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Feb 11th
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Butterfly Beach Bash

insectSANTA CRUZ > 26th Annual Migration Festival celebrates the journey of monarchs and other creatures

One of Santa Cruz’s most beloved winter residents—the monarch butterfly—is bidding farewell to its seaside home in search of greener pastures. Each year, from October to February, about 100,000 monarchs nestle in eucalyptus trees at Natural Bridges. By the first week of March, they have moved on to sources of milkweed, which serves as their food source and breeding ground during the spring and summer.

Each year, Natural Bridges State Beach celebrates the monarch’s journey with their annual Migration Festival. This year’s festival will be held this Saturday, Feb. 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival is used to draw attention to conservation efforts for a number of migratory animals, including gray whales, elephant seals, pelicans and the California newt, which makes a journey of less than a mile each year.

“The theme is to celebrate the migratory species that pass through Monterey Bay, as well as stress the importance of habitat protection,” says Chris Lynch, a representative for Natural Bridges. “Natural Bridges is both a sanctuary and a rest stop for a lot of these migratory species.”

Saturday’s festival will feature educational activities for children in attendance. More than 15 organizations will set up information booths and interactive activities. Representatives will be on hand to give presentations about different creatures, like bats and frogs. There will games, guided tours, arts and crafts projects, skits and plenty of other activity stations to keep the kids entertained.

For the adults in the crowd, a number of guest speakers will be present to speak about the animals and other conservation topics. The 5M’s Band (5M’s stands for Mostly Mediocre Music Monarch Mariposas) will also perform their peculiar brand of nature-inspired music, entertaining patrons with songs played to the tune of classic hits, but with a decidedly monarch-friendly twist.

Saturday’s event is free, but a day use parking pass is available for $10. Patrons can also purchase a picnic lunch at the festival, with proceeds benefitting education programs at the park. Of course, there will also be the traditional “habitat cake,” with complimentary slices available to anyone who needs to satisfy their sweet tooth.

For more information about the Migration Festival, visit parks.ca.gov or call 423-4609.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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