Golf Courses are major Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Sites

Chuck Vaughn aa6g at
Tue Jun 16 11:38:29 EDT 1998

Paul Cherubini wrote:
> In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, two large colonies are
> located on golf courses in Hayward and San Leandro (between Oakland and
> San Jose).  The Sky West Golf Course in Hayward had 60,000 monarchs this
> past winter--as large as the world famous colony in Pacific Grove,
> Calif.

I guess this a tradeoff. When I was kid in the mid 1960's I lived in
San Lorenzo just a few hundred feet away from what is now the back part
of Sky West Golf Course. At that time it was a large open field and
it was harvested for hay (I guess) once a year in the early spring. A
few of us collected butterflies and one friend's house backed up to the
field. We'd frequently go out there as there were lots of butterflies.
Milkweed grew there and I found Monarch caterpillars all summer. To
this day I don't know what kind of Milkweed grew there. It was a thin
leaf, low growing variety.

With the golf course we lost a habitat for many species (not to mention
the snakes and lizards we'd find) and replaced it with an overwintering
site for Monarchs.

Chuck Vaughn  <aa6g at>

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