Goleta Magazine 2017 - 44

Our famous
Monarch butterflies
E AC H FA LL , T H E W E S T E R N M O N A RC H
butterfly population migrates southeast from the west side of
the Rocky Mountains to sites along the California coast.
Goleta is fortunate to be home to multiple monarch
overwintering sites, the largest of which is the Ellwood
Main Monarch Aggregation Site, located along Devereux
Creek on the city-owned Ellwood Mesa Sperling Preserve.
The Monarch population typically peaks the first week in
January, and it is an amazing experience to see these beauties.
In the morning and on cool days, the monarchs hang in large
clusters on the eucalyptus trees, and can be seen basking
in the sun and flying throughout the grove on warm afternoons. The monarchs are most active during their mating
season in late January before they begin their migration
northeast to the western Rockies.
In decades past, the Ellwood population peaked at 100,000.
As recent as 2005, the monarch population at Ellwood

Main was more than 54,000. The exact reason for this
change in population is unknown-theories include habitat
destruction, exotic parasite predation and the loss of
milkweed (the only food source for monarch caterpillars)
due to drought.
The Ellwood monarch overwintering habitat is designated
an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA), and is
protected by both the California Coastal Commission and
the City of Goleta, which owns and maintains the grove.
In 2007, Goleta developed a docent program to provide
Ellwood visitors with on-site educational opportunities.
Docents enhance the visitors' experience by sparking
curiosity, helping build observational skills, and providing
information about butterfly biology, behaviors and migration.
Volunteers are at the grove each Saturday and Sunday (weather
permitting) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and lead field trips for
school and community groups during the week.

For more information, visit GoletaButterflyGrove.com
Look
for
these
signs:

GETTING THERE
The Ellwood grove is accessible through the Sperling Preserve at Ellwood Mesa Parking Lot. Follow the
trail to the left which is marked by butterfly signs.
If you're traveling northbound on the 101, take the Storke Road/Glen Annie Road exit and turn left
toward the ocean. Turn right on Hollister Avenue. After approximately 1.25 miles, you'll see the Ellwood
Mesa Parking Lot on the left. 
If you're traveling southbound on the 101, exit at Hollister Avenue and continue straight on Hollister
for approximately ½ mile. Turn right into the Ellwood Mesa Parking Lot. Additional parking is available
on the weekends at Ellwood School.

44

GOLETA MAGAZINE

GoletaChamber.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Goleta Magazine 2017

Contents
Goleta Magazine 2017 - 1
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