“Best of all, I shall remember the monarchs…”
I think many would agree with Ms. Carson. Maybe monarch butterflies are so well loved because they are many people’s intro into the world of butterflies. Maybe it’s because their lifecycle seems so magically mysterious or maybe it’s simply because who doesn’t like butterflies? They eat sweets all day, look beautiful, live surrounded by flowers, get to travel, and don’t bite or sting – seems like a rather great life!
There’s always time for love when you are a monarch…
Pretty much everyone in the Americas can identify a monarch these days. Perhaps it’s because they are so easy to have in a classroom to teach life cycles, or from the great publicity on providing host and nectar plants in home gardens, or from habitat protection campaigns, or maybe because they even travelled to the International Space Station to be bred in the cosmos!
Whatever the reason it is great that this insect can be a bridge to spark wonder and illuminate the bond between people and the natural world.
…and time to sip delicious verbena nectar!!
Monarch’s amazing migrations can also be an inspiration for humans. All monarchs migrate to some degree, but not all populations take the huge trek from southern Canada to central Mexico. Some populations, like those in Florida migrate short north south distances within the region.
Tagging monarchs takes careful concentration…
Let’s compare the monarch migration with human behavior. Some of us like to take long journeys, while others prefer to stay close to home. Now let’s get a little more abstract. As we progress through life, we make migrations too. From child to adult, from individual to parent, we migrate through jobs and careers, between interests and hobbies, we are always migrating through some phase or other.
But also like the monarch, there are constants in our lives. We have a vacation spot we like to return to, we have routes we like to take through life and around town, we have specific dietary needs and favorite foods, and we travel through all of it with the support of our group.
…which is no problem for the steady hand of an artist!
So why am I getting all philosophical about monarch migration, besides the fact that it is mind blowing? Because you may have noticed over the past couple months that Wings, Worms, and Wonder is on a bit of a migration. I started out with a focus on connecting children and nature through art and gardening, and that still holds very true.
It’s time spread those wings an fly on the journey!!!
However, I’m learning on this journey that: while I love working with schools, it isn’t always feasible; I was really missing being immersed in the arts; and that adults want holistic experiences to creatively connect with nature also. And that is why you may have noticed more of a focus on nature journaling.
For me, nature journaling is a magical blend of gardening, art, nature connection, wonder sparking, sensory observation, nature-study methodology, progressive education philosophy, and is fun, relaxing, and meaningful for all ages. So that is why the shift. I want to inspire all humans to make space in their lives for connection and creativity. I want to share ways to slow life down and open it up to the everyday wonders of nearby nature.
Just a quick snack for the trip!
I hope you continue to join me on this migration! I will always still create resources for parents and teachers that connect children and nature through organic gardening and I will still be doing workshops for schools (with a continued emphasis on Montessori education), only now there will be an expanded focus on the arts that includes all humanity in on the nature journaling fun!
Maria Montessori said,
“The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.”
Through both education and experience, I strongly believe this to be true, and most definitely when it come to connecting with nature through art.
That glow of sunlight through the wings is a sight to behold!
When we draw nature, we open up our channels of sensory impression, we slow down and really see the world around us, we get to know ourselves a bit better, and we build bonds with the subjects we draw that inspire us to discover and deepen our roles as creators, protectors, and healers in our big beautiful biodiverse world! I am so excited to see where this migration takes us! How about you?
What monarch like migrations have you made to incorporate more nature into your life, work, & family ?
Share in the comments below & share your migration pics on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder
Seeds to Sprout:
Get involved in the monarch butterfly migration with the resources available from Monarch Watch. This is a wellspring of awesome resources!
Follow the current monarch migration with weekly updates from Journey North. As of April 16, the monarchs had already travelled 1,500 miles !
Check out a spring 2015 monarch migration map so far. Most are about even with Virginia, but one has made it to Wisconsin already!
Want to connect with nature through the arts and be a part of Wings, Worms, and Wonder’s first big stop on this migration journey? Well join the fun with us in the Draw Yourself Back to Nature eCourse. It starts next week, May 4! Learn more here. Register here.