We support environmental education programs that lead to a greater understanding, appreciation, and support of the challenge of monarch conservation. Our programs focus on engaging communities in conservation by providing training as eco-tour guides and in reforestation activities. Eco-tourism workshops combine indoor presentations and hands-on activities with outdoor field work to raise awareness about the importance of conserving the monarch overwintering sites. Participants learn basic monarch biology, including information on the part of the monarch life cycle that occurs in the United States and Canada, as well as skills that will help them become tour-guides and engage in monitoring activities.
Education and Outreach 2019
Mural in Sierra Chincua
As part of the opening ceremonies of the 2019-2020 tourist season, a mural was inaugurated at Sierra Chincua showing its biological and cultural diversity. This project, the result of MBF’s collaboration with Ejido Cerro Prieto and other local partners (the MBBR, the Monarch Fund, and UNAM’s Center for Research in Environmental Geography [CIGA]), depicts diverse species of plants, fungi, birds, mammals and other insects that are part of the monarch butterfly’s habitat. It also shows the daily activities of people in the local community as well as some threats to butterflies. The mural is surrounded by a series of iron and cement sculptures symbolizing the migratory cycle of butterflies. The mural was painted by Maestro Enrique Téllez Hernández, originally from Angangueo, Michoacán. This space transforms what was a garbage incinerator into a cultural and tourist structure that makes the community proud and represents an interest in forest activities that are the least harmful to nature.
Citizen Science with Correo Real
Correo Real’s program “My Municipality with the Monarch (Mayor´s Monarch Pledge) continued. With funding from MBF they set up ten pollinator gardens in local schools and held five training workshops for personnel from the municipalities participating in the Pledge. Ten metal plaques marked the dedication of each pollinator garden as a site to feed and shelter butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. Additionally, Correo Real participated in three events to promote the initiative with different stakeholders and interested citizens and printed 1,000 copies of the fact sheets describing the Pledge. Other outreach activities included the publication of 22 newsletters in Spanish throughout the year, out of which seven were translated into English, and 42 Facebook postings that reached 128,306 people. Last but not least, Correo Real held a workshop from November 28-29, 2018, at Alternare’s Training Center. Key topics addressed were environmental education, citizen science, pollinator gardens, and forestry culture and outreach.
Ambiente Cielo Rojo has finished the video titled “Biodiversity: Beyond the Monarch”, which explores the value of other species in the Reserve that are also important to maintain the overwintering ecosystem of the monarchs. The film includes the biodiversity monitoring that MBF funded last year and contains images from the wildlife cameras collected by several NGOs, including members of the Monarch Network (Red Monarca). The official launch of the film will be in February. 2020. a part of Red Monarca’s outreach efforts.
6th Monarch Symposium in Toluca
MBF board members, Karen Oberhauser, Isabel Ramirez, and Alfonso Alonso, gave oral presentations at the 6th International Symposium on Research and Conservation of the Monarch Butterfly. This symposium was held in Toluca, Mexico, from March 7 to 9, 2019, and organized by the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP), the governments of the states of Michoacán and Mexico, and by the Alianza Telcel WWF-Mexico. Thirty speakers presented recent findings on monarch research and conservation, with an audience of about 300 people. Participants included representatives of the federal, state, and municipal governments of the states of Michoacán and Mexico, members of the Ejidos (land owners), as well as researchers from several academic institutions and non-governmental organizations from Mexico and the U.S.
Razonatura continues making progress with the Red Monarca’s Documentation Center. Currently they are incorporating information from the Community Water Monitoring Network of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and the Phenological Network in the monarch region into the Red Monarca’s website. Including these two key networks on the website as part of the Monarch Network will strengthen the Network, and increase the visibility of all the organizations, allowing for further cooperation and outreach with all the stakeholders working in the monarch area.