Tri-City Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Newark, Sunol and Union City, California

 

November 23, 2010 > Monarchs return to Ardenwood

Monarchs return to Ardenwood

By Alissa Gwynn

Every year at the end of their breeding season, monarch butterflies west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to one of the approximately 100 known California coastal monarch butterfly sites. One such site is Ardenwood Historical Farm where about 1,600 monarchs congregate in the farm's eucalyptus grove during winter months. In order to teach the public about the intriguing life cycle of these creatures, Ardenwood Historical Farm is once again hosting a "Return of the Monarchs" program on Saturday, November 27, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., with additional Butterfly Walks and Kids programs offered throughout December.

So what makes these butterflies so special? Well, for one, no other insect is known to have such a precise and long migration pattern: it takes five generations of butterflies to travel hundreds to thousands of miles to return to ancestral overwintering sites like Ardenwood. Monarchs, while only weighing 1/50 of an ounce, can travel up to 20 miles per hour and reach heights of up to 10,000 feet.

Nobody knows how these butterflies - who have never been to these overwintering sites before - instinctively know where to fly. That mystery, along with the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, is one of the topics addressed in Ardenwood's "Return of the Monarchs" slideshow and half-mile walk.

During the naturalist-led walk, visitors will be able to observe the monarchs as they huddle together in clusters for insulation. The groups of butterflies, forming "shingles" with their bodies, are able to stay firmly planted on branches because of their "barbed" feet. Although there is some movement among the group, most butterflies hunker down for the winter months and only resume activity as the days grow longer in February.

"Return of the Monarchs" is open to the public for free, and no pre-registration is needed. Attendees should meet at the Granary. A "Monarchs for Kids" program, featuring a skit in addition to a short walk to visit the butterflies, will be offered on Sunday, December 12; Saturday, December 18; and Sunday, December 26 from 11 a.m. to noon for kids ages 2-8.

Return of the Monarchs
Saturday, November 27
1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Boulevard
Meet at the Granary
(510) 544-2797

Monarchs for Kids
Sunday, December 12, Saturday, December 18, Sunday, December 26
11 a.m. to noon
Ages 2-8.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Boulevard
Meet at the Granary
(510) 544-2797

Monarch Butterfly Walks
Sunday, November 28; Saturday, December 11; Saturday, December 18
1:30 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Boulevard
Meet at the Granary
(510) 544-2797

Home        Protective Services Classifieds   Community Resources   Archived Issues  
About Us   Advertising   Comments   Subscribe   TCV Store   Contact

Tri Cities Voice What's Happening - click to return to home page

Copyright © 2014 Tri-City Voice