Everyone give a big cheer! The first colony of several thousand monarch butterflies has arrived at their winter rest over in the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary, Mexico. What a journey on two beautiful wings! The monarchs migrate from as far away as Canada and New England to a stopover in Texas before flying over the Gulf of Mexico. Many of them fly almost 3000 miles! They will overwinter in Mexico until spring when warmer temperatures beckon them northward once again.
Discovery Center is proud to have participated with Journey North in this amazing wonder of nature by hatching, tagging and releasing 30+ monarchs this summer. Journey North engages citizen scientists in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. We hope our monarchs have found their way to the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary.
While the monarchs rest in Mexico other animals are preparing for winter as well. Look to the sky and you may see large flocks of birds migrating southward. Geese and ducks leave the lakes and ponds to seek warmer waters. Muskrats, otters and raccoons grow denser fur while turtles bury in thick mud as they begin their winter sleep. Observe squirrels busily gathering nuts and storing them in the crooks of trees. Winter birds visit feeders as the trees shed leaves and lower sap to begin a period of rest. Early in the morning frost may cover the ground. Our pets grow thicker coats of fur to protect them from winter’s colder temperatures and we pull our warm coats and scarves from the back of our closets. Winter is coming soon!
Discovery Center has also engaged our young citizen scientists in the Spark! program by planting a tulip garden. On November 10th and 11th they planted 50 emperor tulip bulbs. They will chart and report their observations of the garden over the next several months.