Canadian Museum of Nature / Musée canadien de la nature

(19.06.2002 , Canada, Ottawa )
Canadian Museum of Nature exhibition about monarch butterfly reaches final destination in Mexico

OTTAWA, June 17, 2002 - A large exhibition about conservation of the monarch butterfly, produced by the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN), has reached its final destination in Mexico. Monarca: butterfly beyond boundaries debuted in 1993 at the CMN in Ottawa, then travelled to about 10 other sites in Canada and the United States before being recently donated to the natural history museum in Mexico City, the Museo de Historia Natural de la Cuidad de México. It will now become part of the museum's permanent exhibitions. Monarca was produced by the CMN in partnership with Monarca A.C., a Mexican non-governmental organisation, and the Canadian Nature Federation.

Monarca relates the story of the 4,000-km annual migration of millions of monarch butterflies that fly from as far north as Canada to a few, small hibernation sites located in fir forest habitats on mountain slopes in central Mexico. In fact, the locations of these wintering sites were a mystery to biologists until they were found in 1976, through efforts led by Canadian zoologist Fred Urquhart. This migration is the longest of any insect in the world, and efforts to protect the monarch's fragile habitats have involved collaborative conservation efforts in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

"We're pleased that the legacy of this important public education project will continue as the exhibition moves to its permanent home at the natural history museum in Mexico City," said CMN President Joanne DiCosimo. "Through the story of the monarch butterfly, we're able to show not only that nature knows no boundaries but also the fundamental importance of international cooperation in conserving wildlife and habitats."

"Today we initiate a new stage of this joint effort," noted Mexican Ambassador to Canada, Maria Teresa de Madero. "With the move of the exhibition to its permanent home in Mexico, a great educational opportunity is open to us. We are becoming more aware of the importance of protecting the environment and the monarchs have come to symbolize this effort."

"I congratulate the Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada's national natural history museum, for its efforts in presenting the story of the monarch butterfly and now its initiative in sharing it with the people of Mexico," said Minister of Canadian Heritage Sheila Copps. "This gift reinforces the active, important role of museums in raising awareness about our natural heritage and in communicating this value to others."

The trilingual exhibition (Spanish, English and French) includes modules modelled after village market stalls complete with a town square and a fountain. In addition to presenting information about the monarch's life cycle and migration, the exhibition advocates action to preserve the butterfly's habitats. The exhibition has also led to a number of other initiatives including a CMN-led educational exchange between high-school students in Canada and Mexico, and now a study exchange between environmental professionals in the two countries.

For more information, contact:
Dan Smythe
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature
Web site:

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