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Journey into the Winter Forests of the Monarchs

Monarch expert Court Whelan takes us on a virtual journey into the butterflies’ winter kingdom, the high-altitude oyamel forests of Mexico’s Central Highlands. Court, who is Nat Hab’s Director of Sustainability and Conservation as well as our resident photography pro, holds a PhD in entomology, writing his dissertation on monarchs. Join Court to explore one of the most miraculous phenomena in nature—the annual monarch migration. Every fall, millions of monarchs fly to their winter breeding grounds in Michoacan, a place they have never been before. Court reveals how the butterflies pull off their incredible migration, with advanced navigation techniques, an internal circadian clock and millions of years of evolution on their side. Court’s in-depth knowledge, gained through more than 15 years as a researcher, naturalist guide, butterfly photographer and author of a book on monarchs, brings this wonder alive, giving you an intricate understanding of this familiar yet extraordinary creature. Learn how this tiny insect, weighing less than a gram, uses only its genetic code and astounding resiliency to survive and thrive throughout the year. Discover the monarchs’ fascinating life cycle and “hibernation” period in the fir trees of Mexico— which you can witness with us in person this winter!


Originally presented February 16, 2021
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