The City of Goleta announced that Monarch butterflies have returned to Goleta at the end of the year, where over 15,000 of these beautiful insects are spending the winter at Goleta’s Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Grove.
According to the City, after completing a long journey from inland California, this group of butterflies is settled into the eucalyptus tree grove until February.
At the same time, George Thomson, Parks and Open Space Manager for the City of Goleta, mentioned that the return of the Monarchs this year is especially exciting since it is a sign of hope that their population is increasing after many years of concerning, low numbers.
“Ellwood Mesa is the gateway to the Gaviota Coast and a great place to escape for a quiet walk. We are so fortunate to witness one of nature’s great migrations right here in our own backyard,” said Thomson.
The best time to visit the Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Grove is during mid-day, when monarchs are flying around and more visible.
If visiting during early-morning hours, or during cooler days, look for clusters of butterflies clinging to the ends of branches.
“Please don’t throw objects at clusters of butterflies or shake branches to get them to take flight. Please also remember to keep dogs on-leash,” the Thomson said.
The Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Grove is open to visitors, and is free to the public, with parking available on the 7700 block of Hollister Avenue.
The Butterfly Grove is a 20-minute walk from the parking lot and visitors are encouraged to avoid parking in the adjacent residential neighborhood.
For specific locations, please visit, www.tinyurl.com/goletabutterflygrove.
The City of Goleta is planning habitat and trail improvements for Ellwood Mesa, including the Monarch Butterfly Grove.
To find out more, or for questions about visiting the Butterfly Grove, please call, 805.961.7578.