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Educator Spotlight: Supporting Monarch Butterflies

Shernina Nichols led her second-graders through an exploration of monarch butterflies, including their life cycle and migration routes. Learning about the challenges monarchs face to survive inspired students to plant milkweed on their school campus and advocate for community members to support the butterflies. Continue reading Educator Spotlight: Supporting Monarch Butterflies

Scientists Crack Mystery of Monarch Navigation

SCIENCE The uncanny mechanisms that monarch butterflies use to navigate thousands of kilometers has long baffled scientists. A new study suggests how they determine which way to go. (Christian Science Monitor) Read our profile of the “lepidopterist neurobiologist” who helped author the new study. Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit. Discussion Ideas According to the fascinating new … Continue reading Scientists Crack Mystery of Monarch Navigation

The Case Of The Disappearing Butterflies

Curious about today’s Google Doodle? Read all about it right here! By Alyson Foster Content & Collections Specialist, National Geographic Library   For years, it was a longstanding mystery. After dancing and skimming in summer meadows from Canada to Texas and Florida, where did the monarch butterflies go with the approach of autumn? That they streamed south was certain. That they sometimes congregated in immense numbers … Continue reading The Case Of The Disappearing Butterflies

Monarch Migration in ‘Grave Danger’

ENVIRONMENT Migrating monarch butterflies are in “grave danger,” according to a report that shows their colonies in Mexico now occupy the smallest area since records began in 1993. (National Geographic News) Learn more about monarchs, migration, milkweed, and metamorphosis. Discussion Ideas Read the short section “Migration Mystery” in our article “Monarch Migration Mystery.” According to experts, more than half a billion monarchs spend their winter … Continue reading Monarch Migration in ‘Grave Danger’

Day of the Dead hails Great Migrations

delosMuertos26.jpgToday, Mexicans and others in parts of Latin America and North America celebrate el Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a holiday honoring deceased friends and ancestors.

The annual celebratation has origins in the Catholic religion, and has connections with All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2).

I’ve always thought Day of the Dead was an interesting holiday, a less somber homage to passed-on loved ones than some other holidays such as Memorial Day. On the Day of the Dead, families participate in parades and feasts, create altars with offerings of flowers and candy for the departed, and visit their graves.

I’ve recently developed an even greater fascination with the Day of the Dead. Yesterday, I learned that the holiday is also an occasion for celebrating the return of monarch butterflies to Mexico from their summer breeding grounds in the North. Did you know that monarch butterflies migrate more than 3000 miles–to Canada and back–over the course of four successive generations?

Continue reading “Day of the Dead hails Great Migrations”