Earth Navigators

About

NATURE follows the world’s most dauntless creatures in their epic migrations in Earth Navigators.

Springtime brings greenery and color to the English countryside, signaling whooper swans to undertake an extraordinary and dangerous journey — including a 400-mile flight over open ocean — to their traditional nesting places in Iceland.

Elsewhere around the world, seasonal changes impel a wide variety of other creatures to begin their own epic migrations to ancient feeding, mating, and breeding grounds, sometimes covering thousands of miles and employing ingenious methods to reach their destinations.

One of the most extraordinary voyages undertaken is that of the monarch butterfly, which, with the coming of spring, begins its northward migration from Mexico’s Sierra Nevada mountains. By June, the butterflies reach the meadows of Texas, whose milkweed plants are the only ones the monarch caterpillars will eat. After laying their eggs here, the exhausted butterflies die — yet this is not the end of the journey.

The caterpillars that emerge evolve into the next generation of butterfly, which continues the journey north. Along the route to Canada, the breeding process of the butterflies is repeated until the third-generation descendants of the original migrants are ready for the 2,000-mile return trip to Mexico, which they alone are uniquely equipped to complete.

To order a copy of Earth Navigators, please visit the NATURE Shop.

Online content for Earth Navigators was originally posted April 2000.

Production Credits Print

Web Credits

Producer
RONNIE GODEANU

Art Director
SABINA DALEY

Designers
LENNY DROZNER
KAREN MATTSON

Pagebuilding
BRIAN SANTALONE

Writer
DAVID MALAKOFF

Production Artist
RUIYAN XU

Technical Director
BRIAN LEE

Content Consultant
Gianna Scaralia

About the Writer
David Malakoff
is a journalist covering research discoveries and the politics of science for SCIENCE MAGAZINE in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in a wide range of venues, including THE ECONOMIST, THE WASHINGTON POST, and ABCNews.com.

Thirteen Online is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York's Kravis Multimedia Education Center in New York City. Anthony Chapman, Director of Interactive & Broadband. Bob Adleman, Business Manager. Carmen DiRienzo, Vice President and Managing Director, Corporate Affairs.

Television Credits

A Co-Production of Partridge Films and Thirteen/WNET New York