One of the wonderful things eucalyptus trees do is provide wildlife habitat. In particular, they are crucial to supporting the Western Migration of the the Monarch butterflies, by providing a roost for the butterflies to spend the winter. A study by Dennis Frey and Andrew Schaffner of 300 over-wintering sites showed that three-quarters of them were in eucalyptus trees.
From November to February, monarch butterflies gather in thousands in tall trees by the coast. The season has started, and the butterflies are back.
CHILDREN DRAW MONARCHS
In celebration, we’re proud to publish these pictures from Girl Scout Troop #61902, sent to us by Alma Sorenson, Troop Leader:
From Ms. Sorenson:
“We are a troop of twelve 4th and 5th grade Juniors from five different San Francisco schools focused on learning and earning Girl Scout badges, and on serving our community.
“We have our donated time and our cookie money to My New Red Shoes, the SFSPCA, and Project Open Hand. This year we will continue our theme of helping kids in need and on the environment.
THE WESTERN MIGRATION OF THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES
Unlike the Monarchs east of the Rockies (which migrate from Canada to Mexico and back), the butterflies in the West migrate between the interior and the coast. The butterflies east of the Rocky Mountains go south to Mexico in winter. The butterflies on the Western side come to the California coast in search of warmer, milder weather than the inland winters.
Most winters, you can see the butterflies at Natural Bridges State Park, about an hour and a half south of San Francisco. Some years they’re even found right in San Francisco, in places like the Presidio and Treasure Island.