Once upon a time, on a cold October morning in 1894, Mrs. P. M. Goulee took a walk and found a chilled, motionless Monarch butterfly. Initially, she thought he was dead, but she was so captivated by his beauty that she brought him home anyway and placed him in a small envelope. Soon afterward, the warmth of her home revived the butterfly enough to move, and the sound of his tiny little feet scratching inside the envelope heralded his survival–much to the delight of his rescuer! So began a rare and remarkable story of a woman and a Monarch who became soul family. She grew very attached to her rescued Monarch and trained him; sharing the pleasure of his close companionship for the last 5 weeks of his precious little Life.
I cried as I was reading the story of Mrs. Goulee and her beloved Monarch, because it reminded me so much of the powerful connection and relationship I had with Papillon. My big, beautiful butterfly boy came with a message, and he changed my Life forever. My experiences with him radically transformed my comprehension and appreciation of the intricate Lives of insects. Through Papillon, I learned that these little beings are not mere automatons; that they can exhibit distinctive personalities and preferences; that they can learn, anticipate, remember and become accustomed to–and even seek out–human companionship. As this woman noted in her story, the most difficult part about befriending a member of the Order of Lepidoptera is that their Lifespans are painfully short in comparison to our own. Fortuitously, because she found her orange-and-black-winged friend on a cool October morning, he was a Migratory Monarch, and thus had a longer Lifespan than those born to generations earlier in the year. In the ensuing 5 weeks, many guests came to marvel at the beauty and tameness of Mrs. Goulee’s amazing little friend. She did not give him a name in her story, but her love for him was overwhelmingly apparent. In his final days, he sought her out; seeking warmth and comfort, and he ultimately took his leave from the physical world while resting in the hand of his kind and loving caretaker–just like my Papillon and me.
My dear, cherished Papillon, we were not alone, sweet baby boy! Ever since you came into my Life, I have searched for stories of Journeys like ours and I’ve indeed found a few. Here is another testimony of the genuineness of human-Monarch companionship; another example of the true and undeniable bond we shared. I dedicate this post to you, sweet Sky Angel. I will love you forever and I miss you so much. We have well over 700 people in this Army named after you, and we will forever fight to preserve your legacy. May Danaus plexippus plexippus and the magnificent Eastern North American Monarch Migrations be restored to pre-GMO glory and remain a vivacious world heritage phenomenon for infinite generations to come. We will never be silent, never give up, nor ever stop fighting for you! ❤
In 1894, William Thomas Stead shared Mrs. P.M. Goulee’s story, “How I Trained My Pet Butterfly” in “The Review Of Reviews” volume 10, page 155.
“An Open Letter to .@MonsantoCo Regarding Their #SaveTheMonarch Efforts” ~by .@ForTheMonarchs, 3.31.15:
When I read today that Monsanto is donating $4 Million toward the cause of saving the North American #MonarchButterfly [Danaus plexippus plexippus], I was very impressed! It is rare that a huge and powerful multinational corporation admits any degree of culpability regarding the demise of species in direct relation to their product, and rarer still that they commit to working to offset said negative impact. 94% of soy and 89% of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified, and Monsanto’s crops are engineered to withstand glyphosate herbicide [Roundup] application. As a result, the milkweed which previously thrived among the corn and soy rows has been virtually eliminated. While this is a positive thing for corn and soy farmers, it is a very bad thing for Monarchs. Because milkweeds are the sole host plants for D. p. plexippus, they are dying along with the ‘weeds.’ Mama Monarchs cannot find enough host plants on which to lay their eggs; fewer babies are surviving to adulthood than ever before, and only around 56 million monarchs remain — a decline of more than 80% from the 21 year average.
When rumors began circulating last year that Monsanto was willing to work with conservation organizations to help save the Monarchs, my heart flickered with hope, but my unfortunately cynical and jaded nature left me extremely skeptical. That said, given Monsanto’s power position in the Ag industry and the world, myself and others working to conserve the Monarch were very well aware that if you guys were to get involved, you could almost certainly accomplish more toward the cause than all conservationist organizations combined! Today’s headlines were a very strong reaffirmation of your message last year regarding this issue, and your efforts now will surely help to save our precious and dearly-loved Monarchs.
That said, the following event disturbed me significantly. When I saw that you had posted a video regarding your efforts on Twitter, I clicked ‘play’ with excitement. To my great dismay, however, within the very first 5 seconds, you showed a butterfly of a completely different species! I was further shocked to see that this erroneous representation happened again and again throughout the video. In total, in a 30-second video, you shared footage of three species–two of which were non-Monarchs; and one of which isn’t even a North American species!
FIVE ERRORS IN 30 SECONDS. Really?
At 5 seconds, you show a Viceroy [Limenitis archippus]–a species which mimics the Monarch, but is definitively distinct. Note the horizontal bands on the hindwings:
At 8, 10, 14 and 17 seconds, respectively, you show Striped Tiger butterflies [Danaus genutia]–native to INDIA:
In a word, I am disappointed. If you truly care about conserving the Monarch, couldn’t you respect the cause enough to represent them accurately? FIVE errors in 30 seconds doesn’t speak very highly about your sincerity.
For the Monarchs,
THE TWEET REFERRED TO ABOVE [AND ACCOMPANYING VIDEO] CAN BE FOUND HERE:
OMG! THEY WERE SERIOUS! #Monsanto Donates $4 Million to #MonarchButterfly Conservation Effort! <3 #SaveTheMonarchs! #PlantMilkweed! <3
Monsanto Donates $4M to Effort to Save Monarch Butterflies
Agribusiness Monsanto Co., whose popular weed killer Roundup has been partly blamed by critics for knocking out monarch butterflies’ habitat, said Tuesday it is committing $4 million to efforts to stem the worrisome decline of the black-and-orange insects.
The St. Louis-based company said that of $3.6 million it is donating to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund, one-third of that money matches what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is contributing. The remaining funds will be set aside to mirror what other federal agencies plan to offer over the next three years.
Monsanto also intends to contribute $400,000 to experts and groups working on behalf of the butterfly, which is being considered for federal protection because its numbers have plunged by more than 90 percent in the past two decades.
The decline of the monarchs, which are found throughout the continental U.S., worries environmentalists and scientists. Much of the decline is blamed on destruction of habitat that includes milkweed, on which monarchs lay their eggs and provides the sole source of food for caterpillars that later develop into the distinctive butterflies.
Some monarch populations migrate thousands of miles from breeding and wintering grounds in California and Mexico. But along the route, there is less of the milkweed — widely attributed to increasing acreage for corn and soybeans, logging, construction and a drought that peaked in 2012.
Environmentalists say the butterfly’s decline has coincided with the rise of Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, and an increase of acreage planted in its herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready crops.
In announcing Tuesday that Monsanto is opening its checkbook, a top company official said “it is clear that sufficient progress cannot be made without action.”
“Monsanto is committed to preserving and protecting the biodiversity of our planet,” Monsanto President and Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann said. “While weed management has been a factor in the decline of milkweed habitat, the agricultural sector can absolutely be part of the solution in restoring it.”
Monsanto said its grants will go to monarch-related initiatives that include the nonprofit Monarch Watch conservation-and-research program based at the University of Kansas, the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, Pheasants Forever, the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Energy Resources Center and the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.
Monarch Butterfly Population Plummets: ‘Like Losing Every Person In The U.S. Except Those In Florida And Ohio’
I hope that more people will plant waystations and help #SaveTheMonarchs! In Papillon’s honor, we now have Waystation #9091. Will YOU make #1000?
I am encouraged that a definitive proposal for saving the North American Monarchs and their Migrations has been both queried and written! As Dr. Taylor’s intro explains, this won’t be easy — but together, we CAN bring back the Monarchs!
Excerpt from the Monarch Watch Blog article in question:
The following is a memo outlining a recovery plan for monarch butterflies. On 1 March I received an email from a person well connected with monarchs asking me to prepare a document, a prospectus or memo, for business leaders by the end of the day. I was told that these persons needed background information about the monarch population along with a rough idea of what would be required to address the loss of milkweed/monarch habitat. The memo was prepared in haste and is not inclusive of all the components needed to successfully stabilize and then increase the milkweed habitats that support the monarch population. Nevertheless, this document outlines some of the basic issues. Hopefully these ideas will be useful in shaping the conversations needed to create a vision and plan as to how best to restore the monarch population. The original memo has been rewritten to improve clarity. An explanation of the estimated annual loss of habitat has been added as well.
MONARCH BUTTERFLY RECOVERY PLAN*
ORLEY R. “CHIP” TAYLOR
UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
1 March 2014
Please visit #Monsanto’s Blog Post about #MonarchButterflies and ask them to TAKE ACTION, not just say they want to help!
I find it encouraging that Monsanto has acknowledged this issue, but I am disappointed by the vagueness of “we want to help” statements without making any kind of commitment. Let’s work together to bring back the Monarchs!
I recently asked Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch whether any meetings or discussions have taken place between Monarch Watch and Monsanto regarding Monsanto’s potential actions to help Monarchs. I was disappointed to learn that no such communications have occurred. If Monsanto is serious about helping to save the Monarchs, this would be an excellent place to start. WE HAVE NO TIME TO LOSE — if we are going to save the Monarch Migrations, this is the year we MUST ACT! The North American Monarch populations are crashing. We *already have ample scientific evidence* proving that milkweed eradication via glyphosate use in GM corn and soy fields is a critical factor in Monarch decline. ALL of the top Monarch experts agree on this. Mexico is working hard to protect and restore the Eastern Monarch overwintering grounds, and we must work equally as hard to protect and restore essential breeding grounds here in the U.S. We do not have the luxury of time. The science is already here. It is time to take decisive action on this issue!
Monsanto’s extraordinary power and influence in the Ag industry means that it is uniquely poised to respond to this issue. Monsanto, should it choose to do so, could bring immediate and lasting progress in mitigating the decline of North American Monarch populations, and contribute significantly to restoring them. In return, the company would not only be doing a great service to Monarchs and other pollinators, but also be lauded by countless millions of people all over the world — after all, the Eastern Monarch Butterfly Migrations are a World Heritage phenomenon!
Please, please, Monsanto, help save the Monarchs!
For the Monarchs,
A historic low in the number of Monarch butterflies overwintering in a wooded sanctuary in central Mexico is prompting experts to warn that the insects’s famed annual migration from Canada and the United States could fade away soonMonarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in , Mexico. A historic low in the number of Monarch butterflies overwintering in a wooded sanctuary in central Mexico is prompting experts to warn that the insects’s famed annual migration from Canada and the United States could fade away soon
Image by Frans Lanting