a butterfly resting on a purple flower

Monarch Migration Festival

Monarch Migration Festival

Sunday, September 12, 2021 from 1-4pm
Thanks to all who are joining us, look for this annual event every September and join our newsletter for the most up-to-date information on programs, site, and other activiites!

We’re so excited to be back in person this year!
Come join the Leslie Science & Nature Center as we celebrate the incredible journey of the Monarch butterfly in person.

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! Registration is required to attend this event. And, for those who register, you will 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.

Back by popular demand, we are also including the option to purchase you very own pollinator pack-
Limited quantities available, reserve your pack today!


$7 Individual Admission

  • Get your own monarch butterfly to release, or choose to have LSNC release one for you
  • Access to onsite activities, games, butterfly tent, and local partners
  • Links to virtual resources including educational videos, games, and more of what you can do at home

$25 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!

Monarch Migration FAQ

Where do the Monarch Butterflies come from for this event?

LSNC has had the pleasure of partnering with Michigan Native Butterfly Farm ever since we hosted our first Monarch Migration Festival. The Michigan Native Butterfly Farm is dedicated to promoting awareness of local butterfly species including Monarchs, Painted Ladies, and more. They also have their own nursery, growing host plants and wildflowers to help create Monarch waystations and pollinator hotspots.

Is there a cutoff date for when I can register?

The final day of registration is Thursday, September 9th. This allows us to make sure all materials needed for the event, including the number of butterflies to release, are in order before the day of the event.  

If I registered to release a butterfly, when should I arrive?

In order to release a butterfly, each registrant will check in, and be given a specific time slot during the festival to attend a short presentation. From there, registrants will be led to our pollinator garden and will be able to release their butterfly. This means registrants can arrive any time after 1:00pm and still be able to release their butterfly. However, It is suggested that folks arrive by 2:30pm in order to see and do all the activities available.  

If I purchased a pollinator partner pack, where can I pick it up?

Pollinator Partner Packs will be available for pick up at select stations during the event. If you are unable to make it to the event, don't fret! We can ship you your pollinator partners pack after the event is complete.  

Besides the butterfly release, what else is happening during the event time?

The event consists of many activities to help us celebrate monarch butterflies and the amazing feats they overcome. Other activities include butterfly games & crafts, exploring an interactive butterfly tent, meeting live animals and other essential pollinators, and learning more from our local partners!

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