On August 24 and 25, the Insectarium team invites the entire family to an exceptionnal event. Get out the drums and the trumpets, coz it’s party time! The monarch party, naturally…
This year, at the Botanical Garden, we’re marking the second edition of Monarch Fiesta, a colorful festival that celebrates not just the butterfly but also all those human beings eager to protect it.
For this second instalment, a new monarch-flavored lineup is in store: kite making, expert advice, shows, piñata – it’s a fiesta, after all! The two well-filled days will wind up with the Young Monarch Parade, a procession of child-butterflies darting about the gardens…just the way monarchs do on their great American journey.
Twenty thousand years and short of time
In the fall, tens of thousands of monarchs leave Québec for their wintering sites in Mexico. A 4,000-kilometer voyage and a feat that deserves a whole lot of festivities! In addition, the Fiesta marks the start of the monarch’s migration period.
The monarch’s migratory behavior is astonishing. This butterfly originated in the southern U.S. and Mexico, and adapted to the northern expansion of milkweed, its host plant, after the last glacial era came to an end 20,000 years ago.
Endangered today, the population in eastern North America has seen its numbers dangerously reduced. Time is short. Fortunately, citizens are mobilizing to ensure a future for monarchs – and there’s plenty to do!
When humans get down to it
First and foremost, the Fiesta is an opportunity to call attention to the actions of citizens who work at monarch conservation, to encourage all those people who create butterfly gardens or who contribute to citizen-science projects.
The “Follow the Monarchs!” contest was set up precisely to honor those efforts. When you take concrete steps and when you register, you have a chance of winning a trip to a monarch sanctuary in Mexico – nothing less! And guess what? The big winners will be announced on Sunday, August 25, at the closing of the Fiesta.
A moving movement
In the end, the huge citizen movement aimed at protecting the monarch is both important and moving. Important, because the conservation of nature inevitably involves the participation of each and every one of us. Moving, because it’s so good to see humans taking care of creatures smaller than themselves.
So here’s to you, dear monarchs, and come back to us in even greater numbers next spring. And as we say in the four corners of North America: Cheers! ¡Salud! Santé!
- For more information
- For more practical details on creating a monarch oasis, refer to the Space for Life website http://espacepourlavie.ca/en/monarch-oasis.
- And provide a little extra help for scientists seeking a better understanding of the monarch’s breeding habitat by participating in the citizen-science project Mission Monarch: http://www.mission-monarch.org/.