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Monarch Butterfly Migration Project!

May 19, 2023 | , , | Marci McCord

¡Hola Familias!

The second graders have participated in the Symbolic Migration project through Journey North.

Fall Migration

In the fall, students made a class butterfly and symbolic paper monarchs that “migrated” to Mexico by mail following the monarch butterfly migration. Every student decorated a section on the class butterfly.

monarch butterfly migration project by DMP students


Our second-grade class butterfly landed at Lázaro Cárdenas Elementary School, next to the El Rosario Monarch Sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico. It was received and taken home by a student at the school. See it below.

Explore the area with a Google Street view of the town and the butterfly sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to an oyamel fir tree forest, the overwintering habitat for monarchs. In this photo taken by a visitor to the sanctuary, you can see thousands of monarchs in the trees. About 99% of all North American monarchs migrate each winter to oyamel fir forests on 12 mountaintops in central Mexico. The monarchs will take 3-4 generations to return to their northernmost breeding grounds. The western population of North American monarchs overwinter along the coast of California and Baja, Mexico.

Spring Migration

Before spring break, we received a pack of symbolic monarchs made by students across North America. Each student in second grade took one of the monarchs home. This symbolized the northern migration happening now. We have received emails from schools reporting where our second-grade monarchs landed across North America.

Population in Decline

Monarch populations across North America are in serious decline. Once, millions of monarchs overwintered along the Pacific coast of California and Baja, Mexico. By 2018, the population of western monarchs hit a record low of less than 29,000 butterflies, representing a 99.4% decline since the 1980s. One way you can help conserve the monarch population is by tracking your sightings of monarchs.

Track Monarchs as a Family

You can continue participating as citizen scientists as a family by reporting your sightings of monarchs and milkweed with Journey North or Monarch Milkweed Mapper. It’s an exciting time to participate as monarchs are just starting to appear, flying around San Diego.

Explore other maps powered by citizen scientists on Journey North, which you can also participate in. Students love viewing the maps and looking for patterns. For additional information about monarchs and how to help the western monarch population, head to the Xerces Society.

Photo by Justin DoCanto on Unsplash

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