Monarch butterflies traveling from Joplin to Mexico this year will be accompanied by cyclist Sara Dykman (32) from Kansas. Dykman left Mexico last March with overwintering colonies and has traveled north into Canada and will return with them to Mexico. She calls it “Butterbiking with the butterflies.”
Dykman’s goal is not only to follow the monarch migration, but to connect people living along the route with the migration. This dovetails nicely with Joplin’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge to create monarch habitat in local parks and encourage residents to make a difference at home.
On October 2nd and 3rd the “Butterbike Lady” will visit classrooms at four different Joplin schools (Cecil Floyd, Royal Heights, Thomas Jefferson and St Mary’s) to talk about bike touring, the monarch migration and what we can do to help protect this endangered natural phenomenon. She will also present a program for the general public at Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center October 3rd at 7 PM. “It is so rewarding to connect my adventures to students,” says Dykman. “I want to show people how incredible the world is and be an example of what it means to follow your dreams and take care of the planet.”
In order to follow the migration, Dykman must cover about 300 miles per week on a bicycle loaded down with everything she needs for life on the road. From camping equipment to presentation materials, her bike is heavy and she moves slowly to follow the monarch migration while raising awareness about the importance of and threats to this iconic species. “I am biking to raise awareness and encourage people to plant native gardens with milkweed to be part of the solution and be part of the migration,” says Dykman.
By planting milkweed and nectar plants in Joplin parks, the number of monarchs has definitely been increasing. Purchases of milkweed plants at sales hosted by Wildcat Glades and local nurseries suggest there will continue to be monarchs passing through Joplin.
The public is invited to Dykman’s free program at Wildcat Glades Tuesday evening, October 3rd at 7 PM. To follow Dykman’s videos, photos, blogs, and a daily progress map, visit www.beyondabook.org.
For photos/press release about the Butterbike Project, go to: http://www.beyondabook.org/butterbike-press-release
About Mayors’ Monarch Pledge and Joplin Butterfly Initiative
The Mayors’ Monarch Pledge is a tri-national initiative to encourage mayors and other local government chief executives to take community-wide actions to help save the monarch butterfly. The pledge was originally designed for municipalities in the United States, but was expanded in 2017 to Canada and Mexico. The City of Joplin signed the Pledge in spring 2017 with a commitment to create monarch habitat in public parks and educate citizens about how to make a difference at home. Joplin Parks & Rec with support from Chert Glades Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist administers this project aka Joplin Butterfly Initiative
Media Contact: Val Frankoski
Chert Glades Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist