“These butterflies migrate thousands of miles, but the more amazing part is that even with four or five generations between them, they still return to these same branches,” explained Charis Van der Heide, who is a docent at the Coronado Butterfly Preserve, which is owned and managed by The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. As coordinator of the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count for The Xerces Society, Van der Heide also keeps track of the number of butterflies who overwinter on the California coast and beyond. “If it weren’t for the citizen science, we wouldn’t know nearly as much as we do about the butterflies,” said Van der Heide, who spoke about the history and science of the Ellwood Main Butterfly Grove on Saturday during the preserve’s Conservation Day festivities.
– Caitlin Finch, Santa Barbara Independent
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