"Moments With Monarch Butterflies"
a lone monarch
Copyright By Sheila M. Boone
We arrive as the first rays of morning sunlight begin to filter
Through the trees in streaming golden shafts of dancing atmospheric particles. The scent
of refreshing salt air, mingling with the scent of the pine and eucalyptus trees, cleanses and
awakens our senses.
We set up the cameras to capture the magnificent monarch butterfly
in one of the few remaining regular major over-wintering habitats on the Central
of Coast California, the largest American Western Monarch butterfly habitat in
Western Monarch cluster Pismo Beach, Ca Chris Fredrickson, Photographer
Thousands of Monarch butterflies hang on the limbs, swaying in huge
orange clusters. The butterflies are stacked like shingles, clinging to
each other for warmth. They completely cover most of the limbs in a spectacular and glorious display of a divine creator.
They start to fly as the temperature rises.
Why, like many others, had I not known or heard of the magnificent
Western Monarch butterflies and their amazing annual migration to their winter
homes on California's coast? I found this puzzling. It had taken the suggestion of a friend and a cataclysmic family crisis to prompt a visit to a habitat.
There would be many more visits to follow.
Siamak Sehat, Photographer
Standing in silent awe where soul meets spirit, I pondered and
reflected on the conditions of my life while being comforted in their orange canopied
Resting in the shade of a blue gum eucalyptus tree, I began to
wonder what I could do to give everyone an opportunity to know about the Western
Monarch butterflies' existence.
My eyes followed the upward fluttering of the monarchs. These
magnificent creatures are so often spoken of as symbolic of the resurrection
because of their transformation made visible by the amazing metamorphic changes
of two distinctly separate but yet one life, as the caterpillar becomes a breathtakingly
Sheila Boone, Photographer
My awareness of being a part of an immense creation of a universe
freely given to us, flooded me with gratitude and emotion. In a moment I felt as if I
had been freed from the bondage of the priorities of a materialistic lifestyle.
I began a second life, among the Monarchs.
Swaying in the wind of the sea coast, the limbs of the tall
eucalyptus trees sometimes crack from the weight of thousands of Monarchs. I am
listening deeply now to the sounds of the whirring and rustling Eucalyptus leaves.
It had taken five generations of Monarchs in succession, flying north (as the milkweed plants came into bloom) to finally arrive as far north as
Canada for the summer.
Siamak Sehat, photographer
Longer living monarchs would fly the entire perilous journey of
thousands of miles back to the habitat, returning to the home of their
ancestors to winter from October through March.
This annual migration is often rightly referred to as "the Miracle
Drawing an inner peace from the essence of the Monarch's
spectacular beauty replenished me with a surge of energy and a desire to bring an
awareness of the existence of these little known creatures to the general public.
Caring about the western Monarch's freedom to exist was to become
A challenging adventure. Creating an awareness of their endangered migration is
an integral part of the battle to save them. Will the declining migration be here long
enough for scientists to discover and study the secret laws of Nature embodied in the
Western Monarch butterflies?
We observe the masterful design of the blossoms of trees and
flowers hidden in their seeds and of the monarch transformed in its
egg-caterpillar-chrysalis-butterfly sequence. How perfectly designed are the sequences of
nature! The butterfly needs the nectar of the flowers and the flowers need the butterfly for pollination.
Each has been abundantly provided for in the balance and harmony of nature that sustains our own lives.
The continued lack of public awareness of the migratory western monarch butterfly and the progressive loss and destruction of the Western Monarch habitats (and therefore, their freedom to exist) is un-thinkable.
Our birthright to be " Free As A Butterfly" is the birthright of every living thing.
In the late 80's and early 90's, the Western Monarchs numbered
approximately two million. Their population has now dwindled to less than one
million butterflies. Multiple causes are contributing to the loss of milkweed plants and
their over- wintering habitats, threatening the millions-of-years-old Monarch
butterfly migration; an endangered phenomenon that can never be re-created in a
Thousands of students and groups are involved in solving environmental problems.
These new heroes plant trees, clean-up beaches, and plant butterfly gardens featuring milkweed plants, a host plant needed for the survival of the Monarch butterflies.
The monarch butterfly is a glamorous orange and black ambassador
Helping students and many others to understand the need for the
stewardship of nature. Do we not all wish to maintain a healthy life-sustaining
Are we not all environmentalists?!
Even in our present state of un-belief, millions of acres of
rainforest species have disappeared, forever denying us the opportunity to study
this bountiful storehouse of nature, that has proven to be so beneficial to
Will the monarch's annual migration also be allowed to completely
I have often been asked why we should support Monarch awareness
and why we should care about saving and restoring their habitats.
The loss of habitats means the loss of Migratory Monarchs and a lost
opportunity to research these amazing insects.
For these reasons I submitted a resolution to the California
Legislative Director for a California Western Monarch Day. Through former
California Senator and current Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson, the
California Western Monarch Day Bill passed unanimously, April 4, 2004. The day is
designated as February 5th of each year.
It is dedicated to the efforts and
contribution of thousands of students and educators in California and across the United States, and to other groups and organizations that study the Monarch, plant milkweed
plants, and are concerned about the survival of the Western monarch butterfly
Sheila Boone California Western Monarch Day students photo by Siamak Sehat
We do not question the need to save endangered species like the
California Condor or to visit our Redwood Forest. Since my first visit to a habitat I have never been satisfied with the indifferent reply, "It's just a bug." The
clock is ticking on the opportunity to restore, manage and protect the Eastern
Monarch's Mexico habitats and the lesser-known Western Monarch's habitats.
I know we will always need the healing gifts of nature found in a
wild monarch butterfly habitat. America's Western Monarch Butterfly major
over-wintering habitats on California's coast are a national treasure. I invite you
to visit a habitat and experience your own "moments with the monarch butterflies".
Sheila M. Boone
Naturalist & 5th Great granddaughter & direct descendant of Daniel Boone
Western Monarch Butterfly Activist
Awarded the National Daughters of the American Revolution
2005 National Conservation Medal & Environmental Award
* The Western Monarch Butterfly migration was declared an endangered migratory phenomenon in 1983
This writing is dedicated to Dr. Miram Rothschild, Former California Secretary of State,
Bruce McPherson, his son Bradley and Dr. Lincoln Brower
Contact for publication inquires firstname.lastname@example.org
To visit The Daniel Boone Butterfly Palace Archived Website Click Here
Last Updated : 4/28/2013