Continuing the A to Z Challenge!
Today we have:
M is for Monarch Dragon
Look at the amazing colors in this beautiful dragon! This is Monarch by American deviantartist hibbary, also known as Hillary Luetkemeyer. It’s an image that just screams warmer weather, don’t you think?
Happily, we’re finally seeing some nice weather here in Minnesota! It’s been between 60-70 degrees F (15-21 degrees C) for the end of this work week in the afternoons, which means I’m back on my bike, yay!
But it’s only mid-April, so there’s probably one more snowstorm in the forecast before we can have a real spring, that will then jump right into summer. For those not in the American Midwest who think I’m joking, check out these local news stories from just a few years ago:
While I long for spring, I think the artist hibbary is evoking the colors of autumn here because Monarch butterflies are well known for their late-summer/early autumn migration south from Canada and the U.S. to the warmer climes of Mexico.
I remember seeing them everywhere when I was growing up in Wisconsin, and while I’m not a fan of bugs, I can at least appreciate their beauty from afar and their place in the natural order as an “iconic pollinator species,” as the Wikipedia page puts it. It also says that:
The monarch is the state insect of Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia. It was nominated in 1990 as the national insect of the United State, but the legislation did not pass.
Interesting… I live in Minnesota, and didn’t know that it was our state insect. Are you from any of those states, and did you know this?
But then, another thing I learned from the Wiki page made me sad. Monarch butterflies are in serious trouble. It cites a Scientific Reports article by Brice X. Semmens et. al.:
After a ten-fold drop in the population of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last decade, [this] 2016 study predicted an 11%-57% probability that this population will go extinct over the next 20 years.
It goes on to say that the Monarch isn’t even listed as an endangered species here in the U.S., although there’s been a push to change that since 2014. I can’t imagine what it would be like in 20 years, to look back and think, “I remember Monarch butterflies…” Any species going extinct is heartbreaking, of course, but this one hits really close to home and to childhood memories. 😦
But perhaps there is hope. For more information on how you can help preserve the Monarch butterfly, check out this site by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called Save the Monarch Butterfly. There, they have resources for people interested in saving this important butterfly species.
Every backyard can become an oasis for monarchs and other pollinators — even in cities. Schools, youth and community groups, businesses, and state and local governments can engage in planting native milkweed and protecting monarch habitat along roadsides, rights of way, and other public and private lands.
It seems hibbary really likes the Monarch’s wings, because she used similar coloring in the wings of this adorable Faerie Fox, another piece from her deviantart site. Go check her out for much more amazing art.
And then, in case you haven’t gotten enough Monarchs yet, I just came across this E! Online article about the Monarch Butterfly Dress that Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) wore in the Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Click the link to see the full-length dress, it’s pretty amazing!
I know we strayed pretty far from dragons today, but sometimes I find a tangent and it runs away with me. Thanks for reading! Come back tomorrow as I continue the AtoZ Challenge — No spoilers, but it just might involve a certain boy wizard book series (and lots more dragons!). 😉 Stay creative!