A group of children attending a camp, standing outdoors in a row, with two of our educators

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Monarch Migration Festival

Monarch Migration Festival

Sunday, September 13, 2020 from 1-2pm


We’re going virtual! This year, join the Leslie Science & Nature Center as we celebrate the incredible journey of the Monarch butterfly!

Every year, waves of these butterflies migrate over mountains, deserts, and plains in the United States to reach their wintering grounds in Mexico. By registering for this event, you are helping contribute to the conservation efforts put in place to protect these incredible butterflies locally and nationally. In fact, $5.50 of your registration fee goes directly to support the rearing and conservation efforts locally!

Even though the event is virtual this year, those who register will still have the opportunity to be a part of the main event: releasing your very own monarch butterfly, or sponsoring a butterfly for us to release in our pollinator garden!

Thank you to all who registered for our annual Monarch Migration Festival! Registration is officially closed. This year, we unfortunately are unable to take any walk-ups the day of the event. We appreciate everyone's support and understanding as we look to celebrate the incredible journey of these butterflies!

$7 Individual Admission

  • Get your own monarch butterfly to release, or choose to have LSNC release one for you
  • Access to curbside pick-up the day of the event to retrieve your butterfly
  • Links to virtual resources including educational videos, games, and more of what you can do at home
  • Link to our zoom room the day of the event at 1 pm, where we will livestream the butterfly release in LSNC’s pollinator garden

$22 Pollinator Partners Pack

Looking to do more for our essential pollinators at home? Then include a Pollinator Partners Pack with your registration. Each pack has specific resources to help you and others learn about our local pollinators, seeds to start your own pollinator garden, and more! There is a limited amount of packs, so register early to secure a pack for you at home!

*If you wish to have your pack shipped to you, please register before Monday, August 24th. After that, there is no guarantee that your pack will arrive before the Monarch Migration Festival.

Click here to view our Monarch Migration Festival FAQ

What's the big deal about Monarch migration?

Monarchs are important pollinators in many ecosystems from Canada to Mexico. As the adults move from plant to plant eating nectar from the flowers, they spread pollen that allows the flowers to produce seeds and fruits. These seeds and fruits are essential to the survival of other animals and plants--even humans!

Monarch Migration Festival

In the last 30 years, monarch populations have declined for several reasons. In some cases, poison chemicals (called herbicides) used to kill weeds on farms have also killed milkweed plants—the only food source for monarch caterpillars (also called larvae). When monarchs migrate south, they winter in large trees and forests. Logging and forest destruction in their wintering habitats means that there are less warm, predator-free places for monarchs to live. The destruction of food sources and habitat, along with a rise in parasites and new predators, have all contributed to the decrease of the monarch population.

Monarchs living east of the Rocky Mountains winter in Mexico and then head north in the spring to lay their eggs in the Southern United States. it is the young of these butterflies that continues the migration into the Northern US and Canada to lay eggs and start another life cycle. Given the wide range of communities where monarchs find habitats and food on their journeys, conservation efforts to plant more milkweed and other pollinator plants, and to release captive-bred butterflies are happening on an international scale to try and restore the monarch population. You can join the effort at LSNC, and even plant a native pollinator garden in your own yard or neighborhood.

Watch the migration path of monarchs from Mexico to the north using Google Earth.

Check out this clip (from Front Yard Video) of a monarch's metamorphosis as it goes from crunching milkweed as a caterpillar to forming a chrysalis to becoming a butterfly.

Learn more about Monarch Butterflies and other pollinators here:

Journey North

Monarch Watch

Michigan Native Butterfly Farm

Pollinator Partnership

Thank you to our partners:

Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers

City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation