Monarch Butterflies Return to Goleta’s Ellwood Mesa
Recent Count Indicates More than 15,000 Butterflies Present
The City of Goleta is pleased to share that monarch butterflies have returned to Goleta! Over 15,000 monarchs are spending the winter at Goleta’s Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Grove. After completing a long journey from inland California, this group of butterflies is settled into the eucalyptus tree grove until February. 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.
George Thomson, Parks and Open Space Manager for the City of Goleta, said, “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.”
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 Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Grove is open to visitors. It 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. Visitors are encouraged to avoid parking in the adjacent residential neighborhood. For specific locations, please visit: https://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 contact George Thomson, Parks and Open Space Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-961-7578.
Pictured: Ellwood Mesa Butterfly Grove, December 2021, photo credit: Mike Eliason