Last updated on September 5th, 2018 at 02:07 pm
Jose Luis Alvarez: A Man On A Mission
You landed on the Vermont Furniture Blog and you may be wondering why it starts with an article about butterflies. My previous post may help: Top 4 Reasons Why a Vermont Furniture Store Wants to Save the Monarchs.
Last week I visited Michoacan, Mexico, the winter home to Vermont’s big, beautiful orange and black Monarch butterfly. As a wood furniture company we at Vermont Woods Studios wanted to support a reforestation project that would help protect the endangered butterfly’s habitat. I did quite a bit of research, trying to understand who was leading area environmental efforts and then I traveled to Mexico to see if we could help them.
La Cruz Habitat Protection Program LCHPP
The person I kept coming back to in my research was Jose Luis Alvarez, a tree nurseryman who founded the La Cruz Habitat Protection Program LCHPP. He has been actively reforesting Monarch butterfly habitat’s for over 20 years. In addition to partnering with local people to plant over 6 million trees in the Monarch’s over-wintering habitat, Jose Luis has been working with researchers, scientists, photographers & videographers from all over the world in an effort to raise awareness about the butterfly’s plight. Mr. Alvarez’s work has been written about in newspapers including the Wall Street Journal & The New York Times. He’s been an advisor and guide to producers of numerous documentary films by the BBC, National Geographic, the Canadian Broadcasting Channel and others.
Spirit of Butterflies Tour
I contacted Mr. Alvarez and signed up for his Spirit of Butterflies tour. The educational tour begins at Jose Luis’ Hacienda La Cruz, a 400 year old estate near Santa Clara del Cobre, Mexico. There guests are able to enjoy the historic plantation and see the initial steps of the reforestation effort. Hundreds of thousands of seedlings are planted and nurtured here for subsequent transplant in the butterfly’s over-wintering habitat.
Visiting the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries
The Mexican government has designated several “sanctuaries” where the butterflies over-winter. The largest sanctuary is El Rosario. Below I’m standing at the entrance with Jose Luis Alvarez. The picture was taken just a couple days before a freak snow storm dropped up to a foot of snow and ice on the butterfly habitat. It will be a couple weeks before we know what percent of the Monarchs are able to survive the storm. Keep your fingers crossed! They are amazingly resilient animals.
Interested to Learn More?
If you love nature and animals, you might want to consider a trip to Mexico to witness first hand, this most complex migration of any species know to man. Here are a few places to start your research:
“Defending the Monarch” article by Stan Sesser on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 19, 2008.
New York Times by Carol Kaesuk Yoon, In Forest Debris, the Odor of Dead Monarchs on February 26, 2002
Photos of Hacienda LaCruz by Kim Ronemus http://www.kimronemusdesign.com/joseappleseed/
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