Do You Love the Monarch Butterfly? Become a Docent!

From November to February, the Goleta Butterfly Grove (Ellwood Main Monarch Aggregation Site) is home to thousands of monarch butterflies that migrate to coastal California for the winter. Since 2007, the City of Goleta has trained docents to enhance the visitor experience and lead field trips for school and community groups. It is one of only four Monarch Butterfly Docent programs in California. Docents are stationed at the Goleta Butterfly Grove (Ellwood Main) on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to provide educational information about monarch butterflies and answer questions for visitors.

Becoming a Monarch Docent is easy. You do not need any previous experience – just a love for nature and the monarch butterfly! Learn cool facts about the Monarch, like those that spend their winter at Ellwood have never been to Goleta – they are five generations removed from last year’s visitors. Another interesting tidbit is that migrating Monarchs live up to nine months, while Monarchs that don’t migrate only live two to five weeks.

Docents may sign up for two hour weekend shifts at their leisure as well as scheduled field trips. There will be a docent training session on Monday, October 17 at Goleta City Hall, Council Chambers (130 Cremona Drive, Suite B) from 6:00-7:00 p.m. If you are interested in becoming a Monarch Docent or have questions about the butterflies at Ellwood Mesa, please contact the Monarch Butterfly Docent mainline at 805-961-7571, email Ines Hernandez at or visit