I am new to this and I hope I can help make a difference in the saving of the monarch butterflies! And I hope that by us all working together on this we can make a huge difference!
In addition to providing monarch butterfly habitat, the trees planted also protect critical watersheds and help convert marginal cropland into forests. The new forests, when pruned and thinned, also provide wood for cooking and heating, and an important source of income for the economically-depressed local communities. This new source of wood helps relieve the threat of illegal logging in and around the Monarch Biosphere Reserve.
Forests for Monarchs is a project of La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, Inc., a 501c(3) non-profit organization incorporated in Texas in 2007. They have planted nearly 7 million trees in Michoacán, Mexico since 1997. To ensure the survival of the monarch butterfly species, we must maintain that level of tree planting. By keeping administrative costs low, Forests for Monarchs can plant two trees for every $1 donated. These trees not only help save the monarch butterfly but help the people of the area.
I have been involved with this organization since its inception in 2007. The work we support is well organized and effective, and it provides significant benefits for not only the Monarchs, but also for the people who have lived with the Monarchs for untold generations, scratching a meager living from the land. Those who visit the monarch overwintering area of eastern Michoacán, Mexico will notice new patches of forest greening up the mountainsides. Many are the result of our collaboration with a successful Mexican tree nurseryman and local small land owners who live in the shadow of the monarch sanctuaries. Each year, we also participate in local reforestation events in the Monarch zone, by providing trees and logistical support. These events help educate children and adults to the need to preserve the forests, and promote good stewardship of the region's natural resources, as well as providing a healthy environment of the iconic Monarch butterflies which descend on the region by the millions each November.
Native Pine, Fir and Cedar tree seeds from the region produce robust seedlings that are distributed to eager farmers who devote their own labor and land to plant during the summer rainy season. We've planted millions of trees over these years, but the need is huge and we must continue. To do this we need the support of the public. We are now seeking a few major donors, who wish to make a difference, as well as many small contributions. All donations, no matter how large or small, help us continue to restore the environment for the Monarchs, and for us all.
We still are able to plant at least 2 trees with each dollar we receive.
I have been involved with this organization since it began, and have had many opportunities to participate in the distribution of trees, as well as reviewing plantings in the field. It is heart warming to see the new forests that are greening up formerly bare mountainsides that had been stripped of their natural forests. In June 2014, I had the honor to attend a school planting day near Zitacuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, where twelve 5th grade teachers had gathered over 600 children to plant trees on a badly degraded mountainside. I arrived with Sr. Alvarez, the project's Mexican partner, as he delivered 15,000 trees to be planted by the children, with the assistance of government foresters, and by local communities.
The need is great, and the desire on the part of the local communities to plant trees and restore their fallow fields and eroded lands is also strong. I am especially proud that in 2014 we finally reached our long term goal of planting 1 million trees in a single season. We are now seeking funds to help us continue planting at this rate.
I've been a contributor for many years after visiting the Monarch Biosphere in Michoacán in 2007. This is a terrific organization. Virtually every penny goes to planting trees and monitoring the forest. About 65-70% of trees planted are Oyamel Fir that the butterflies need for their winter roost. The rest are fast-growing trees that are used by the local population for firewood, erosion control, etc. Every dollar contributed plants two trees. In 2013, Forestsformonarchs.org (La Cruz Habitat Protection Project) planted one million trees.
The Monarch Butterfly population has declined by about 90% since 2000 and this iconic species is in danger of extinction, so support for this organization and planting milkweed and forbes in the States is critical for Monarch survival.
I first learned of LCHPP, Inc. in 2007 or 2008 while we were building our house in Zirahuen. I was told that LCHPP provided trees for reforestation. Our property had many old neglected peach trees but not much in the way of native trees except for jaras. I wanted to plant trees in order to provide habitat for wildlife. Just up the hill is a federal ecological reserve, in which I have seen rare wildlife species, By reforesting part of our property we would be creating a wildlife corridor connecting the reserve to the baranca (stream/ wetland) down the hill. Usually the trees from LCHPP are given to Mexicans to plant for future harvesting so that they aren't tempted to harvest trees from areas where the monarchs winter. We, on the other hand, are foreigners living in Mexico part of each year and have no intention of ever harvesting the trees. When they get old, they will provide homes for woodpeckers, owls and other wildlife. We planted 450 seedlings from LCHPP, consisting of 3 different kinds of oaks, 3 different kinds of cedars, 3 different kinds of pines and a few oyamils. The first 3 years we hauled bucket after bucket to keep them watered. I fed them with compost I made from manure, soil, leaves, grass, yeast, bran and sugar. Now, a few years later, some of the trees are more than 12 feet tall Several had nests in them. I have counted 27 species of birds in the area. A great biodiversity of plants, along with accompanying insects, has cropped up around the trees. This summer I planted 50 more trees. I also planted 50 trees with some students in Nocutzepo where I ran an after-school program to teach children about Nature. We discussed the benefits of trees to humans and the animals and other plants that depend on them. We drew and painted pictures of leaves and plants in watercolor. I have seen the monarchs at their wintering grounds in El Rosario. It is an amazing, mind-boggling event which could not happen without the trees providing shelter. I am working on paintings of monarchs on flowers to educate the public about them. I am planning a botanical art workshop in El Rosario to bring artists there to record the process.
I have first-hand experience about the ways in which the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project and its Forests for Monarchs Program are helping to restore the forests and watersheds of South-Central Mexico and improve the lives of the poor rural people who live in the project areas. I have met and been thanked by many of the local participants who plant our trees on their land, during more than nine years when I worked as a forester and conservation worker on this program. I have personally seen the soils and watersheds become improved, and seen locations where even mountain springs that had dried up on degraded lands have begun to flow again. Any positive impact we can have on these degraded forest areas is important for so many reasons. For example, it is not only indigenous people who have no developed water supply systems who depend on the mountain springs, it is also the overwintering monarch butterflies who must come out of their sanctuary roosts daily to drink from the springs. Of course, other wildlife and plants also benefit from the watershed restoration we are contributing to. Another outcome that is a testament to the success of this program is that the local people who started planting our trees back in 1998 are beginning to reap real economic benefits. These are benefits that they deserve for deciding to dedicate their lands and their labors to reforestation. These forward thinking people have planted trees to benefit their own lands and families, but by doing so they are also contributing to the conservation of remnant native forests by establishing alternative forests for human uses, which is the conservation strategy of the LCHPP organization. Contributors should know that the vast majority of this non-profit's funds go directly to producing and transporting trees to give away to the local land owners, as well as to document the plantings, provide technical assistance, and monitor tree survival. We do not pay the locals to plant the trees; they put a lot of their own resources into this. Most trees are given to indigenous communities and ejidos who plant on communal lands. If you talked to the local people they would ask you to support this program.
I was fortunate to become involved with this reforestation and forest restoration program in its first year - in 1997, when I was looking for a sabbatical project to work on in Mexico. In the beginning, we were a small organization doing small things. Fourteen years later, we are still a small organization, but now we are doing more – sprouting our way towards planting a million trees a year where they are badly needed: in the impoverished and degraded watersheds of south-central Mexico. It is gratifying to be able to stand on a lookout in some of our project areas and look around and see the mountainside greening up with woodlots that we helped get planted years ago. It is also gratifying to have been able to work with such dedicated, forward-thinking people as are the ones who make this program function, the local folk who ask us to help them reforest their lands, and those who support our work.
La Cruz Habitat Protection Project (LCHPP), working as 'Forests for Monarchs,' was able to plant an additional 600,000 trees in Central Mexico last summer (2011). And, despite a difficult economic climate and increased challenges to fundraising, LCHPP has committed to planting an additional 600,000 trees during the summer of 2012. I am proud to play a role in making a positive impact on the overwintering environment for millions of monarch butterflies; helping to improve the climate and economic stability for the local people who share these mountains with the monarchs; and yes, in improving the global climate, as well. We at LCHPP owe our successes and stability to those who support our work with financial contributions. Many thanks to all those who make our work possible.
Review from Guidestar
I am proud to be part of this organization that planted 600,000 more trees in 2011, bringing the cumulative total to close to six million trees in Central Mexico over the last 15 years. These trees protect the monarch butterflies overwintering habitats, help the indigenous people and benefit the environment, locally and globally. I am also proud that this year LCHPP added a new project: Forests for Haiti. Jose Luis Alvarez, the head of LCHPP- Mexico and Javier Hinojosa, a respected Mexican forester, went to Haiti to help a poor community, Bois Neuf, start a tree nursery. They worked in collaboration with The Haitian People's Support Project. They have just returned from a follow up visit 7 months later. The nursery has already planted many of the 200,000 various seedlings they started, including fruit, nut and medicinal trees in addition to ones to provide cooking fuel and others to protect the soil and water. There are always many challenges, but progress is being made and people's lives are being positively impacted, the whole community is involved and that is wonderful. We hope to raise enough funds to help establish another nursery in another community in Haiti. Of course, our work in Mexico is needed now more than ever and we need to continue to plant more trees there as well.
I have been raising, releasing and tagging monarchs since 1972 and in ’77 went in search of their winter hideaway in Mexico, which I found after a two month search. The next couple of years I had the great honor to camp out for weeks at a time among millions upon millions of monarchs. While there in 1979, deforestation was beginning to be a problem and has only accelerated at a rapid pace since then, threatening the monarchs, the habitat that protects them and the well being of the local impoverished people.
Having returned to Mexico almost every year since then, and vowing to do something to honor, respect and protect these sacred mountains and their inhabitants, I searched for solutions to the seemingly intractable cycle of poverty and environmental degradation.
It took many years before I found Jose Luis Alvarez and La Cruz Habitat Protection Project. He and his organization were carrying out my longstanding dream. Here was a sustainable reforestation program that was intelligently and successfully restoring forests in and around the monarchs over wintering habitats in Mexico while addressing the needs of the local impoverished people.
After visiting the nursery and the reforested sites, I became an avid supporter in 1999. LCHPP’s Forests for Monarchs project has grown over the years from a modest beginning in 1997 when it convinced 4 families to plant 7,000 trees, to the summer of 2010’s planting of 673,000 trees, bringing the cumulative to total to over 5 million trees, always at the low cost of 50 cents a tree.
This is an innovative and effective program that is much needed and deserves all our support, for the health of the monarchs and for the health of our planet. I am proud to have become a member of the Board of Directors.
I would like to comment on and commend the work of the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project. Over the years this group has provided free of charge forest trees native to the high Mexican mountains to farmers interested in reforestation and sustainable forest management. They have advised local farmers in the planting, and care of the seedlings succeeding in this effort to the extent that their seedling success rate is the highest in the entire area. They have convinced many and continue to convince that growing trees for profit is a an economic activity more suited to those high mountain ecosystems than is the growing of most agricultural crops. The result has been a bonus to both the locals who live on the land and to the monarch butterflies with whom they share the forests.
William Calvert, PhD
Monarch Butterfly Researcher
With our own green efforts keeping me responding to the hundreds of emails receive daily, I apologize for the delay in responding to this extremely worthwhile cause. In spite of our schedule with promotion of envirotablets.com, every effort is made to attend and invite others to presentations by Maralene Manos Jones. Personally, I am never short of amazed at the depth and breadth of her knowledge and the work that is being done by your organization. Please accept my prayers for continued success and growth in your efforts to keep our planet safe for all.
With my Warmest Regards,
Michael R. Wehr
I have been fortunate enough to hear Maraleen Manos Jones speak about the butterflies and their habitat. She was so informative and entertaining, I was spell bound for the entire lecture.La Cruz habitat protection project has been a wonderful organization that I have supported in different ways. If the butterflies die, we all will die, so I think it is of tremendous importance that it continue and thrive.
In 2005 I went to Mexico for the first time. Hiking in the Forests for Monarchs with Jose Luis, of LCHPP, gave me a tangible sense of how responsible we are for the life cycle and survival of the monarch butterfly.
It was alarming to see the remains of felled old growth trees, shelter and sustenance for the monarch, strewn about, in these beautiful mountains.
The rewards of so many young trees being planted by the local population, with an understanding that their futures are significant deserves support.
I hope to be able to return to the forests and help plant trees some time.
In today's world, when there are so many threats to the environment, it is very satisfying to know of the work of LCHPP. It is a holistic program touching the butterflies, the forest and the surrounding villagers. People, butterflies and forests, all benefit from the reforestaion project. It is important to tell the world that there are thousands of people who care passionately about saving the environment for these very special miracles of nature. Butterflies have a spiritual as well as a natural function in our lives. The butterflies must be protected and LCHPP is the best organization to lead this mission.
When I went on the very first trip organized to see the overwintering monarch butterflies in Michaocan, Mexico, I hadn’t realized that I would become quickly engaged in the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project as I learned all that it was doing and how it was going about saving the monarch butterfly habitats. The Project doesn’t just help protect the butterflies through reforestation, it also helps local families make a difference in their lives and communities as they become involved planting millions of trees to keep up with all those being destroyed for industrial paper and lumber. The residents see how planting trees also improves their own lives and environment– growing wood for their own use, preventing soil erosion, maintaining clean water and air quality, and enhancing eco-tourism.
I have been a supporter of LCHPP's Forest for Monarchs project for many years, even though I have never visited that part of Mexico. I have followed their efforts and progress, and I think the project is very effectiveand addresses many of the problems of the area simultaneously. I also like that they keep costs low so that about 85% of the money they receive goes directly into planting more trees. The planet needs more trees, the poor people in the area need trees for many reasons and certainly the monarch butterflies need the trees for their habitat. I can honestly and wholeheartedly endorse this project.
This charity does a number of wonderful things. It helps replant forests in Mexico where monarch butterflies spend the winter in order to help keep these beautiful creatures alive and flourishing. It also teaches sustainable forestry to the local people. They are able to develop the forests while still having wood for buidling and cooking and trade. So, it supports the people, the environment, and all creatures who rely on the forests to live.
For years I had wanted to travel to Michoacan, Mexico and witness the miraculous Monarch Butterfly Migration but my family was reluctant. Determined I proclaimed I was going with or without them. "One day if we do not stop the deforestation in this area, there could be no more monarchs!" Well to make a long story short, the 4 of them came along and due to Jose Alvarez's passion for the habitat protection project, it was an expereince of a life time. Not only was it extremely informative and thorough, that a portion of our fees went to planting trees, we felt as if we were being part of the solution. To travel and make a small difference, a small contribution to the health and well-being of our planet is a rewarding journey I was happy to afford my adult children. Jose Luis and his son Lucca were our guides throughout our stay. Their dedication to this remarkable place on this planet earth is to be commended! My family spreads the word of this project any chance we have as an expereince everyone must have before they die! Oh yes, I forgot to mention Jose Luis's family hacienda, marvelously eclectic! If you know of anyone who wants to see the Monarchs send them to La Cruz Habitat Protection Project!
My wife and I visited the monarch butterfly wintering areas in Michoacan a few years ago and were absolutely enthralled by the butterfly roosts. We stayed at Jose Alvarez's hacienda and toured his reforestation greenhouses. Travel to Michoacan is next to impossible nowadays because of the drug-related violence in that area, so tourism revenues are down. It is therefore especially important that LCHPP receive funding from other sources. It is a wonderful project. The monarch butterfly is one species that we must work hard to save.
La Cruz Habitat Protection Project doesn't just help local people plant trees to provide monarch butterfly habitat, it helps them plant hope for a stable economic future for the people of Michaocan, Mexcio by helping them grow wood for their use, prevent soil erosion that endangers their water sources, and improve their air quality.
By joining in the tree planting, I personally witnessed the evidence of this group changing people's behaviors and attitudes about their enviornment and their local economy.
I had the opportunity to visit La Cruz Habitat in 2007 for 4 days. I am an elementary teacher from the United States and had been given a grant to follow the Monarch butterfly from Indiana to Mexican mountain. Our tour guide, Maraleen Manos-Jones made arrangements for us to stay at the "habitat". We were shown the operation they have developed for reforestation in the mountains around the Monarch sanctuaries. Reforestation mostly consisted of replanting areas where the local populace had used the lumber for sustanance both cooking and making wooden items. We learned about their green approach to raising the seedlings, using compost for planting instead of taking soil from surrounding areas, fertilizing the seedlings with earthworm tailings, making their own equipment for watering and caring for the seedlings, engaging the local population in reforestation, asking school children to participate in owning the process by planting seedlings, and finally to educating farmers to give up part of their lands to plant the pine seedlings. The experience was life changing for me, and the more populace on this earth that hear about their efforts, the better our planet will be.
I know the leaders of LCHPP and have admired their dedication and accomplishments for several years. They are sensitive to the local social situations and extremely competent in producing, delivering, and managing the planting of the tree seedlings. Their supervision of planting and followup is crucial to success, and the organization is absolute tops in my experience.
Professor of Biology
Sweet Briar College and University of Florida, Emeritus.