Daughters of the Sun, May 20

Monarch butterfly on a flower
Monarch butterfly, courtesy of stanbalik from Pixabay (public domain)
Species: Monarch butterfly
Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus
Status: In 2020, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced that listing was warrented, but "precluded" by higher priority listing actions, and has proposed that they be listed in 2024.
Origami monarch butterflies, courtesy of Endangered Species Coalition

The monarch butterfly is at risk of extinction. Monarchs face numerous threats, from extreme weather due to climate change to the liberal use of pesticides, like Monsanto’s RoundUp, to habitat loss and fragmentation. The monarchs that live in the Western United States have declined by over 99%. Despite this fact, they are not protected under the Endangered Species Act.

In December 2020, the US Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the butterflies warrant Endangered Species Act protections, but precluded listing them due to backlog and limited funding. This was a huge blow for the species and maintained their slow flutter toward extinction. Learn more about Monarch butterflies and see what you can do to help protect them.

Additionally, save the date because June is Colorado Pollinator Month! If you have any pollinator-related events during the month of June, please email People and Pollinators Action Network and they will share it on their calendar!


A huge thank you to our Daughters of the Sun partners:

Denver Urban Gardens logo
Endangered Species Coalition
People and Pollinators Action Network

Here are some things you can do to learn more about Monarch butterflies and pollinators:


Join our friends at The Nature Conservancy for Nature Connects: Native Plants, Pollinators, & Gardens
Thursday, May 20, 11:00 am MT
Registration: Register to save your seat.

Spring has arrived in Colorado! Join us to hear from a master gardener, bumble bee expert and an ecologist on the importance of native seeds, plants and pollinators. Be prepared for an interactive discussion on native plant alternatives for your gardens, creating habitat for native bees and why local seeds matter. The first 50 people to RSVP will receive a native seed packet, created just for your zone in Colorado. (Colorado residents only).

Visit (Safely with Distancing):

For Everyone:

The Daughters of the Sun
Through May 31, 2021, plus special crafts on Saturday, May 22!
Museum of Boulder at Tebo Center, 2205 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
Sponsor: Endangered Species Coalition

To raise awareness for the plight of the monarch butterfly and their connection to us all, the Endangered Species Coalition, together with approximately one hundred Colorado volunteers, folded over 3,000 origami monarch butterflies. Within each piece of origami, the volunteer wrote their name, location, and why protecting monarch butterflies is important to them. Each origami monarch thus became a prayer, intention, or blessing to help protect the declining species. 

For us, monarch butterflies represent connection. For thousands of years, humans have watched the butterflies migrate yearly from present-day North America to Mexico and back again. Historical records show that the monarch played a huge role in ancient civilizations, such as the Toltec, Mayan, Teotihuacan, and Aztec. Their migration links human communities all the way from Canada to the traditional lands of the Mazahua people in Mexico. Just as living monarchs connect our communities, each person that folded an origami monarch is connected by this monarch web and also connected to you.

The piece, entitled The Daughters of the Sun, was created by Cal Duran in partnership with the Endangered Species Coalition. Cal is a Denver-based artist with roots that bridge India and the native people of this land. His Latinx heritage gives him a special connection to the monarch butterfly, which made this project a natural fit for him.

Walk into the monarch habitat, made of paper and fabric, and feel the connections that transcend time, geography, cultures, and ecologies. 


For Adults:

For Kids:


For Adults:

*If you join any of these programs, you can also choose to submit your accomplishments and report your results to People and Pollinators Action Network at the Pollinator Summit on November 4! If you’re interested, please email People and Pollinators Action Network.

For Kids:


For Adults:

“How to Create Your Own Monarch Butterfly Rest Stop,” from National Geographic (5 min)

For Kids:

“Flowers and Their Pollinators: A Perfect Match,” from SciShow Kids (5 min)

“Monarch Butterfly, Amazing Animals,” from Nat Geo Kids (1 min)

“How a Caterpillar Becomes a Butterfly,” from SciShow Kids (4 min)

Check out our Colorado Endangered Species Week page for more days of activities!