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The Mysterious and Marvelous Monarch

Imagine for a moment, a colourful, four-winged insect, weighing a mere .5 grams (less than a penny), with a brain the size of a pinhead, on an epic journey in late September from the splendour of Canada to the lush transvolcanic mountain range of Mexico.

It covers a distance of 3,500 km, averaging 75 kilometres of daily travel and takes two months to complete the voyage. What’s even more incredible is that the insect has never been to Mexico. Yet, somehow – in one of life’s mysteries – it is able to successfully complete the journey, joining millions of others. This insect is none other than, the most easily recognized butterfly in Canada, the beloved and marvelous Monarch.

Our Monarchs are in trouble. The overwintering numbers in Mexico are at an all time low. Habitat loss, pesticide and herbicide use in Canada and USA and illegal logging in Mexico have all contributed to the monarchs’ plight. In addition, severe weather changes (droughts, cold winters, early frosts) throughout North America have also had an impact. 

Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores, a non-profit community based initiative was formed in 2014 to assist Monarchs. With the help of community volunteers we planted thousands of milkweed and native plants throughout our community to attract and aid Monarch Butterflies. We designed and created 15 registered Monarch Way Stations throughout Saugeen Shores at; MacGregor Point ParkSaugeen Rail Trail, Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre, Perkins Park and Captain Spence Path. These Pods provide food source for caterpillars, adult butterflies and other pollinators. Our purpose is to:

1) provide a food source for Monarchs and other pollinators

2) enhance the visitors experience in Saugeen Shores

3) educate people on the plight of Monarch butterflies and native gardening

Together, we can make a difference!