Interested Community Members Learned about the Monarch Butterfly at a Free Forum

The decline of the Monarch Butterfly population remains a concern for many. On February 29, close to 60 community members attended the free Monarch Butterfly Forum hosted by the City of Goleta and California Coastal Conservancy. Attendees learned about the monarch butterfly and local efforts to restore the population. Butterfly expert Dan Meade, Ph.D., spoke for over an hour and shared information about the crisis and how residents can help the Xerces Society’s “Western Monarch Call to Action”. His presentation is available here. Learn how you can help researchers discover where monarchs go in the spring by participating in the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge by clicking here.

In addition, George Thomson, the City of Goleta’s new Parks and Open Space Manager, provided an update on the Ellwood Mesa/Sperling Preserve Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan. View his presentation here.

Along the coast of California, spectators experience a remarkable annual migration of the western monarch butterfly, including an October to February stop at Goleta’s Ellwood Mesa/Sperling Preserve Open Space. As recently as 2011, visitors to the Preserve’s eucalyptus groves were amazed as more than 50,000 butterflies clustered in the trees to roost during the overwintering season.  However, the monarch butterfly population is now in crisis with recent monarch butterfly population estimates reaching their lowest levels in recorded history. This year fewer than 300 monarch butterflies were counted at Ellwood Mesa during the peak of migration.

Additional resources on the monarch butterfly will be added to our website in the coming weeks at Please check back later. For more information, please contact JoAnne Plummer, Parks and Recreation Manager, at (805) 562-5505.