In March, Monarch butterflies leave their winter home in Mexico and head north, some as far as Canada. Many of them stop over in San Antonio to lay their eggs, which become caterpillars and eventually turn into baby Monarchs, which are the butterflies that eventually migrate north. It’s an exciting and beautiful time of year — you’ll just miss it on the Texas Trail Roundup in February. Drat.
What you WILL be able to see is some of the butterfly gardens that have been installed throughout the city to feed and nurture these magical creatures during their journey north.
In 2015 The National Wildlife Fund came up with a list of 24 recommended steps that cities could take to care for Monarch butterflies. On December 7 2017, San Antonio signed a pledge to do ALL of them. Every single one. We would plant butterfly gardens, including native milkweeds and nectar-producing plants on city properties and teach residents how to plant them at home. We would change our mowing schedules. Have a butterfly festival. Support citizen-science, such as tagging butterflies. Educate the community. Wow! The NWF was so impressed that they invented a new category just for San Antonio: Monarch Champion City.
Just a short walk south of the Pearl on the San Antonio River (on Sunday’s walk), the San Antonio’s Milkweed Patch is an important inland urban monitoring site for overwintering Monarchs. Butterflies tagged in San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country have been recovered in the mountains of Michoacán, proving migratory patterns and providing data for scientists.