PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. - Residents of Pacific Grove joined in a ceremonial tradition, practiced by the indigenous tribe of Greater Monterey County, Saturday. "You feel like you really are doing something. I'm not out planting flowers, but I'm bringing a blessing to the earth," said attendee, Marge Ann Jamison.
The blessing is made each fall before the monarch butterflies migrate to the Central Coast. People admit that this year's ceremony takes on a deeper meaning, as a once thriving population takes a steep decline worldwide. "Everybody is concerned. Anything we can do, we will," said Jamison.
Many associate the decline with climate change. In 2018, only 700 monarchs made it to Pacific Grove's sanctuary. This is in comparison to the 7,000 counted the year before. "It needs to maintained. It needs to be protected. It's for the butterflies. They need to make sure they come back. There's a reason why they're not coming back," said the ceremony's organizer, Louise Miranda Ramirez.
Some continue to blame the city and say they cut away at the sanctuary years ago.
Residents recently raised thousands of dollars to bring new cypress trees to the sanctuary. They hope they will give the monarchs a place to call home through the winter.
"We just keep on coming, keep on blessing, and keep on praying that there will be a difference," said Ramirez.