It's monarch migration season!  Have you spotted any traveling through your area?

To help celebrate the phenomenon of this annual occurrence is the release of 
my second children's book, A BUTTERFLY CALLED HOPE.  Kids and adults alike will enjoy this photographic journey with a little girl named Hope who discovers a caterpillar in her garden and witnesses the miracle of metamorphosis!

To mark this special occasion, I've asked my friend and monarch mentor, Linda Love, to write today's blog entry.  We worked together on this book, along with my friend and photographer Barbara Bergwerf.  Linda is better known as "Nana Butterfly," and her words are informative and encouraging.  Read on to see how all of us can help sustain the monarch migration phenomenon.  And I hope you'll add A BUTTERFLY CALLED HOPE to your child's book collection.  

Written by:  Linda Love

When Mary Alice Monroe, Barbara
Bergwerf and myself started putting together the book A BUTTERFLY CALLED HOPE, all we had to do is get in the car and go to several different local butterfly gardens.  The monarchs were there and all we had to do is put Hope, my granddaughter and main character in the children’s book, in the center of the garden and Barbara just started shooting away. 

But today that situation has changed.  Everywhere I go to give my butterfly presentations I get the same question, “Where are all the monarchs?”  All over the United States nature lovers are trying to find the Monarch butterflies, eggs and caterpillars. 

In October citizen scientists to the north are waiting every day for the Monarch Migration to start their trip to Mexico.  Migration is inherently risky. Monarchs must find habitat to meet their needs every day of the journey. Like links in a chain, the loss of one habitat component could break the monarch's annual cycle.  There has been a downward trend over the past decade but the numbers traveling south now are drastically reduced.

There are many reasons for the population decline.  First and foremost are the weather extremes we have had over the past year.  Drought and excessive heat resulted in low reproduction. Next came the excessively cold spring we had in early 2013.  The generation that over wintered in Mexico was slow to start the migration and had a hard time finding milkweed in their travel North through Texas and Kansas.

Many blame the use of herbicides for wiping out their natural habitat, namely milkweed.  As you can see, many things can be to blame but the best thing we can do is start the ball rolling in our own backyards.

We can’t change a lot of these factors, but first and foremost, we need to plant milkweed and lots of nectar plants that will attract butterflies to your backyard.  We should never use pesticides if we want butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to come.    One very positive thing to do is get our new book, A BUTTERFLY CALLED HOPE, and follow the lead of little Hope and how she learned to cultivate a caterpillar and then release it to the Heavens. 

The number one thing we can do to preserve butterflies and other animals is to teach the next generation how to protect our environment.  If you start with children we can be sure that they will inherit and preserve our wonderful earth and inhabitants.

Click here to learn more about or purchase your copy of A BUTTERFLY CALLED HOPE
Click here to follow Linda Love "Nana Butterfly" on Facebook.  

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All the best,
Mary Alice