Feel free to use/modify the press release below.  Select photos below, though all photos  are available for download and use  here. If you have more questions contact us by email or call Sara Dykman in Mexico (this is her number only while in Mexico) at +52 834 101 6617.  Note second Paragraph which needs to be edited with local information.

Press Release:

CYCLIST COMPLETES 10,201 MILE BIKE RIDE FOLLOWING THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES.

Every fall, the monarch butterflies arrive to the mountains of central Mexico, completing a round-trip, multi-generational, multi-national migration. This year the monarchs were accompanied by cyclist Sara Dykman (32), the Butterbiker. “I couldn’t fly like a butterfly, but I could bike like a butterbiker,” she explained. On December 10th, Dykman finished her round trip bicycle migration at the monarch sanctuaries, having pedaled 10,201 miles in nine and a half months.

Dykman visited____________ in _______________. During her time she saw/spoke/stayed/visted the... (here is a great place to say what we did and what you continue to do to help the monarchs. This would be the spot to outline monarch/garden organizations and extend an invitation to the community to join the effort).

Dykman's entire trip was made on a beat-up bicycle weighed down with everything from camping to video equipment. “My bike weighed way too much,” Dykman said, “but I went slow and steady.” Which, to Dykman, meant going about 60 miles per day, with rest stops to give presentations at schools and nature centers. At night she either camped or stayed with all sorts of different people. “From Mexico to Canada people were so willing to invite me into their house and let me experience a generosity found along the entire migration.”

And was the trip a success? “I’d say yes,” Dykman said, “my goal was to have an adventure that shined a spot light on the migration and taught people what they could do to help.” To do this, Dykman visited more than 50 schools, sharing her monarch conservation message and showing over 9,000 students what a real-life scientist, conservationist, and adventurer looks like. “I wanted kids to see that I am just a regular person following my dreams, ignoring the doubters, and being a voice for the monarch. I wanted to tell the monarchs’ story and invite students to be part of the team protecting the monarchs.”

In central Mexico this team is working to protect the oyamel fir forest where millions of monarchs overwinter in dense colonies. In northern Mexico, the United States, and southern Canada the team is encouraging people to grow milkweed and nectar plants, in an effort to combat the habitat loss which threatens the monarch population. “Milkweed is the only food source for the monarch caterpillars,” Dykman explained, “no milkweed equals no monarchs.” Dykman hopes that every homeowner and every school can plant a butterfly garden and learn to share the planet with nature. “By planting milkweed and native nectar plants in your yard, you can return some habitat back to the monarchs, and be part of the solutions,” Dykman encouraged. “If you grow it they will come.”

From Mexico, through the Midwest, into Canada and back, Dykman was inspired by the many examples of monarch gardens. Thanks to passionate homeowners, as well of public land and roadside managers, government officials, and schools, Dykman passed many butterfly gardens, roadside habitats, and wild land reserves. In all, she saw over 700 monarch adults and 500 monarch eggs and caterpillars as she cycled. “I didn’t see a monarch every day, but every day I saw people that could help the monarch,” said Dykman. “Every garden counts.”

Many of the people Dykman saw along the way didn’t just help the migrating monarchs, but they also helped her; inviting her to rest, shower, eat, and learn. “For me the biggest lesson I learned was that there is this passionate network of people fighting for the monarch,” Dykman reflected. “All our efforts add up to something big. You don’t have to quit your job and bike thousands of miles to help the monarchs. You can plant milkweed, plant native nectar plants, and be a voice for the monarch. That’s what my trip was all about.”

More photos and stories can be found at www.beyondabook.org

 

 Dykman biking with monarch butterflies at the overwintering grounds in Michocan, Mexico.

Dykman biking with monarch butterflies at the overwintering grounds in Michocan, Mexico.

 Millions of monarchs cling to the branches of the Oyamel Firs in central Mexico. The populations have seen an 80% decline in the last 15 years.

Millions of monarchs cling to the branches of the Oyamel Firs in central Mexico. The populations have seen an 80% decline in the last 15 years.

 Dykman finds caterpillars along the roads she bikes, and she encourages folks to leave this roadside habitat alone and give the monarchs a chance.

Dykman finds caterpillars along the roads she bikes, and she encourages folks to leave this roadside habitat alone and give the monarchs a chance.

 Dykman cycles by monarch caterpillars eating milkweed, their only food source. The decline in milkweed is a major cause of monarch declines.

Dykman cycles by monarch caterpillars eating milkweed, their only food source. The decline in milkweed is a major cause of monarch declines.

 Dykman bikes by milkweed plants and nectaring monarch butterflies. Roadside habitat is some of the last remaining space for monarchs and Dykman encourages folks not to mow until after the monarchs have left on their migration.

Dykman bikes by milkweed plants and nectaring monarch butterflies. Roadside habitat is some of the last remaining space for monarchs and Dykman encourages folks not to mow until after the monarchs have left on their migration.

 Dykman does her "monarch happy dance" with students in Kansas City, MO. (photo credit: Citizen's of the World Kansas City)

Dykman does her "monarch happy dance" with students in Kansas City, MO. (photo credit: Citizen's of the World Kansas City)

 Nadia Navarrete-Tindall was one of many people Dykman stayed with. Nadia's garden is a great example of planting natives and the importance of leading by example. Her neighbor now mows around the milkweed that has spread to her yard. A great example of every garden counts.

Nadia Navarrete-Tindall was one of many people Dykman stayed with. Nadia's garden is a great example of planting natives and the importance of leading by example. Her neighbor now mows around the milkweed that has spread to her yard. A great example of every garden counts.