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“Butterflies Alive” Exhibit spreads awareness about almost extinct Monarch butterflies

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Scientists are debating if hot weather is causing the famous monarch butterfly to go extinct.

This orange and black insect is now on the endangered species list.

The impact on the community is negative both environmentally and emotionally.

A flutter of sadness swept over child Avery Bruton as she expressed, “I saw one thing that made me very sad today.”

The cause of her sadness was a torn butterfly wing.

This concern over these colorful critters is a testament to how much joy butterflies bring to kids like Avery.

Hues of blue, red, green, and orange hovered around the heads of museum goers at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum.

“It's a really great way for families to be immersed in nature and really hopefully get really curious about the pollinators in their garden, said the museum’s Director of Guest Experience Kim Zsemeik.

The butterfly exhibit that runs through Labor Day is called “Butterflies Alive,” but one of the species of butterflies — the black and orange monarch— is two steps away from extinction.

Butterfly expert Kim Zsemeik explained that even though the monarch butterfly now faces extinction, no federal protections have been put in place for the monarchs in California.

“We're really building a lot of awareness. The monarch biology and species is complex. Every year we learn more and more, understanding their behavior, their biology, their migration,” Zsemeik said

She started the conversation about conservation with museum visitors.

“When we are interacting with our guests here, we're talking about planting native California plants in their garden, native milkweed species that thrive really well in California, and providing spaces for monarchs to thrive in,” she said.

The public can also support the protection of large open areas known as land trusts.

This will allow wildflowers and native plants to thrive, which will in turn, help the monarch population to survive.

To learn more about the butterfly exhibit visit

Article Topic Follows: Animals
endangered species
monarch butterfly

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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