J500 Media and the Environment

Invite a Monarch to Lunch by jenh
April 8, 2008, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Local Events + Action, Nature + Travel | Tags: , , ,

Think of the delicate way this word dances on your English-speaking tongue: mariposa, mar-ee-po-sa. Even the sound of it brings to mind something fanciful, perhaps delicate. Now that I have your aural attention, I give you one mariposa, one butterfly, in particular: the monarch. This magical mariposa, which depends on a Mexican sanctuary each winter, faces steep odds for survival because of illegal logging.

Wait – don’t go. This isn’t one of those whiney enviro stories. Instead, I want you to think about your tiny apartment balcony, the yard at your residence hall complex, maybe your flowerbed. Consider inviting a monarch there for lunch and more.

Here’s the deal: KU is home to Orley “Chip” Taylor, professor of entomology and founder of Monarch Watch. Monarch Watch keeps tabs on migrating monarchs and is a bounty of research, conservation and education. There are tagging events every year, wherin Monarch Watch schoolchildren and others put tiny stickers on the critters so researchers can track how far or where they go.

This amazing insect migrates to the place of its ancestor, a place it has never been before. Then it reproduces, and several generations later returns to the same place.

Last week, Chip sounded the alarm about the pending collapse of monarch migration and population. declining Logging in Mexico threatens the butterflies’ winter home, while human expansion — paving, developing, building, etc. — gobbles up the resources of the insects’ summer home, North America. Since 2000, Monarch Watch has counted the three lowest populations at the Mexican sanctuary.

So, now that you’re all depressed, here’s whatcha can do: Create a monarch waystation with milkweed, making a Pony Express reproduction stopping point for their long journey that will assure that at least here, we keep some habitat preserved.

There’s a lot to be learned from these butterflies, Chip said. “If we don’t, we’re pretty lousy stewards of this planet and it bodes poorly for our future.”
–Jen Humphrey

Monarchs in Mexico:


2 Comments so far
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I wonder if you would be kind enough to consider becoming one of our ‘1001 bloggers’ at http://mencap.wordpress.com

My apologies if I’ve asked you this before. Through the site we are hoping to link 1001 people who blog regularly and I picked up your blog through the ‘blogger’ tag on the wordpress homepage.

Please take a look and consider joining. Let me know what you think.

Do email me at david [at] theheads.co.uk if you would like to know more. If you can link to the site or forward this message to others I’d be very grateful.

Kind regards

david [at] theheads.co.uk

Comment by davidhead

The butterflies are the bellwethers. Thank you so much for this post. Monarch Watch is one of the coolest KU treasures and I had no idea I could help out beyond tagging.

Comment by j500

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