"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 

the world. 

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

beautiful butterfly.


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.


Chris Fredrickson,photograher

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". 

"Monarchs Forever". 

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 monarchwest@gmail.com 

  To visit The Daniel Boone Butterfly Palace Archived Website Click Here

Last Updated : 4/28/2013