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The Monarch in You -- by J'Hrenara Rios (student intern)

My journey begins here. 

Fresh out of my mothers egg I am proudly meant

To be seen in my vivid stripes of yellow, black, and pearly white. Yes, here I am a warning but do not fear I assure you I would never bite. 

Feasting on milkweed in a garden especially designed just for me. 

Oh so special! 

I must be a blessing worth saving ?

I have heard soft whispers that over 90% of my fellow friends do not make it to my mothers stage here in the state of California.

Fortunately this garden is our sanctuary for us to feed and simply just be.

Now I am one as evergreen.

Humans say I am camouflage, but I just prefer to be unseen. 

Here without my suite of armored stripes, I am most vulnerable to my outside world as an innocent child away from their mothers sight. 

This state is critical and a sign to many of rebirth.

For after this stage the caterpillar I once was will be forever gone.

Yet proudfly the memories I created along the way will always continue to live on and on. 


Rejuvenated from the encasing of my chrysalis

My wings are fragile and can barely unfold.

Painted with freckles of snow white dots 

Let the colors of my wings reveal what it is like to have the orange of the sunset clash with the pitch black of night.

Whether I am destined to be a year round monarch or a great trip awaits me, there is so much I can be.

I can be a sunner basking in the rays of light on a Eucalyptus tree.

If I prefer some alone time I can be a loner and please just leave me be. 

Sometimes my friends join me in a cluster or a group of at least three. 

Or maybe I will go see the sights and be a flier

against the sky.

The end of my journey. 

Being me is not truthfully so easy.

My once fresh wings can become shriveled and torn from a long flight across the mountains to the bay. 

Nevertheless my migration symbolizes a wild spirit, one who is only bound by the constraints of a warming climate.

That being said, there is no person of any background to be excluded from doing their part in preserving what little remains of my kind.

For your only bounds are that of love and perseverance. 

So I encourage you to go out, grab a pair of binoculars and see not just with your eyes, but now with an open mind.

A monarch lives in all of us. 

If my younger self could see me now she would probably never believe it was true. While I still am unsure of exactly what I want to do with a degree in Insect Biology, being a volunteer on Gill Tract Farm has shown me there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have enjoyed my time learning about the Monarch Butterflies and their impact on every member of the community. I always see them as a sign of aspiration, because knowing they can migrate across great distances and still remain beautiful means I too can persevere through my own obstacles. I hope this poem followed by the imagery of different life stages of the Monarch butterflies can also shed some light on their significant role not just as pollinators to the planet, but how much they rely on the help of every community member to keep their species alive. If you want to learn more about ways to help here are some useful links:

Written by J’Hrenara Rios, student intern at Gill Tract Farm

Photos by J'Hrenara Rios


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