In the tiny village of Donaciano Ojeda in Michoacan, Mexico, townspeople decide in bi-monthly community meetings to sanction any neighbor who cuts down a tree without permission. That’s because the forests surrounding the town are the winter home of the Monarch butterfly. The branches of the local oyamel tree are draped in the orange and black of thousands of hibernating Monarchs’ wings as the insects cluster together for warmth. Villagers have turned from logging to growing avocados and raising trout in order to salvage the precious trees, which they now fiercely protect. But forest restoration is complicated. Families still need wood to cook with, and many newly planted saplings won’t survive a rainstorm. The Guardians is about a community realizing it’s worth defending the forest from themselves to leave something for the next generation of people and butterflies.
- Ben Crosbie
- Tessa Moran