Local communities have been busy this summer planting trees! So far, we have planted 22,000 trees on 20 hectares with the participation of more than 650 children, women and men from the local communities. Summer vacations did not deter the kids who were very excited and unanimously confirmed that they didn’t mind spending their vacations planting trees. Especially since most of the seedlings came from the school tree nurseries that they created.
Children are enjoying their summer vacation, but that didn‘t stop them from participating in our reforestation. This year rains were delayed and so did our reforestation that began in July when the soil was ready to plant trees. With 280 people from the local communities so far, we have planted 5,400 trees on 5 hectares. Approximately 200 children joined the adults and participated in the reforestation!
|Kids from Nicolas Romero Indigenous Community planting trees|
MBF Board members Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Dr. Alfonso Alonso, and Dr. Ernest Williams, were among the authors that wrote a wonderful tribute to Dr. Brower titled “Lincoln Brower, Champion for Monarchs” recently published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. The article describes Lincoln’s trajectory and how it led him to work for the conservation of the monarch butterflies, took him to Mexico and how he established collaborations and mentored others to become not only a champion for monarchs but for nature as well!
The Los Angles Times published the article “To save the monarch butterfly, Mexican scientists are moving a forest 1,000 feet up the mountain“. The article shares the lovely story of Francisco Ramirez Cruz, a campesino from ejido La Mesa and his involvement with Dr. Cuauhtémoc Saénz who is also interviewed discussing his assisted migration experiments. MBF is proud to support these experiments!
Titled “La pobreza que mata a la mariposa monarca”- “Poverty that Kills the Monarch Butterfly”, Newsweek’s article begins by briefly describing the history of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and the social and economic challenges that its creation prompted. However, it continues with an encouraging viewpoint on how local inhabitants have faced the challenges with support from civil organizations such as Alternare. Lucino Gutiérrez and Don Guadalupe Garduño, campesinos from the Francisco Serrato and the Carpinteros indigenous communities, respectively, describe how they are using agroecological techniques to develop productive projects in their communities. All of it aiming towards achieving comprehensive sustainable development as Guadalupe del Rio, Alternare’s president and Karen Vega, from her team discuss. MBF is proud to support Altenare in their projects and foster forest conservation along with the well-being of the people that share the Reserve with the monarchs!
Experts from the WWF Mexico-Telmex-Telcel partnership in collaboration with the Natural Protected Areas Commission (CONANP) and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR), have published a press release reporting a 114% increase of the surface covered by monarch butterfly colonies in the 2018-2019 overwintering period. They reported a total area of 6.05 hectares (14.95 acres) occupied by 14 butterfly colonies which compared to the 2.48 hectares (6.13 acres) reported last year is much higher. The graph above shows the population counts since 1994.
This is certainly encouraging news but it doesn’t mean our work is over. Insect populations fluctuate and monarch populations have been on a downward trend so we can’t let down our guard. MBF will continue working towards the conservation of the monarch butterfly’s migratory phenomenon and the protection of their breeding and overwintering habitats.
The journal Nature recently published an article about the assisted migration research that Dr. Cuauhtémoc Sáenz and his team have been doing for several years with support from MBF. Titled “Protecting monarch butterflies’ winter home could mean moving hundreds of trees” talks about shifting oyamel firs to higher elevations to help them weather warming temperatures due to climate change.
Recently, Alternare was named “Conservation Champion for 2018” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the OAS (Organization of American States) who recognized Alternare’s 20 years of work and their contributions to the conservation of the monarch butterfly’s migratory phenomenon. Dr. Cletus Springer, Director of the Sustainable Development Department of OAS said it best: “To the OAS this event may not have the glamour of the Golden Globe Awards or the Oscars; but I dare to say that in my mind, it is no less significant. Indeed, I would say it is even more meaningful because it speaks to a cause that is bigger than ANY of us and ALL of us. The cause of which I speak is the preservation of the invaluable, irreplaceable natural assets of our planet earth. Those who surrender to the vocation of caring for our planet, belong to a special class. They belong to a nobility; not an aristocracy. In mind, body, and spirit, these are people of outstanding virtue, full of goodness, honor, decency, sincerity and integrity.”
Additionally, Alternare won third place in the “10 Scalable and Innovative Initiatives” contest for rural sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This contest rewards successful and innovative initiatives that include healthy food, eradicating poverty, and climatic and environmental resilience that can be replicated in diverse rural lands.
As we get ready for the holidays this week, we invite you to join us in saying thanks. Thanksgiving gives us a chance to reflect and share what we are grateful for and #GivingTuesday allows us to put it in practice! Today please consider donating to the Monarch Butterfly Fund. Join millions of people all over the world on a day of gratitude supporting the causes we all hold dear.