Dear IBBA members,

Thank you so much for your ongoing support of the Butterflies & Their People Project. We first had the pleasure of meeting some of you in January of 2018, when an IBBA group tour came to see the colonies on Cerro Pelon. It was like Christmas; the visiting butterfly breeders gifted the guardians with a set of walkie talkies, a high-quality camera, thermoses, warm socks and a cash donation that covered new pairs of hiking boots. We still used those gifts every day, and the IBBA group is fondly remembered on the mountain.

Since then, we’ve been able to add a fourth forest guardian to our original team of three. And we also now have data from the guardians’ first full year on the job protecting Cerro Pelon: while more than 100 trees were lost to clandestine logging in 2017, that number dropped to 19 trees in 2018. Clearly, paid presence on the mountain makes a difference.

And your latest donation of $1,500 allows us to keep making this difference. It’s enough to cover salaries for another two plus months, so when the monarch migration comes back in the fall, their trees will still be standing.

Right now, the guardians are working on preparing the trails for the rainy season that’s about to begin. They are making existing trails safer for people and horses and even building new ones to make the trip to the colony shorter next season. They also pick up any garbage that they find. As of last week, they’d collected 8 large bags of discarded plastics, which they are bringing down the mountain to the village of Macheros, the only settlement in the vicinity with sporadic trash pick-up.

The guardians also perform maintenance on the Cerro Pelon streambox project, which is a solar-powered super-sensitive open mike located in the heart of the forest that’s livestreamed over the internet 24/7. You can listen to it here:

On high noon on June 30, the guardians will gather under the mike to broadcast a drawing of items donated for our latest fundraiser. They will be giving away one canvas art print of the monarch colony by nature photographer Sabrina Dao for donations of $200 or more, and copies of the bilingual children’s book Saving the Monarchs for donations of $100 or more. There’s more information about that event here:

Thank you again for being among the people that make Butterflies & Their People possible!
Ellen Sharp
Butterflies & Their People