that earlier generations left three or four years earlier.


May 31, 2019
On human virtue and the precarious survival of the monarch butterfly.
An essay by Mary Quade.

A monarch butterfly is a small being, less than the size and the weight of a Post It note. The monarch butterfly phenomenon, however, is enormously heavy…

March 6, 2019
Butterflies abound in mountainous Mexican winter habitat

CERRO PELÓN MONARCH BUTTERFLY SANCTUARY, Mexico (AP) — As the group made its way up the rugged mountain path toward the clearing, their heavy, crunching bootsteps turned to near-silent tiptoeing, their friendly chitchat dropped to whispers, giddy smiles appeared on faces and eyes brimmed with tears. The first-time visitors to this mountain monarch butterfly reserve were, in a word, gobsmacked.



January 29, 2018
On the trail of Mexico’s butterfly migration

Mike Corey, host of the BBC’s Travel Show, visits the Cerro Pelon Monarch butterfly sanctuary and discusses some of the risks the butterflies face from the destruction of habitats in the USA and Canada and deforestation Mexico where they migrate to every year. (Clip is not available online.)


July 10, 2017
Success! Petition spurs rangers’ reinstatement at Monarch butterfly roosting forest

Three park rangers have been redeployed to patrol one of the most visited Monarch butterfly overwintering sites in Mexico after having been summarily reassigned elsewhere following the end of the 2017 ecotourism season. The return of the rangers follows the launch of a petition that gathered 2,088 signatures in three weeks.

May 10, 2017
Beyond Monarch butterflies: pollinators and politics at Texas Pollinator PowWow

The fifth Texas Pollinator PowWow assembled in the piney woods of Nacogdoches, Texas, last weekend. About 75 people made their way to Texas’ oldest city to celebrate pollinators in all their forms–syrphid flies, solitary wasps, fireflies, hummingbirds, bears, bats, bees, and yes–Monarch butterflies.

March 15, 2017
Saving the Monarch Butterfly or Saving the Village

At first the trees appear unchanged. The branches of the oyamel firs curve towards the ground, heavy with dark shapes that rustle in the wind. The forest is silent. A few seconds pass in stillness before a beam of sunlight carves its way through the canopy. As it settles upon the tree, the branches erupt. Flooding into the air, the gold and copper colors on the monarch butterflies’ wings set the forest aflame.