September 14, 2009 | Sarada Krishnan, Director of Horticulture & Center for Global Initiatives

Overwintering monarchs in Mexico (photo courtesy Reefs to Rockies)

Of all nature’s wonders, one of the most fascinating phenomenons is the annual migration ritual performed by Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in North America. What is amazing is how these tiny creatures, four or five generations removed, return year after year to the same overwintering grounds in Mexico. Millions of monarch butterflies during fall make the trip from the eastern United States and Canada each year to Mexico’s southwestern flank of the Transverse Neovolcanic Mountains congregating in the oyamel fir (Abies religiosa) forest, ten thousand feet in elevation. No other butterfly performs such an arduous migration feat as the monarch with some individuals traveling up to 2,000 miles.

Monarch Butterfly on Verbena bonariensis

Monarch caterpillar feeding on milkweed

This winter Denver Botanic Gardens is partnering with Reefs to Rockies to offer an amazing travel program to witness this unique biological phenomenon to the Michoacán in Mexico. Scheduled February 6-13, 2010, this 7-night trip includes Morelia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Tlalpujahua Sierra Chincua Monarch Sanctuary, another UNESCO World Heritage Site; El Rosario Monarch Sanctuary; Patzcuaro, also a UNECSO World Heritage Site; Janitzio & Yunuen Islands; and Uruapan, the avocado capital of the world. This is an exceptional experience not to be missed. Please join me in an exploration of the flora and fauna of this amazing region. For more information about this tour and to make reservations, please visit the Reefs to Rockies website.


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