Have you ever seen a Monarch butterfly? This is what they look like:
Monarchs are amazing creatures. We have been learning about them through a citizen science project called Journey North. We learned that every fall, butterflies born in the U.S. and Canada start on an incredible migration journey to a spot in Mexico where their ancestors were born. The trip takes several months and covers as much as 4,000 kilometers! There are the questions we have been studying over the past few weeks (thank you to Journey North for these guiding questions):
- How do the monarchs know when to go to Mexico?
- How do they know which way to fly?
- How fast, how far, and how high do they travel?
- And how do they know when they have arrived–at a small speck on the planet where none has ever been before?
We are participating in a Symbolic Migration. When the Monarchs arrive at their destination in Mexico in November, local schoolchildren are excited to see them and protect them in their winter sanctuary. We sent a batch of paper butterflies that we made to the children in Mexico to thank them for their work. In the spring we’ll receive our own package of butterflies from somewhere in North America. We’re excited to see how far our butterflies will travel! Here’s a map showing the packages which were sent so far in the Symbolic Migration—click on Arizona to see ours!
Here is a Smilebox showing us creating our package of butterflies to send to Mexico.
|Picture slideshow generated with Smilebox|
Do any of your local animals migrate when the seasons change?