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Mariposa Madness

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By Hannah Alvarado
Web Content Contributor

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year, which I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me on. It’s the start of the holiday season and the entire world seems to suddenly have such a cozy nature to it. There’s only one issue though, we live in South Texas, so unfortunately we are excluded from a lot of the fall time fun. Such as, the weather dipping below 68 or leaves actually changing colors, instead of just being green one day then immediately falling to the ground dead the next day. There is though, one awesome thing we do get to bare witness too. A beautiful aspect, unique to us and a lovely sign of this time of the year. If you are in need a cheap date idea, want something cool to do or are just completely bored, this is the thing to go do. It’s the annual Monarch Migration.

So what is the deal with the Mariposa Madness? (That’s “butterfly” in Spanish.) Over all, the migration is a fantastic journey made by thousands of brave butterflies. These guys set off on a one way trip from the East of the Rocky Mountains, and travel all the way down to Mexico, in order to escape the harsh winter and to breed. This ensures that the next cycle of Monarchs will continue on and that the species will continue to thrive. Every year, they repeat this cycle, traveling back, up from Mexico and back again. I guess you could say that Monarch’s put in some real frequent flyer miles there y’ all. …I stand by that pun.

The whole thing that makes this migration so amazing is how dangerous it is for these creatures. Quite a few of them, don’t ever make it (que the memes).

Butterflies on the move
Butterflies are migrating to Mexico as the season starts to change. Photo by Hannah Alvarado.

If you’re a nature lover, a friend of the butterflies or just want to do something nice for these guys, there are a lot of resources available on how we can aid them on their journey. According to www.learnaboutnature.com, milkweed is a plant that the Monarch’s use to lay their eggs in. In fact, it is the only plant they can lay their eggs in so without the plant, there are no new butterflies. Planting this somewhere or even having one on your windowsill can make all the difference for these guys.

Overall, you may be thinking, oh Monarch butterflies flying around, what is so cool about that? Well as a person who has been fortunate enough to live in San Antonio most of my life, I can tell you first hand that it looks much cooler than it sounds. Walking around outside, laying on your back or driving through the South Texas area and watching these beautiful things make their way so far. It doesn’t cost a thing and it’s actually pretty amazing if you have never had the opportunity to see it before. On overcast days, like the weather we’ve been seeing, its as if it is snowing these creatures. They move so elegantly through the sky and seemingly cascade downward. If it happens to actually be, kind of sunny, out they look like flower petals floating through the breeze. Either way, it is a site to see.

The Monarch butterfly migration can be seen in San Antonio, Austin and the Hill Country. So while we may get a good few butterflies in San Marcos, it’s best to jump in a car and head on to one of these locations, to get the best views.

The migration only lasts a few weeks, so if you have a test this week that you need to study for, and can’t make it up to Austin or down to San Antonio, I’d suggest planning it out! Trust me, one good site of these graceful creatures, and you’ll have Mariposa Madness.

Featured image by Hannah Alvarado.

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