The Monarch Migration Will Happen Soon
While you probably wouldn't notice while staying in city limits, the monarch butterfly migration is one of the coolest things to sweep through Oklahoma each year. Hailing from North-Central Oklahoma, I had never noticed it before moving to South Texas fresh out of school.
Back in 2004, I had been looking for a job since completing school, and it was taking a few months. Eventually, I was offered a job in a tiny town called Beeville, Texas, and the drive there was something else.
It was the middle of October, they had a big bicycle event going on much like the Hotter Than Hell 100, and there were millions of monarch butterflies everywhere. Literally. I cannot describe how thick these flying creatures were traveling those tiny two-lane highways.
I mentioned how odd I thought it was to all of my new coworkers, to which they told me about the great monarch migration that happens every year. I saw them as thick as heavy rain twice while I lived in South Texas before moving closer to home here in Lawton.
While I haven't seen that kind of natural occurrence here since then, there are still quite a few groups of monarchs that stop by the mountains on their way to warmer places to spend the winter. They might even stop over in Elmer Thomas Park at that tiny little butterfly garden the city council thought was more necessary than new roads, but no word yet on that investment of taxpayer funds.
As cool as it is, it's not something you'll probably see by staying at home or inside city limits throughout the months of September and October.
That's not to say you won't see monarchs flying around, you're bound to see them. You would just have the best odds of spying a group of these OKState-colored beauties would be hanging out in the refuge just about anywhere they can find a place to rest.
Why is this relevant? Because the monarch butterfly just landed on the international endangered species list. For whatever reason, they're overall numbers in the wild are shrinking at alarming rates.
Some scientists blame climate change, others suggest the rampant use of pesticides like RoundUp. As life-sustaining plant life disappears, it's only natural they'll also disappear.
What can you do to help? I can't tell you that. You could ditch the non-natural pretty flowers in your flowerbeds in lieu of native plant life and wildflower offerings, but unless we can get millions and millions of people on board with this, it'll likely be in vain. In the meantime, try to catch this spectacle this fall while you can, before it's gone forever.