Saturday, October 03, 2009

Monarch Migration and National Parks

It's October, and the flowers are starting to die back. Dick is making plans to re-organize the butterfly garden for next year. The roses love the cooler weather we are having, and are full of blooms. From my window, I notice activity around the butterfly bushes.
It's migration season for the Monarchs and there must be at least 15 of them taking a pit stop on our bushes to sip nectar and rest a bit before the nest step in their journey.
I think it's a long trip to ride 8.5 hours in the car going to Wisconsin. Imagine if we had to flap our arms and fly there, or even farther, for our vacations. The wind buffets these small creatures, requiring extra effort to go small distances. Last weekend they looked like pieces of orange tissue paper, tossed by the wind. Imagine reaching the Gulf of Mexico, knowing you have to fly across it without any place to stop and rest.

We watched the Ken Burns series on the National Parks this week on PBS, loving the wonderful photography and hours of research required for it. I wonder if John Muir would have been involved with wilderness to the same extent if he had been born a century later, in 1938 rather than 1838. Luckily for us he was there to push for the preservation of wild places while there were still wild. It's humbling to think of all the people who made our Parks what they are - explorers, environmentalists, kids in the CCC, motorists willing to drive an open car along unpaved roads with no AAA to save them when they had car trouble. Dick and I enjoyed watching the development of interpretation as a skill among the NPS Rangers. And God love whoever designed those ranger hats! You can spot them a mile away! I was especially moved by the daughter of Alaska superintendent, John Cook, who was the fourth generation of her family to serve with the Park Service. If you missed this marvelous opportunity, you can see clips or even full episodes from it online at . Maybe there's still hope for the human race after all. After all, it's always morning somewhere.


NCmountainwoman said...

Gorgeous photographs of the Monarchs. I am totally fascinated by their miraculous migrations.

The Ken Burns series is already available from PBS in a 6-DVD set, along with a companion book and CD. What a great series.

Kathiesbirds said...

I have the series recorded but I have yet to sit down and watch it. Been too busy bird watching with TR! Nice photos of the Monarchs! It's amazing to me the way they fly across the gulf!