Biking with Butterflies
By Shawn O'Sullivan
“I didn’t see a monarch every day, but every day, for eight and a half months, I saw the people who could save them.”
Sara Dykman is on a mission. A mission to bring the natural world up close to students through her organization Beyond a Book - educational adventures in Nature. She wears many hats; explorer, conservationist, educator, biologist, author, and, oh yes, cyclist. This modern day John Muir on a bicycle has traveled via bus, boat, and bike through 49 states, South and Central America, and Canada - to raise awareness of conservation and biodiversity issues. She and her team of teachers, biologists, and naturalists even apply common core standards to their events (but don’t tell the kids that, they just think it’s fun.)
Sara’s latest project, ButterBike, saw her cycling alongside monarch butterflies as they migrated from Mexico to Canada and back again. During a 10,201 mile, 17 month journey, which spanned 5 generations of monarchs, she documented the plight of the this threatened species in blogs, videos, photos and through presentations to schools and community groups. This connection to people has made her ambassador extraordinaire to these majestic creatures. After reading her article in Orion magazine I too desperately wanted to be one of those people who could save the monarch.
That article has since morphed into a book, Biking with Butterflies, which given her delightful prose promises to be an exciting read. Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger for Peace, notes “They share an epic journey and encounter hardships, but they do not give up. The book is a lament for our thoughtless destruction of nature and at the same time a celebration of the beauty that remains. The migration of the monarch butterflies is one of the wonders of the world - we must save it for future generations.”
Want to take part in the saving of one of the wonders of the world? You don’t have to travel 10,000 miles. Join Journey North to check out where they are headed, and join Monarch Watch to tag them as they fly through the gardens in your town… Just make sure there is some milkweed planted for them!
Link to the Orion article .
If you would like to see more of ButterBike or Beyond a Book the adventures start here.