Maria Rodale visits the monarch sanctuary, searches real hard to blame something that’s not organic for the decline. Besides, isn’t it the caterpillars someplace else that munch the milkweed?
I arrived around 10 a.m. and saw…nothing. OK, I saw one tiny monarch flitting about like it was a bit drunk. The sanctuary itself is also kind of…sad. Its entrance is between a motel and some garbage cans. It’s very small, and surprisingly, there was no gift shop! I thought back to when I researched the place on the Web and recalled that it was very hard to find. Hmmm…
Undaunted, I drove downtown to the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, where I asked what was going on. “Oh, they are there. If you go back at noon there is a docent who will show them to you. They can be hard to see.” But, I asked, was the population declining? “Absolutely,” she said. The current population was only a quarter of what it was just 10 years ago, she added. I asked what she attributed it to and she said “urban growth, habitat loss, lack of milkweed.” What about agricultural chemicals? I asked. “Oh, that’s more of an East Coast problem,” she said.