Distinguished by their large orange wings with crisp white-spotted black borders, monarchs are the most easily recognized butterfly in North America. Butterfly enthusiasts and scientists delineate two populations of monarchs, eastern and western, which are separated by the Rocky Mountains.
One of the few insects to migrate, the eastern monarchs spend their summers in fields and farms from Texas to New England and overwinter in pine forests in central Mexico. Their southern migration includes a route that has them flying through Florida and over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The western monarch’s migration is not as dramatic. These butterflies live throughout the West and overwinter in California.
Monarchs throughout North America are in trouble. The blame goes to climate change, habitat loss, pesticides, and the use of glyphosate, a weed killer that destroys milkweed, the host plant of the monarch caterpillar. The eastern population is in decline, while the situation for the western population is more dire. Their numbers have declined by as much as 99.9 percent.
There is still hope for the western monarchs. Starting in 2019, the Xerces Society began a program of enhancing and creating monarch habitat in California. So far, over 140 habitat projects have planted 72,000 native plants, including close to 30,000 milkweeds. There are plans to plant an additional 34,000 native plants this fall.
If you would like to learn how you can create habitat or otherwise help the monarch butterfly, you can check out the Xerces Society’s monarch webpage.
Living Coast’s Spring Day Camps March 23 — April 3
Spring Break is coming and the Living Coast Discovery Center has super fun, super educational Day Camps for kids (4-12) and Bio Days for teens (13-18)!
Check out the Spring Day Camp Schedule below, tips for getting your teen involved in Bio Days above that, and New for Spring camps right here. For more information, visit our Day Camps page. To register, visit our Reservations page.
New for Spring!
Tiny but Mighty — NEW for Pre-K through Kinder! Some of the tiniest creatures have the most amazing Superhero abilities! From beetles with super strength to geckos that scale walls, we will explore the mighty creatures of our new SuperWild Seasonal Exhibit through games, crafts, and of course, hands on animal encounters! See the schedule below for details, or click here to reserve.
Super Powers of the SuperWild! — NEW for 1st through 3rd Grade! This camp is all about the Superheroes of the wild world! Join our new animal ambassadors as we explore real life super powers that these wild creatures use every day. We’ll get hands on with snakes that fish with lightning fast speed, birds that radiate heat, hulk sized insects, and reptiles that stretch to the extreme- and learn WHY and HOW they do it! See the schedule below for details, or click here to sign up.
Kayaks to Keepers — Now All Day and with NEW Animals for 4th-6th Graders Think you have seen it all in Apprentice Camp? Think again! An unforgettable experience, this camp is all about new adventures! Campers will spend two days off site (Tuesday and Thursday) kayaking south San Diego Bay. We will master kayaking techniques, paddle out to discover what dwells in the bay and, of course, HAVE FUN! We will be on site at the Living Coast Monday, Wednesday, and Friday learning what it takes to work with our new visitors for our SuperWild exhibit. Each student will get hands on by helping our keepers feed, clean, and socialize our new critters as well as discovering the super powers they use every day. See the schedule below for details, or click here to RSVP.