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Image: A monarch butterfly sits on an orange flower.

Monarch Butterfly Migration: A Breathtaking Journey

This article was originally published May 14, 2016.

Imagine a world covered in butterflies. Trees, heavy with the weight of millions of tiny, beautiful, creatures…

This world does not have to come from your imagination because every year, monarch butterflies migrate to the forests northwest of Mexico City to spend the winter. This incredible migration spans generations and is one of the most spectacular journeys on the planet.

Image: A monarch butterfly sits on an orange flower.
Source: Unsplash

Come with us on a journey to explore the remarkable migration of the Monarch Butterfly.

Monarch butterfly migration spans thousands of miles, crossing through Southern Canada, most of the United States, and on to overwintering areas in Mexico.

Image: Monarch Butterfly Migration Map

How do these creatures find their way home?

The butterflies that return to Mexico are generations removed from the butterflies that left. Luckily, they have a remarkable internal compass that helps them navigate the vast distances they must cross. Check out this fantastic video explaining that process from the BBC.

Via: BBC 1

Monarch migration has not gone without developing an important cultural significance to those that live in their wintering grounds. In this region of Mexico, the migration has become an important part of local tradition.

Luckily, this means locals have kept a close eye on populations and seen early on the need to preserve shrinking forests.

Now, important conservation efforts are being put into place to help save one of the planet’s most miraculous migrations. Here’s more about that from PBS NewsHour:

Via: PBS NewsHour 2

What can you do to help?

A great way to get involved with research is to join Learner.org and report your Monarch Butterfly sightings on their website or with their app!

Or, you can help create habitats for butterflies along their journey by creating your own butterfly rest stop! Here’s the always incredible National Geographic to show you how.

Via: National Geographic 3

Tracking and understanding the way migrations have been changing in recent history is an important part of keeping our finger on the pulse of the planet’s ecological health. Increasing your backyard’s biodiversity doesn’t just help butterflies, it helps other species and pollinators that may be struggling right now, too. If you want some tips on keeping your backyard biodiverse check out this article, next:

Weeds are a Good Thing! Why the Biodiversity in Your Backyard Matters

It’s difficult to fully comprehend the stunning complexity and diversity of life on our planet, and even more difficult to understand how deeply that complexity and diversity matters. Ready for a deep dive into why biodiversity matters? Read on to see how you can help the planet by starting in your own backyard!

Read Article Watch Video Listen to Podcast

Migrations are a key part of ecosystem. But as they change, they signal widespread and sometimes unnoticed problems that we have to address.

The future of conservation will lie in noticing these minute changes and searching for their roots. As we continue to look at the ecology of the planet in a more interconnected way, we will be able to make interventions before it is too late!

If you want to explore a few more stories that will get you excited about the future of conservation efforts here are some success stories we can’t stop talking about!

Conservation Success! How Out of the Box Thinking Saved an Adorable Fox

Now here’s something to celebrate! A novel model for bringing back a thriving population of an endangered species on our planet! The secret? Take a look at how a new way of thinking saved an adorable species of fox!

Read Article Watch Video Listen to Podcast
Hungry Goats: The Unlikely Heroes Preventing Wildfires!

Goats combating wildfires? In Australia, communities are teaming up with these hungry helpers to restore their forests. And we’re finding inspiration to solve problems in our own lives along the way!

Read Article Watch Video Listen to Podcast
How Sea Bunnies and Otters Teamed Up to Save a Seashore

Is an ecosystem like a community? One beloved natural space was almost lost forever when it lost two of it’s most important members, but here’s how embracing their unique skills saved their home! 

Read Article Watch Video Listen to Podcast

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

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  1. “Monarch Butterfly – Wonders of Life – Episode 5 Preview – BBC Two.”YouTube. BBC, 18 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-nnc6dWUJg>.
  2. “Why Fewer Monarch Butterflies Are Surviving Their Winter Migration to Mexico.” YouTube. PBS News Hour, 24 Dec. 2013. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUqwAAoBcPA>.
  3. “How to Create Your Own Monarch Butterfly Rest Stop.” YouTube. National Geographic, 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JpLR2hpfSk>.
Image: Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber


Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at the Goodness Exchange. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV

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