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.
First International Monarch Butterfly Festival
To celebrate the monarch’s arrival for the 2021-2022 overwintering season, the new municipal government of Zitácuaro organized the first edition of the International Monarch Butterfly Festival. This festival aims to boost tourism in the region through various cultural, artistic, and academic activities that highlight the importance of conservating the monarch’s migratory phenomenon and environmental conservation. Isabel Ramírez, MBF Board member, gave a conference and unveiled a commemorative plaque as shown below.
Monarch Fund Documentary
MBF and other organizations are funding the documentary “Monarch Fund: 20 Years of Synergy for Conservation”. So far, eight filming sessions have been conducted in the monarch territory including interviews and meetings in community and ejido assemblies. The topics included forest use and management, deforestation, forest recovery, defending the land, tourism, and its importance for forest conservation. Additionally, those involved in the creation of the fund were interviewed to learn about its history, conservation strategy, and implementation.
On October 13, the Neo-volcanic Axis Conservation Fund (FOCEN) presented updates of their “Monarch Fund: 20 Years of Synergy for Conservation” documentary during the ‘Week in Information Exchange in Conservation’. FOCEN showcased the Fund’s main milestones in ArcGIS StoryMap, an application that combines text, interactive maps, and multimedia content. Highlights include the Fund’s payment for environmental services which encourage local communities to participate in conservation activities. You can view the StoryMap at https://tinyurl.com/6xw9a7p8. MBF has partially funded this project and we are pleased to see the progress!
Beyond the Mexico Book Project
The Environmental Alliance of Georgia (EEA) this project originally estimated that Journey North’s Estela Romero would make thirty school (sixty classroom) visits to reach an estimated 1,400 students. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, in the end, she was able to make 53 visits reaching 1,137 students, nearly meeting the original goal! Most of the lessons were delivered in the communities in or surrounding the sanctuaries of Sierra Chincua and El Rosario. At the beginning of the overwintering season, on November 4, 2021, Ms. Romero gave her environmental lessons to over one hundred students in the elementary, middle, and high schools in Macheros.
Her lesson on the benefits of trees and the importance of forest conservation is demonstrated through models of degraded versus thriving forests in their ability to sustain wildlife, retain water, etc. Copies of the books Árboles: de la Semilla al Imponente Bosque (Trees: from Seed to Impressive Forest) and Escucha Hablar a los Árboles (Listen to the Trees Talk), were handed out. Estela’s blog is available at the Symbolic migration website (https://symbolicmigration.org/) where you will find detailed descriptions of her visits and more photos like the ones below:
The Red Monarca (Monarch Network – https://redmonarca.org/home_eng/) has been updated to include an English interface! The StoryMap described above is included on the website and records have been added to the Documentation Center including student theses from the main universities in Mexico, as well as scientific research articles. MBF is a proud sponsor of this website which is making the Network stronger and able to promote and disseminate protection, conservation, and development activities in the monarch region.
The website has been updated with the most current content, and new technologies were added to improve performance of the network’s Geographic Information System and searches in the Documentation Center (DC). Another exciting and useful feature is the DC’s report page with a visually attractive interphase to search by different criteria. MBF is thrilled to see the consolidation of information for monarch enthusiasts all over North America!
Monitoring with Citizen Science in the West
Last year, Terra Peninsular held a webinar and created promotional materials to encourage people to monitor and upload monarch sightings. This year they created an eBook which explains monarch biology, its migration, the importance of maintaining their habitat and of creating pollinator gardens, among other things. Reports were received on Facebook and Instagram from different parts of the country such as Chihuahua and Puerto Peñasco. During October, the sightings intensified, obtaining 27 records between the cities of Tijuana and Ensenada. There was only one sighting of a group of 10 monarch butterflies on citrus trees south of the port of Ensenada. The rest were records of solitary monarch butterflies, some accompanied by Queen butterflies. MBF is happy to support this project which is done in collaboration with the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas and has been part of the Northwest Monitoring Network since 2016.