Monarch Butterflies Migrate Through Western North Carolina - TribPapers

Monarch Butterflies Migrate Through Western North Carolina

The Monarch Butterfly is set to fly though this area, as it migrates to the high-elevation fir forests of Mexico’s Neovolcanic Mountains, where they overwinter until early spring. Photo courtesy of the NC Arboretum.

Asheville – Many activities are taking place throughout Western North Carolina to bring attention to the fact that the epic migration of the beautiful orange and black winged butterfly, the Monarch Butterfly, is truly endangered and needs our help to survive. The Monarch Butterfly is set to fly through this area, as it migrates to the high-elevation fir forests of Mexico’s Neovolcanic Mountains, where they overwinter until early spring. September 23 is considered a date with a high probability of success for those who want to catch a glimpse of this migration. A lot depends on weather patterns as they do not fly in the rain or at night. The peak of the migration in our area is usually late September/early October. A fascinating video describing the butterflies arrival in Mexico and the culture of the Day of the Dead in November can be seen at

Asheville GreenWorks’ Bee City USA Program Supports Monarch Migration Education at Local Schools

Many Asheville and Buncombe County teachers are engaging their students in monarch butterfly education. Before October 10th, teachers in Asheville and Buncombe County Schools may register their classes to participate in this program that pairs American classrooms with Mexican classrooms. To receive a free registration, they should contact According to the program, “In fall 2022, nearly 10,000 youth in the U.S. and Canada created symbolic butterflies and sent them to Mexico for the winter.” Students in schools near the Mexican monarch sanctuaries protected the butterflies and sent them north in spring 2023. These symbolic butterflies build bridges of communication between students in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. United by the monarch butterfly, children across North America learn authentic lessons of conservation, cooperation, and ambassadorship. Read about the Mexican school visits at

Groups of Henderson County youth are also invited to participate in the 28th annual Symbolic Monarch Migration education program. Milkweed Meadows Farm has volunteered to coordinate this program on behalf of Bullington Gardens and, along with other local sponsors, helps provide funding for classrooms/groups to participate at no cost. Milkweed–so vital to the butterflies’ survival–sales at upcoming plant sales will also help fund next season’s program. to register for the educational programs, go to:-

For Asheville GreenWorks to pay for the $15 Symbolic Monarch Migration registration fee, GreenWorks’ Bee City program is hosting a pollinator habitat raffle throughout the month of September. Each raffle ticket costs $25 and only 200 tickets will be sold for this custom 10’ x 10’ pollinator habitat. If GreenWorks sells 200 tickets, that could cover more than 300 teachers’ registrations! Buy your raffle ticket while supplies last for yourself or a friend now at The lucky winner will be announced on October 2, and their habitat will be installed in late October or early November.

A Pollinator Field Day

A Pollinator Field Day is planned on Saturday, September 23 from 10 am – 1 pm at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center at 74 Research Drive, Mills River, 28759. Many activities are planned including presentations discussing native habitat installation, bumble bees in NC, and Monarch butterflies, along with guided tram tours of the research station. Come learn all about pollinators and the native habitat they rely on for survival. This is an interactive day where visitors can catch insects with nets (if they choose!), talk with professionals, and learn about conservation and community science projects. There will be light refreshments, as well as free native plants to send home with participants! This is a FREE event, and all are welcome to attend.

Gorges State Park Mountain Monarch Festival

On Saturday, September 23, from 11 AM to 3 pm, the Gorges State Park in Sapphire will celebrate the 2023 Monarch Butterfly Migration. This will be at 976 Grassy Ridge Road, and admission is free. Fun activities for the whole family will be offered: The festival will offer educational programs and exhibits featuring the monarch butterfly, including children’s crafts, live music, a food truck, a festive photo board, local art for sale, milkweed and pollinator-friendly plants for purchase, and a Monarch Migration Passport to lead families through monarch-themed activities.

North Carolina Arboretum Celebrates the Monarch’s Visit to WNC

On Saturday, September 30th the Arboretum is celebrating Monarch Butterfly Day. Because of the Arboretum’s location along the eastern migratory route, and its abundance of native, nectar rich plants for pollinators, the Arboretum is an ideal refueling station for southbound monarchs with its many native, fall-blooming plants like goldenrods, asters, wingstem and blue mistflower.

Guests at Monarch Butterfly Day will be able to observe monarch butterflies in various life stages as well as connect with organizations devoted to preservation and support of monarch butterflies, while learning how they themselves can participate in conservation. Kids can enjoy art and craft activities while the Arboretum’s Adult Education program will offer a free class from Blue Ridge Naturalist Instructor Dan Lazar on this amazing migration! However, regular parking fees do apply

Inside the Baker Exhibit Center, attendees can get a first look at “Monarchs and Milkweed,” an immersive, multimedia experience running September 30 through January 7 that examines the relationship between these two species and how they have developed to depend on one another for survival.

This year’s festivities also coincide with the second day of the Fall Plant Sale and Market, held September 29 and 30. The twice-a-year plant sale has become a special destination not only for exploring unique plants grown by dozens of local farmers and from the Arboretum’s greenhouses, but also for enjoying live music, food, and fellowship. For more information about Monarch Butterfly Day, as well as all of the North Carolina Arboretum’s displays, events, programming and more, please visit