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Monday, October 8, 2012

The Epic Journey Of Monarch Butterflies

The Monarch butterfly migration is the longest known insect migration on earth. Flight of the Butterflies in 3D tells the story of a determined scientist who spent 40 years trying to discover exactly where the butterflies mysteriously went when they flew south for winter.

Dr. Fred Urquhart is the man obsessed with Monarchs. The obsession started in his youth, when he began to wonder where the butterflies spent the winter months. His passion became his profession as he went on to become a zoologist/biologist, teacher and university professor.

Along with his wife Norah, Urquhart founded the Insect Migration Association, enlisting thousands of volunteers across North America to tag hundreds of thousands of butterflies to track their migration route. This association ultimately helped Dr. Urquhart discover, in 1975, that millions of butterflies migrated to the remote Transvolcanic Belt of central Mexico.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Billy

    Have you an interest in “why Sitting Bull put a monarch on his hat?”

    • Robin

      okay, I’ll bite! I can google but would rather hear from you!
      Please post.


  • Jeanette

    As of today there are no scheduled engagements for Flight of the Butterflies 3D in the Chicagoland area. Many would enjoy this movie in this area, too.
    I have been a Citizen Scientist of RiverWatch in Illinois and deeply appreciate the Butterfly Watch effort.

  • Jeanette

    I really enjoyed this afternoon broadcast of the Monarch butterfly topic. I have been a RiverWatch citizen scientist in Illinois a appreciate the Monarch Watch effort.
    As of this afternoon there are no engagements of the Flight of the Butterflies 3D in the Chicagoland area. Many would enjoy it. There is a need for environmental support everywhere.

  • Kristina Paris

    I also really enjoyed this interview and live near the Monarch Trail in the Wauwatosa/Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. Many of our volunteers would love to see the movie and see no mention of showings. I hope it will be shown widely as the need to understand this incredible creature and its habitat is something all human-kind can benefit from. We are collecting milkweed seeds for Chip Taylor’s Monarch Watch program.

  • Gladym123

    Hi Robin,  We are lucky here in Monterey, California, we have butterflies wintering here – Pacific Grove and Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz.   Pacific Grove has a nice Natural History Museum with an exhibit about the butterflies.   Highly recommended!

  • Nmajerek

    What a great story! This took me back to the days when I was a kid and a citizen scientist for Dr Urquhart and tagged monarchs in southwestern Michigan along Lake Michigan in the fall. My family was very supportive of my hobby and helped to catch, tag & release the monarchs while collecting and tracking all of the data for tagging. Can’t wait to see the movie and would love to travel to Mexico to see where the monarchs spend their winters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=544366927 Donald Davis

    Those were outstanding interviews! I can vouch that “Flight of the Butterflies” is an outstanding documentary, having been a long-time friend and volunteer “Research Associate of Fred and Norah Urquhart’s “Insect Migration Studies” program. Further, I provided assistance during the film production and attended the world premier opening recently in Washington D.C. The “teaser” on this page is a new one and provides a superior overview of the film’s content.

    As Chip Taylor notes, we need concerned citizens to preserve and rehabilitate and create Monarch Waystations and to plant milkweed. The Monarch Butterfly Fund is also working in partnership with Mexican NGO’s and local communities to carry out reforestation projects in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve:

    Don Davis
    Secretary, Monarch Butterfly Fund

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Beatriz-Moisset/1213556847 Beatriz Moisset

    The hummingbird hawk moth, Macroglossum stellatarum of Africa, Europe and Asia rivals the monarch on migration distances, plus it has a huge geographic range. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroglossum_stellatarum. Why don’t we ever mention it? Why don’t we know more about it?

  • NancyTLStoll

    Robin,  Thank you for running this show!   Growing native plants like milkweed in one’s yard is wonderful because it is something one can actually DO about preserving the environment.  So much about ecological degradation feels out of one person’s control and the news is always bad.  But whether it is restoring fifty acres or planting goldenrod in a pot on the deck, everyone can contribute to making habitat for monarchs and all the other insects and birds.  And once you try it you are hooked!  This summer I watched butterflies laying eggs on my plants.  Landscaping with native plants creates a bond between people and nature and helps us love and care for the land.  Please do more shows like this to let folks know  about the benefits to themselves and the environment of gardening with native plants.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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