Have you heard? Scientists have announced the discovery of a new planet that may have life on it. It is a mere 20 light years away and is being called the “Goldilocks Planet” as it is assumed it is not too hot and not too cold, but just right. “Goldilocks” may have liquid water (their term) which means the planet may be able to sustain life.
I have had a post on monarch butterflies sitting in abeyance for some time now. It is a place in my blog site where I can put drafts of pictures and stories and ideas that I may want to write about. What I call my cyberfile. There, I have had a working title, Monarch, and a few websites stored for future reference. On my desktop are pictures, stored in other files; pictures I have taken and images from other sites that I may want to borrow.
I started my draft file on monarchs after a few posts and conversations with Marilyn, a blogging pal from New Zealand. Marilyn posted a picture she had taken with a Monarch butterfly on a flower. It was beautiful, as Marilyn’s photos are, and I was curious about monarchs down under, specifically, did they migrate to and from New Zealand. Their climate is milder than ours up here and the monarchs there do not migrate, but, cluster in areas there. You can find more about them by clicking onto Marilyn’s blog here and on the links listed below.
I was thinking about this as I was hearing about Goldilocks and her little planet. I tend to live in my own little world; my life here on the cutoff, my town, my activities, family and friends. I’m a little planet with all my satellites swirling around me, I have what I need to survive. Food, water, air, love and I don’t have to go very far to find all of this. Not even a lightyear away.
Discovering new planets is far from my purview. I am content to sit here and research on my computer and gather with family and friends and see monarchs in summer and wonder about them without having to go very far. The monarchs, however, travel thousands of miles to protect their species.
I know two ladies, our own monarch ladies in our garden club, who have travelled far in search of the monarchs. Pat was the first, then Jane went along on a second trip. They have trekked thousands of miles to the place where the monarch migrates to each year. I admire them their courage and stamina to make this trip and I am in awe of the monarchs, who make this trip every year, from as far north as Canada, across the United States, to a small area in Mexico where they overwinter, gathered in the thousands, massing on tree branches, their wings at rest as they bask in the sunshine.
Our monarch ladies travel to schools and libraries and garden clubs to tell of the life cycle and migration of monarchs. They also give warning of the danger monarchs are in. Development has eradicated a large part of our prairies where the milkweed plant grows. Monarchs lay their eggs only on milkweed. (There is a milkweed variety in NZ that the New Zealand monarchs lay their eggs on as well). Jane and Pat provide information on planting not only milkweed, but nectar bearing plants as well, so that this lovely winged insect can have nourishment and places to rest along the way.
Schoolchildren and adults are encouraged to not only plant for the monarchs, but, to tag them as well. In tagging monarchs in the fall, citizen scientists can help determine how many monarchs are actually reaching Mexico. The tags go gently on a monarch’s wing. Mexicans then gingerly collect the tags, which will tell where the monarch originated from. They are given money for each one found. This money, in turn, helps sustain them throughout the year. In very small mountain villages, the monarch migration is a greatly anticipated occasion where man and nature meet and are sustained by each other.
It is all so fascinating, here on our planet, how monarchs and ladies and scientists and you and I are connected in the most amazing of ways. You may see the lovely monarch traveling in large groups in your area right about now as they head southward on their instinctual yearly migration, fourth and fifth generations, or more, from the ancestor monarch who made it to Mexico previously. You might see a lone one, flitting about, looking for nourishment or a place to lay her eggs. Won’t you take a few minutes, or bookmark for later, a few of these sites, especially Monarch Watch for those of us in North America, to see what monarchs are all about and perhaps think of planting some host plants? Won’t you stop by for a look no matter where you live to learn more about these most beautiful of butterflies?