The Monarch Alliance News

November 2017 Newsletter

​​THE MIGRATION:  The monarchs began arriving in the Mexican sanctuaries beginning October 27, and continued to build daily.  Last year, they arrived on The Day of the Dead, November 2.  They will continue pouring into the sanctuaries throughout November.
 
Here is what I posted on the TMA FB page yesterday from Chip Taylor, Director of Monarch Watch:
 
“I receive numerous inquiries from the press. Here is a really short answer to a request from Canada received yesterday. The bottom line - not included in the response - is that late migrations, such as that which has occurred this fall, are associated with relatively low overwintering numbers. I’m given to making predictions as you know, but predicting the overwintering numbers this year is tough. While large numbers of monarchs were seen in many areas late in the summer and early fall, the number and size of roosts reported to JN has not been impressive. Further, there have been no reports of sightings of mass movements of monarchs in the midwest or Texas. Monarchs tend to be more dispersed during warm periods and it’s possible that large numbers have slipped into Mexico unnoticed. So, as to the prediction - it’s a guessing game - a pick a number game - a number between 2.5 and 4 hectares seems most likely and I’m “guessing” the number will be at the lower end of that range. 
 
"Monarchs began arriving at the overwintering sites on the 27th of Oct. This is a normal arrival for the first monarchs. At that date substantial numbers of monarchs were still being reported in Ontario and at some locations along the east coast. The migration has been largely finished for nearly all other areas of the US except TX and a few coastal locations. The number of monarchs in the migration is not known, but overall the migration appears to involve fewer monarchs than predicted based on projections of late summer production. 
 
“Late monarchs, such as those reported in Canada and along the east coast over the last few weeks have a much reduced chance of making it to Mexico. Fall flowering is now over in most areas and nectar and even water is scarce over most of the US and monarchs need both to fuel the flight to Mexico. Further, colder weather is reducing the number of days during which flight is possible and frosts will kill some of the stragglers. Loss of the latest to migrate is a frequent occurrence and is nothing to be alarmed about." 
 
ALSO: CHECK OUT THE JOURNEY NORTH PEAK MIGRATION MAP: Monarchs moving slowly along the eastern flyway, and only a few Gulf Coast sightings. You can view the map here.

So that’s about it.  At the beginning of the year, it looked like this would be a strong migration year.  But the high late summer temperatures, have changed that outlook. Warm temps mean winds from the south, not the northerlies that the monarchs need to migrate.  
 
TMA GRANT PROGRAM:  We have kicked off the TMA Grant Program, and will award grants worth up to $1000 worth of plants for Monarch Waystations.  We allocated $3000 for grants to be awarded in the spring, in time for our spring milkweed and native plant sale at Sunny Meadows Garden Center.  In addition, we want to put monarch rearing cages at appropriate locations, like nature centers, libraries, museums and similar places that emphasize education. We will run all expenditures for grants for plants, cages and other accessories, through our Grant Committee.
 
We need you to help spread the word about our grant program.  Talk to schools, libraries, nature centers, scout troops, Eagle Scouts, garden clubs and other organizations about our grants.
 
MONARCH WAYSTATIONS:  One of our most important programs is to spread monarch habitat throughout our coverage area:  Washington county;  Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties of WV;  and Frederick County.  We have three plant experts that help in this regard:  James Dillon, Ann Aldrich and Larry Stritch.  In addition to waystations, we have been helping plant monarch meadows, rich with milkweed and native plant, such as our work at Fort Frederick.  This is a new area for me as well as for TMA.
 
Some of our outreach in this regard is with Shepherd University, which is considering installing a solar array, with monarch habitat in between the grids.  We have also looked at the C&O Canal at Lock 44 and will be sending them a proposal for a monarch meadow.  The C&O Canal Trust wants to work with us as partners.  Rose Hill Cemetary wants a Monarch Waystation at their new Cremation Area.  These are just a few of our initiatives.  I believe that interest in waystations and monarch meadows, together with our grant program, will continue to grow.  
 
THE FUTURE OF TMA:  I’m off to the annual meeting of Monarch Joint Venture next week in San Antonio, Texas.  These annual meetings are amazing events with speakers giving “lightning” 5 minute talks on their programs involving monarch education and outreach, habitat enhancement, and research, followed by breakout sessions.  MJV is a great organization that tries to meld monarch organizations across the county into a program directed at improvement of the species.  My December newsletter will discuss some of their initiatives.
 
Regards to all,
 
Sandy

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