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...Maybe You Should Care Less About Monarch Butterflies

I follow the epic journey of these conservation icons from Canada to Mexico to get to the bottom of their environmental disconnect. Why all the affection for a species that isn't even endangered?

This is a sample of my attempts to independently produce works of video journalism. I was responsible for all research, reporting, filming, editing and animating.

Huge thanks to Darlene Burgess and Estela Romero for their help and insights for the production of this project!


Agrawal, Anurag A. (2017). Monarchs and milkweed: A migrating butterfly, a poisonous plant, and their remarkable story of Coevolution. PRINCETON UNIV Press.

Carmichael, E., Sayer Chloë, & Mack, J. (2006). The skeleton at the Feast: The Day of the Dead in Mexico. University of Texas Press.

Chowdhury, S., Fuller, R. A., Dingle, H., Chapman, J. W., & Zalucki, M. P. (2021). Migration in butterflies: A global overview. Biological Reviews, 96(4), 1462–1483.

Crossley, M. S., Meehan, T. D., Moran, M. D., Glassberg, J., Snyder, W. E., & Davis, A. K. (2022). Opposing global change drivers counterbalance trends in breeding North American monarch butterflies. Global Change Biology, 28(15), 4726–4735.

Davis, D. (n.d.). How Far North Do Monarchs Migrate? Monarch Breeding Range in North America. Journey North: Monarch butterfly. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from

Government of Ontario, Updating the Schedule of Noxious Weeds in R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 1096 - General, made under the Weed Control Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. W.5 (removal of milkweed and addition of dog-strangling vine) (2014). Toronto, ON; Weed Control Act.

Guerra, P. A., Gegear, R. J., & Reppert, S. M. (2014). A magnetic compass aids monarch butterfly migration. Nature Communications, 5(1).

Gustafsson, K. M., Agrawal, A. A., Lewenstein, B. V., & Wolf, S. A. (2015). The monarch butterfly through time and space: The Social Construction of an icon. BioScience, 65(6), 612–622.

Merlin, C., Gegear, R. J., & Reppert, S. M. (2009). Antennal circadian clocks coordinate sun compass orientation in migratory monarch butterflies. Science, 325(5948), 1700–1704.

Nail, K. R., Drizd, L., & Voorhies, K. J. (2019). Butterflies across the globe: A synthesis of the current status and characteristics of monarch (Danaus Plexippus) populations worldwide. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7.

North American Butterfly Association. (n.d.). Butterfly Questions and Answers. NABA. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from

Oberhauser, K. S., & Solensky, M. J. (2004). In The monarch butterfly: Biology & conservation (pp. 79–84). essay, Cornell University Press.

Parks Canada Agency, G. of C. (2023, March 22). Monarch butterflies at Point Pelee National Park. Point Pelee National Park. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from

Rendón-Salinas, E., Fernández-Islas, A., Mendoza-Pérez, M. A., Cruz-Piña, M., Mondragón-Contreras, G., & Martínez-Pacheco4, A. (2022). Area Of Forest Occupied By The Colonies Of Monarch Butterflies In Mexico During The 2021-2022 Overwintering Period. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved from

Schappert, P. (1996). (rep.). Distribution, Status and Conservation of the Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus (L.), in Canada. Montreal, QC: Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

Walker, A., Thogmartin, W.E., Oberhauser, K.S., Pelton, E.M. & Pleasants, J.M. 2022. Danaus plexippus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T159971A806727.

Xerces Society Western Monarch Count. 2022. Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count and New Year’s Count Data, 1997-2021. Available at

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