PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. - Residents in Pacific Grove proved they are willing to do the heavy lifting, this year.
Fifteen new cypress trees were brought into the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, Friday. Volunteer Bob Pacelli hopes they will be the reason monarch butterflies thrive on the Central Coast. "We're doing all this stuff this year to try to bring them back. If these trees do fill up with monarchs, it'll be a miracle," said Pacelli.
Come October, you can find monarchs resting together in the branches. Scientists at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History go to the sanctuary in the early hours of the morning to count each one. Last year, they only counted 900. The year before, they counted over 7,000. Many associate the decline with climate change. "This was seen across the entire western monarch population. Up and down the California coast, in these overwintering sites, experienced an 85% decline on average," said Nick Stong, with the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.
Pacelli is leading up the effort to make Pacific Grove more "butterfly-friendly." On Tuesday, the City Council approved Pacelli's plan to bring in boxed cypress trees. Pacelli said the city cut away at the sanctuary years ago. This year, he wants to rebuild it. "We've seen the monarchs cluster on existing trees, but they couldn't spend the winter. They were blown away. I would hope these trees would support the trees that have already been holding the monarchs," said Pacelli.
While there is no guarantee that the monarchs will arrive year after year, residents make sure they will always have a home. "Along with that gift comes an incredible responsibility, and it's our responsibility," said Pacelli.
The boxed tree project is fully funded by donations. To donate, visit: GoFundMe.com.