It’s “overwintering” season for monarch butterflies: having fled cooler northern temperatures, massive colonies of migrating monarchs take up residence in various coastal groves up and down California. The butterflies blanket eucalyptus, Monterey pines and cypress trees in such numbers that branches can break under their weight. The life of a monarch is short—no single butterfly survives the entire round trip, or even a single leg of it—and yet colonies choose the same sites every year. Established wintering sites are located in Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, Pismo, and Goleta—all perfect for weekend getaways. This happens every year, so why is it news? Environmentalists and conservationists are thrilled to report that the monarch population has grown suddenly and considerably after years of decline: this year’s colonies have doubled—perhaps tripled—in size.