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From time to time (usually during the monarch overwintering period) we receive information about the western monarch population – here is a recent communication regarding the operations at the Pismo Beach Monarch Grove in California.
We have 40 active State Park docents and volunteers working in two-a-day shifts at the grove every day from November 1st to March 1st. We have three “jobs”: (1) selling monarch related items from a portable trailer, grossing over $50,000 per season; (2) roving the grove to answer visitors’ questions; and (3) giving at least two talks per day.
The last two years we have had over 60,000 visitors and expect this year’s total to be even greater.
[Monarch Watch Note: El Rosario is the most visited monarch overwintering site in Mexico and is said to have in excess of 100,000 visitors each season.]
We always check with the other three major California sites – Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz, Pacific Grove, and Ellwood Main in Goleta. We usually have the greatest number of butterflies. That’s true this year, so we are able to tell visitors that they are visiting the largest aggregation of overwintering Monarch butterflies in the U.S.
All western sites are down in numbers this year, we’re currently reporting 19,000 monarchs.
Dr. Dennis Frey, now retired from Cal Poly, has been our resource person for the past 15 years and continues to be a huge aid to us docents.
For more information about the Pismo Beach Monarch Grove visit www.monarchbutterfly.org