Swimming over 11000 miles (~18000 km), Gray Whales make a round trip from their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic to warm waters of Mexico, their calving lagoons. Not just these big mammals but also birds and little insects travel far distances for warmer temperatures, food, and breeding. To visualize their fascinating journey, a migration route exhibit was designed and made for the Environmental Volunteers.
Migration Route Exhibit: Press the blue button to know the migration route for the animal / insect / bird.
Gray Whale – mammal, Monarch Butterfly – insect, Cliff Swallow – a small bird, and American White Pelican – a big bird were shortlisted and studied for their travel routes. Also where and when can one see them in and around San Francisco Bay Area were included.
Gray Whale Migration Route
The Gray Whales start their journey from Arctic to the warm waters of Mexico around the month of October and arrive off the coast of Baja California around January where they mate. They start their journey north swimming closer to the California coast as they travel with the young ones and avoid deep waters. One can see them from Point Reyes National Seashore, Farallon Bay, Half Moon Bay, Pigeon Point Light House, and Monterey Bay.
Cliff Swallow Migration Route
The Cliff Swallows generally spend 3 months of summer in North America, travel for 3 months to South America, stay there for 3 months and travel the remaining 3 months of an year to return to North America. They travel extra miles by flying over the land instead of sea. They have an interesting route, they diverge in batches and arrive at various destinations from South California to Seattle. One can see the cliff swallows from May to July at The Environmental Volunteers Ecocenter in Palo Alto, Bayland Nature Preserve in Palo Alto, cliffs along Highway 1, local water bodies like Coyote lake, Almaden Lake, etc.
Monarch Butterfly Migration Route
Each fall (around September) thousands of Monarchs travel from Canada and Northern USA taking different routes to arrive in their overwintering grounds in California, Mexico, and Florida. Here they lay eggs and a new generation starts the journey north as the winter ends. Most fascinating part of their journey is that it takes about 4 to 5 generations to return to their summer grounds. Some of the places in and around bay area to see the Monarchs – Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz; Monarch Grove Sanctuary, Pacific Grove; Ardenwood Regional Preserve, Fremont; Monarch Bay Golf Course and Marina, San Leonard.
American White Pelican Migration Route
American White Pelicans segregate in two geographic groups – population breeding east of the Rocky Mountains migrate to south and east to winter along the Gulf of Mexico, and those on the west of Rocky Mountains migrating to the Pacific coast. Some of the places to see them in and around the bay area – Bayland Nature Preserve in Palo Alto, Don Edwards Wild Life Preserve, Fremont, Moss Landing Monterey, San Antonio Lake, Monterey.
How it was made?
I ordered a map of North America from Amazon and got it pasted and laminated on a foam board from Staples. Meantime I tried making holes on a piece of waste foam board with a 2 mm drill but the best finish was achieved with a simple nail and hammer.
Trial on a scrap foam board with drill, nail and hammer.
I then searched for LEDs and found a good option in party lighting section in one of the near by stores. Got blue lights for Whales and yellow for the remaining. I tried installing the LEDs on my trial foam board with a simple masking tape.
LED trial back and front
Then all the wholes were punched on the map depending on different routes and the routes were linked with black marker to avoid confusion.
Backside of the map with holes punched and route marked.
LEDs installed at the back of the map.
Cardboard housing for the map
Trial with the cards
Final exhibit with blue switches
The exhibit is in display at the Environmental Volunteers Ecocenter in Palo Alto.
For EcoCenter visitng hours please refer: https://www.evols.org/visit-the-ecocenter/