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Journey of the Butterflies

Follow the 2,000-mile migration of monarchs to a sanctuary in the highlands of Mexico. Airs November 30, 2011 on PBS.

 

 

Watch The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies on PBS. See more from NOVA.

Program Description:

Orange-and-black wings fill the sky as NOVA charts one of nature's most remarkable phenomena: the epic migration of monarch butterflies
across North America. To capture a butterfly's point of view, NOVA’s filmmakers used a helicopter, ultralight, and hot-air balloon for aerial
views along the transcontinental route. This wondrous annual migration, which scientists are just beginning to fathom, is an endangered
phenomenon that could dwindle to insignificance if the giant firs that the butterflies cling to during the winter disappear.

However,

Monarch butterflies are few and far between in Texas this year
Posted Wednesday, Nov. 02, 2011 Updated Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011
By Chris Vaughn Fort Worth
cvaughn@star-telegram.com

It is one of the most amazing migrations in all of the world, not least because the animal making the 3,000-mile journey weighs half a gram
and North Texans often see the ancient journey from their back yards and gardens.

But, with only isolated sightings, the last few weeks proved disappointing for monarch butterfly watchers in virtually all of Texas. Normally
the butterflies' migration from the Red River to the Rio Grande Valley is hailed as one of autumn's great marvels.

"I've seen probably four monarchs in the last three weeks," lamented Michael Warriner, an invertebrate biologist with the Texas Parks &
Wildlife Department in Austin.

The likely reason lies in the merciless drought, which dramatically reduced the butterflies' main food source as they moved south for the winter.
The shortage of nectar from blooming plants, plus thousands of acres scorched by wildfires, likely meant that the migratory pattern was dispersed over a much greater area as the butterflies sought food. Based on informal reporting by residents, the overall count appears to be below average.

"The pattern was widespread, all the way from the I-35 corridor to the Davis Mountains," said Mike Quinn, an entomologist who is coordinator
of Texas Monarch Watch, part of a monarch educational and research organization based in Kansas. "They usually aren't that widely distributed."

Mysterious and remarkable

The monarch butterfly, like Pacific salmon and the gray whale, makes a jaw-dropping annual migration that must be mysteriously plugged into
its genetic makeup, made all the more remarkable because no single monarch makes the entire round-trip journey. Their offspring and their
offspring's offspring know what to do and where to go on their own.

The monarch has an outsize reputation among nature lovers in the Plains states.

Grapevine, for example, has an annual festival -- the Butterfly Flutterby -- to celebrate the migration.

"They have this mystique," Warriner said. "They're easily identifiable, they're pretty, they don't sting, they're interesting and there's that
migration. Popular interest has just built up."

Most of the insects begin in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region in August and September, flying on thermals and fronts across North America to spend the winter in a compact mountainous area of central Mexico's Michoacan state. They usually move through Texas during
October, fattening up along the way on the nectar of flowers, trees and virtually anything else that blooms.

"Doing a cross-continental marathon, they are actually gaining weight, which is counterintuitive," Quinn said. "By the time they reach their
over-winter grounds in Mexico, they are supposed to have their highest fat content, which they essentially live off of during the winter."

A depressing sight

But Quinn said he drove through the Hill Country last month and was disappointed in how many dead plants and how few butterflies he saw.

"The drought really appears to have had profound effects on the flora," he said. "The juniper is dying in wide patches, and that's one of the last
trees I would have thought would be impacted. Walking along riverbeds, there were almost no nectar sources. That suggests the monarchs
would be pretty stressed coming through Texas."

Researchers and professors will get a better count of the monarchs once they arrive in their winter grounds in Mexico in a few weeks. That will
also allow researchers to gauge their weight, which will in part determine how they fare in the cold.

Especially harsh winters have led to significant die-offs within the colony, but they have typically happened in years when the population was
robust. This winter, researchers are hoping for mild temperatures so that a major loss doesn't coincide with a below-average count.

"The long-term trend over the last 15 years is downward," Quinn said. "Every year, there are, on average, fewer in Mexico. We're getting closer
to that point when we'll have a die-off in a low-numbers year, which would really be an unfortunate situation. We'll know more in the spring
when we see them coming back."

Chris Vaughn, 817-390-7547


Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/11/02/3495484/monarch-butterflies-are-few-and.html

 

Yes You Can - A Book Created to Motivate (Author: Arthur G. Affleck, MEd, JD, Provider:


Yes You Can… is a book about possibility. At its best, it seeks to motivate, inspire and empower young
people to achieve their goal of going to college. This book will be helpful to any student, but it will be
especially useful to those students who have what it takes to finish high school and go to college but who
may be experiencing doubts and negative peer pressure.

Arthur G. Affleck, MEd, JD is the author of Yes You Can. He is an educator, attorney, fund raising consultant,
and writer who has spent most of his career in the education arena. He is also the spouse of Mrs. Dianne Affleck,
UNC Chapel Hill NC-MSEN PCP site coordinator.

To learn more about the author and the book Yes You Can, as well as where you can purchase one, please
check out the media kit and press release (in pdf).


Pre-College Program Benefits North Carolina

Sherick Hughes, a former MSEN Pre-College student, has conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the MSEN Pre-College Program,
comparing the program's costs to the state to its benefits in increased earnings.  This study shows that the benefits of the Pre-College
Program to the state of North Carolina outweigh its costs.

Sherick Hughes, a former Pre-College student at Elizabeth City State University who is a recent graduate of the Master of Public
Administration Program and currently a doctoral student at UNC-Chapel Hill, has conducted a study that determines the costs of
sending the 234 African Americans in the 1998-1999 Pre-College graduating class through the program for four years.  He then
estimated the number of these students who enrolled in college solely because of the MSEN Pre-College Program and determined
the amount of the increased earnings of those students who were expected to stay and work in North Carolina. 

It was determined that, due to higher educational levels, these individuals would contribute more to the economy of North Carolina in
increased earnings than the state had spent to put them through the program.  Hughes estimated that it would take six to seven years
after high school graduation for the benefits of the Pre-College Program to outweigh its costs for this group of students and that the net
benefits of the program were likely to increase as long as they stay and work in North Carolina.  In fact, if these students, who attended
college solely because of MSEN and then stayed in North Carolina, lived and worked in the state until retirement at age 64, the economic
benefit from their increased earnings would exceed $3.86 million and would surpass the entire cost of the program for the four years they
were in it.

This study has been published in the February-March 2002 edition of The High School Journal.  The article is entitled "The MSEN
Pre-College Program: What are the Costs and Benefits Based on Estimates of its Impact on Black High School Graduates?  

If you would like to receive more information about this study, please contact the network office at (919) 966-3256.

 

Weblinks of partnerships and collaborations with NC-MSEN Pre-College Program, as well as other professional and educational associations:

National Science Teachers Association and North Carolina Science Teachers Association
- promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- serves as an advocate for mathematics education and is one of the nation's largest and most active state mathematics organizations

American Association of Physics Teachers
- professional development for physical sciences educators

National Association of Geology Teachers
- fosters improvement in the teaching of earth sciences at all levels of formal and informal instruction

National Academy of Sciences
- a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research.

National Research Council
- principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities

National Association for Research in Science Teaching
- promotes research in science education at all levels

Association for the Education of Teachers in Science
- promoting leadership in, and support for those involved in, the professional development of teachers of science

Council for Elementary Science International
- an organization for elementary and middle school science educators

National Science Education Leadership Association
- assists in the development of science leadership in order to implement reform in science education

National Association of Biology Teachers
- professional association for educators in the life sciences

The Mathematical Association of America
- the world's largest organization devoted to the interests of collegiate mathematics, with a major emphasis on the teaching of mathematics at the collegiate level

NC Middle School Association
- fosters excellence in education for emerging adolescents

The Science House
- a K-12 mathematics and science learning outreach program of NC State University which provides teacher training and school support programs and student science activities for schools across the state

NC Department of Public Instruction
- information for parents, teachers, and administrators on education in NC

North Carolina Teacher Academy
- a professional development program for teachers established and funded by the North Carolina General Assembly

North Carolina Principal Fellows Program
- allows highly-qualified students to earn the Masters of School Administration (MSA) degree

The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching
- Organization providing seminars and other training for teachers in order to advance teaching as an art and a profession

Center for the Prevention of School Violence
- focuses on ensuring that schools are safe and secure so that every student is able to attend a school that is safe and secure

North Carolina Early Mathematics Placement Testing Program (NC EMPT)
- offers a straightforward and timely "reality check" of a high school student's readiness for college-level mathematics

North Carolina Alliance to Create Opportunity Through Education (OPT-ED)
- a partnership among NSF-sponsored programs across North Carolina, including NC-MSEN Pre-College Program

North Carolina Business Committee for Education
- involves businesses in initiatives to prepare North Carolina's students to be nationally and globally competitive

GlaxoSmithKline
- funds programs for the advancement of education, science, and health

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
- serves the needs of the people of North Carolina by granting funds to assist in pre-college education, community economic development, environmental issues, minority issues, and women's issues

The Carnegie Corporation
- grantmaking corporation founded by Andrew Carnegie that promotes the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding

The Hearst Foundation, Inc. - foundation that awards funds for projects that affect Education, Health, Social Service and Culture

North Carolina Association of Biomedical Research
- supports science literacy through teacher workshops, lesson plans, career and internship information for students and other resources

American Association for the Advancement of Science
- professional association for scientists, full-time students, postdoctoral fellows and residents that supports science education, public understanding of science and scientific freedom and responsibility

National Science Foundation
- an independent U.S. government agency responsible for promoting science and engineering through funding research and education projects

American Chemical Society - includes a section on educational resources for use in K-12 classrooms.

Weblinks of Curriculum Development

Biological Sciences Curriculum Study
- develops exemplary, inquiry-based science curricula at the elementary and middle-school levels, in addition to biology programs for high school and undergraduate college students

Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
- provides K-12 teachers with a central source of information on mathematics and science curriculum materials

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
- professional development in curriculum & supervision

 

Please check back later for more resources.

 

 

 
 

Last Updated: March 5, 2013
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