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Lyle Zapato

Monarchs Come Home

Lyle Zapato | 2013-05-19.7560 LMT | Nature | Art

Here's a poster I designed last year for the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History's Monarchs Come Home exhibition.

Every autumn monarch butterflies from Cascadia return to Pacific Grove, CA to overwinter, forming large clusters on the Monterey pine and eucalyptus branches around the Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary. When it's cold and they're inactive, the paler undersides of their folded-up wings give them the appearance of dead leaves from a distance. The number of monarchs returning dropped precipitously in 2009 when city workers mistakenly trimmed the eucalyptus trees they use, but they've been increasing since then.

My poster depicts their return and the beginnings of a cluster as they settle in for the winter. The font is Enemy Sub, also seen on my New Dawn for the Tree Octopus poster. Here's a close-up detail of the foreground monarch:

Monarch butterfly detail

Speaking of tree octopuses (shocking, I know!), Annie Holdren, PGMNH Exhibitions Curator, sent me this interesting snippet she found in the museum scrapbooks:

Pacific Grove Museum Association, Papers Read at the Quarterly Meeting, September, 1906

Paper read by Director J. Ivey

The proceedings were brought to an enthusiastic conclusion by the unveiling of some specimens recently captured in the Bay and vicinity, which included two real Johah whales, 250 feet long; one large octopus, which when tired out by the plucky sportsman near Lovers Point, took refuge in the Forest back of the town and got entangled in a wire fence on Carmel Hill, and was captured. Dr. Jordan, the authority on such matters, declared this to be the only amphibious octopus ever known except Standard Oil and Amalgamated Trusts.

The last of the Pacific Grove Tree Octopuses, extinct thanks to wire fencing. Hopefully the monarch butterflies will fare better.

End of post.