Butterflies051 Photo By Joe JohnstonThe Tribune

Thursday, December 7: Monarch Butterflies – Facts and Fate

Free lecture with Marion Schlinger

Co-sponsored by the Los Olivos Library.
Thursday, December 7, 7:30 p.m.
Santa Ynez Valley Grange.
2374 Alamo Pintado Avenue, Los Olivos.

Featured photo of the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterby Grove by Joe Johnston/The Tribune.

Monarch Butterfly photo by Marion Schlinger.

Marion Schlinger, a local entomologist and a board member of the Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society, will  present an informative talk on one of the most familiar and regal butterflies in our midst, the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus).  Everyone, from young children to adults, recognizes these impressive orange and black butterflies from their backyard, books, classroom science projects, various news stories, or having visited one of our local monarch overwintering sites along the Pacific Coast. In this presentation Marion will delve into the intricacies of the monarch life cycle and the importance of their host food plant, various species of milkweed.  Factors affecting their Eastern and Western migration patterns will also be examined, especially as they pertain to our local areas.  Monarchs today are at risk from habitat loss and  agricultural impacts.  These issues involving the fates (both natural and manmade) of the monarchs will be addressed along with conservation efforts that are or can be implemented.  Following the talk there will be a screening of the fabulous PBS NOVA video“The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies,” which showcases the monarch butterflies’ 2000-mile migration in the eastern United States.  Through amazing photography, the film illustrates the monarch migration, highlighting the fascinating and treacherous journey these butterflies make.  Despite the interest and years of studies, it is still a mystery to scientists how monarchs navigate this amazing journey each fall with clockwork precision.  Marion will also lead a field trip to the Pismo State Beach Monarch Grove in January.

Marion’s interest in entomology began when she received her first butterfly net on her eighth birthday and collected and pinned butterflies from her backyard in Connecticut.  She began raising caterpillars such as the monarchs and giant swallowtails through high school. Marion continued her interest in entomology at the University of San Francisco, followed by graduate work at UC Berkeley for her master’s degree and candidate in philosophy degree, studying Dolichopodidae (long legged flies).  Her love of butterflies, especially monarchs, continued, and she led several field trips to Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz for overwintering monarch viewing, and has long been interested in monarch butterfly migration and their overwintering sites here in California.