Each spring, monarch butterflies migrate from Mexico to the United States, with many reaching the upper Midwest before they head south again for winter.
In March of 2019, etymologist David Hogg journeyed to Mexico to visit with them.
David shared a bit about his experience with the Waunakee Rotary Club at the Aug. 19 meeting, and while he was at it, gave his classification talk.
A native of Indiana, David met his wife Sue at Purdue University. They married and then traveled to California, where he studied for his PhD, then to Mississippi State University where he was hired afterwards. In 1979, Dave was offered a position at UW-Madison and was on the faculty there for 37 years. He and Sue, who just celebrated their 50th anniversary, moved to Waunakee to be close to their son, Chris, and his family. They also have a son who lives with his wife and children in Austin, Texas.
In his free time, Dave is a beekeeper, so if you’re interested in honey, let him know.
But back to the monarchs: Dave traveled to the Sanctuary of Mariposa Monarca. He noted that the monarch goes through four life states, first as an egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and then butterfly. The process lasts about a month. The caterpillars eat only milkweed, but butterflies enjoy nectar from a variety of flowers.
Migrating butterflies head to the Michoacán region of Mexico, a mountainous region with altitudes of 8,000 to 10,000 feet. They overwinter in oyamel firs, trees that grow between 100-150 feet tall. In the canopies, the temperatures are moderate, so the butterflies don’t get too hot or cold. They are susceptible to freezing, and if it gets too warm, they become active. Moderate temperatures help them conserve needed energy when food sources are scarce as they will soon begin the migration north.
Monarchs numbers have declined over the years although 2018-19 was a watershed year for them. Dave said logging in Mexico has opened some of the tree canopies that are needed to maintain the microclimate for monarchs.
In the United States, the use of herbicides and pesticides, along with farming practices that result in a loss of milkweed and other flowers, have affected the monarch numbers.
The Monarch Joint Venture is an umbrella organization for all of the conservation groups working to create a more hospitable habitat for the butterflies.
Waunakee is one of several communities to take the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge and plant more milkweed and butterfly gardens.  
Guests: Michelle McGrath, guest of Ross Maurer; Alex Welk, guest of Jim Kattner.
Visiting Rotarian: Carl Ochsner, Chico, California
Other news:
-Wauktoberfest is scheduled for Sept. 17-19, and volunteers will be needed to serve beverages. With a bigger tent this year, two bars will need tenders.
-Michelle McGrath of the Waunakee Community Cares Coalition introduced herself. A former Madison Downtown Rotary Club president, Michelle is also a District Governor nominee. She has also led the RYLA program. She will likely join the club for meetings in the future.
Birthdays: None.
Anniversaries: Aug. 30, David and Mary Jean Kennedy.
Greeters: Aug. 19, Aug. 26, Kevin Kearney and David Kennedy; Sept. 2, Tom Kennedy and Bill Kennedy; Sept. 9, Chrispin Kenney and Bob Klostermann; Sept. 16, Ryan Knight and Neil Kruschek; Sept. 23, Nancy Kuehn-Thomas and Drew Lawrence.