Mía Monroe is a remarkable person who plays a key role in the stewardship of two of California's environmental gems, Muir Woods National Monument and the monarch butterfly. As a ranger-naturalist at Muir Woods, just north of San Francisco, she has devoted her career to conserving this breathtaking ancient forest and returning salmon to its creek. Mía has also dedicated herself to California's monarch butterflies, spending hundreds of hours of her own time protecting the butterflies and the groves on which they rely for winter survival.
The Xerces Society is incredibly fortunate to have Mía as a volunteer. For over a decade, she has coordinated the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, a citizen-science program that identifies monarch overwintering sites in California and undertakes counts at each site to track the number of butterflies that overwinter each year. Mía organizes and trains dozens of people each year participating in the count, as well as visiting many, many sites on her own. The annual counts provide the only statewide data on monarch numbers, and have demonstrated significant declines at several sites.
This is a time-consuming and at times, tricky task. For many years Mía has been able to pull together monarch advocates with extraordinarily diverse interests, personalities, and concerns in order to understand and protect the butterflies they all love. In her own kind and modest way, ever thoughtful of the talents, contributions, and gifts of everyone else, Mía listens to all the concerns at hand and then finds a way to pull people together to take action on behalf of monarchs.
Mía's tireless efforts and low-key approach led Xerces Society founder Robert Michael Pyle to name her the Quiet Queen of California Monarchs. Without her efforts to understand and protect the monarch butterflies that fly to coastal California to overwinter, it is almost certain that their conservation would be less secure.
We thank Mía for her years of dedicated service to the monarchs of California!
If you would like to join Mía in future Thanksgiving counts, please visit our website to find out how.