Life Among the Butterflies

Get ready to go behind the scenes at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory!

How to Tag a Migratory Monarch

How to Tag a Migratory Monarch

Today the story of the Monarch's epic fall migration to Mexico is commonly told and taught in classrooms across North America. One can almost take it for granted that this is common knowledge today, but it actually wasn't that long ago that no one knew where the Monarchs disappeared to for the winter.

Most of our native insects overwinter in a part of their life cycle that is convenient for them to go into diapause (kind of like hibernation): usually the egg or chrysalis (cocoon) stage, sometimes the larval (caterpillar stage), even occasionally the adult insect. But the Monarch does not overwinter in any stage. Up until only 40 years ago, no one knew where the Monarch went.

Thanks to the inquisitive mind and tireless efforts of Dr. Urqhart and his wife, they discovered the Monarch's secret by placing tags on the wings of the butterflies. It started out as a small piece of paper with a simple code. People were asked to watch for these tagged monarchs and report where and when they saw them. Over years of doing this research, eventually a tagged monarch was found in the Sierra Madre mountain range 10,000 feet above sea level in the oyamel fir forests of Mexico.

Today people still tag monarchs, and it's not just done by professional scientists. Anyone can participate by purchasing tags and filling out the data sheet from the research group " MonarchWatch and tagging butterflies in their own yards. This citizen science research is still one of the main ways we're learning about Monarch migration pathways and factors affecting their population levels. It's a fun, educational, meaningful way to learn more about the wondrous animal that is the Monarch as well as contributing to valuable scientific research.

Join us for Monarch Tagging Weekend September 10th and 11th!

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Morning Yoga in the Conservatory

Morning Yoga in the Conservatory
Le Lam

Few of our guests have had the chance to experience the Conservatory in the early hours of the morning. The sense of stillness in the air is peaceful, the birds and butterflies just beginning to awaken, the quails wandering sleepily across the paths. Add in a calming meditation and vinyasa yoga practice, and your day is off to a great start.

Practicing yoga in the morning is great for physical, mental, and emotional health. "Morning practice can heighten our productivity and alertness throughout the rest of the day. Yoga postures gently massage the internal organs and boosts the body’s metabolism. After being awakened, the digestive system is far more efficient at releasing toxins and properly metabolizing the vitamins and minerals from our foods," says Le Lam, Certified Yoga Instructor. "Just as importantly, a morning practice is a great way to know you've done something for yourself before you start taking care of others."

We're lucky to have such a beautiful atmosphere to practice in, and Le's class is a welcome change from a typical studio practice. "One of the tips to create a life you love is to 'make a nature date,'" says Le. "Nature inspires awareness, tolerance, acceptance... and nothing is better than a breath of fresh air. As a very close replica of nature, the Conservatory is a great place to practice yoga."

When asked how the Conservatory's tropical temperatures affect the session, Le says, "at 25-28°C, the warm temperatures are a nice help to speed up the warm-up segment and enhance the whole practice."

Join us every Wednesday morning through to August 31st. Click here to register.

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