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Bright orange with black and white markings, the Monarch butterfly is one of our most charismatic insect species. Monarchs are among the few insects that migrate, and the way they migrate is one of the most fascinating among all animals. Weighing less than a paper clip, with a wingspan of only four inches, generations of monarchs fly hundreds to thousands of miles south each autumn. They over-winter in Mexico, Florida and southern California, before making the voyage north each spring. Last year’s winter count of Monarchs was the lowest since record keeping began 20 years ago. Scientists fear the number could be even smaller this year. In this month’s Environmental Outlook, Diane and her guests discuss why the monarch population is shrinking and how we can help preserve their habitat.
Smithsonian biologist Tamie DeWitt shows Diane how to hold, tag, kiss good-bye and release a Monarch butterfly.