New Film: Monarch Migration Interview with Tom Emmel

Horses neigh, bugs crawl across the lens, and Monarchs flutter in the background —interview on the mountaintop and it was all beautiful! Video includes footage from my forthcoming film, Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly.

Monarch Migration Interview with Tom Emmel, filmed at the summit of the Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Angangueo, Mexico.

This was Tom’s 40th trip to Angangueo to study the Monarchs. In this interview, he provides some historical perspective from those very first trips to the remote Oyamel fir forests atop the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Mountains. We learn how scientists count millions of Monarchs. Tom discusses the state of the Monarch migration today and why it is in crisis.

Tom Emmel is the Director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florida, Gainesville. Additional footage shot at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve and at the base of Sierra Chincua.


  • Wonderfully informative!


  • Great interview ~ wonderful background for your film ~


  • I was waiting for this since the travel posts. gentle and poignant. Looking forward to seeing the operatic flight at 10:41 on a bigger screen just after Tom’s “migration phenomenon for over a million plus years…across 3 continents…no other migration in the world can match it among the insects.” Loved Tom’s hands/butterfly, and later the sweet boy’s. And the answer to how they count!-catherine


    • Thanks so much Catherine for your always kind support.

      I think I’ll make that quote a little tagline for the video–you are so smart!

      Tom is truly an amazing person, with his willingness to share his extensive knowledge so readily, and very kind, goodhearted, and with a great sense of humor, too.


  • What an amazing and inspiring film!! Loved learning more about the monarch migration and seeing the incredible footage of monarchs in Mexico!!


  • This wonderful documentary should be used I hope to rally organizations to require Monsanto AND farms receiving federal support of any kind to dedicate areas specifically for the planting of milkweeds and other lepidoptera resources near to but perhaps away from the crops. Gabe Hillel, Butterfly City Coordinator, for the City of Gainesville, FL


    • Thanks so much for writing Gabe. I think I ‘ll be in the Gainesville area in the not too distant future and look forward to learning more about your position as Butterfly City Coordinator.


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