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.
While the monarch butterfly is our main concern, many other organisms also inhabit the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR). This year, MBF funded a project to collect, organize, review, process, and analyze acoustic, ultrasonic and wildlife camera files collected during 2016 in the MBBR by several NGOs (members of the Monarch Network-Red Monarca) to enhance the existing data base in the National System to Monitor Biodiversity (SNMB). To read more about this project click on the Grants tab, select Current Projects and go to the Scientific Research and Monitoring section.
Below some of the species photographed in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve:
Dr. Cuauhtémoc Saénz-Romero, in collaboration with Dr. Arnulfo Blanco-García and students Esmeralda Navarro-Miranda, Erika Gómez-Pineda, among others, carried out several experiments related to assisted migration of oyamels in his lab with encouraging results! After one year in the field, an evaluation revealed 96% tree survival rate. Seedlings were originally rescued from natural regeneration sites and grown for two years in a nursery. Afterwards they were planted under the shade of nurse plants on a deforested site. The figure below shows the results.
To read a more detailed description of this experiment please scroll down in the “Scientific Research and Monitoring” section on the Current Projects menu.
Monarchs are on their way to Mexico and it’s time for us to remember Lincoln, his love for monarchs and his commitment to their conservation. We are very excited to report that thanks to the support of all those whose lives were touched by Lincoln, MBF has established the “Lincoln P. Brower Award” fund with $16,500 dollars! This will allow us to offer $3,000 annual awards to undergraduate or graduate students for research on monarch butterfly conservation and their habitats for 5+ years. The requirements to apply can be found on the grants tab. If you wish to make a contribution to the fund please go to the donations page and make sure you send an email to Karen Oberhauser (email@example.com) or Monica Missrie (firstname.lastname@example.org) indicating that you would like your contribution to be designated to the “Lincoln P. Brower Award” fund.
Sweet Briar College is holding a celebration in honor of Lincoln Brower on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 3:00 p.m. The ceremony will be at their butterfly garden and will be followed by a reception at 4:00 p.m. in the library. If you wish to attend you can register at Dean’s Office’s web page. If you’re coming from out of town, you are welcome to have dinner with Linda Fink in the college dining hall. A wonderful tribute to remember our dear colleague!