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Goleta Butterfly Experience - MOVES Program

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The City of Goleta is offering an alternative way to understand and experience the phenomenon of the overwintering Monarch Butterflies. The City, in partnership with Nature Tracks, Fish and Wildlife, the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, and dedicated volunteers, created the Goleta MOVES (Monarch Overwintering Visual Experience Simulation) program to help children continue learning about butterflies while the City is creating a plan to restore safe access to the Goleta Butterfly Grove on Ellwood Mesa. Currently public access is limited due to the dangers associated with the dead and dying trees.

Watch this video to learn more.

 Goleta MOVES Prep Goleta MOVES at Evergreen Park   Goleta MOVES butterflies



Everyone is welcome to visit the simulated experience at Evergreen Park from October through March. Four clusters of 100-150 feathered monarch butterflies have been placed in an area most closely representing the grove at Ellwood Mesa. In addition to the outdoor exhibit, the program includes display boxes for students to see butterflies up close as well as materials and activities to assist in the education process. To get to the simulated grove, walk past the playground equipment (located on Evergreen Drive near Hillview Drive) and over the foot bridge. Walk approximately another 50 yards and the area is on your left down the grassy hill.


School children and special interest groups are encouraged to visit. The Goleta MOVES program is designed to educate 1st and 2nd graders on the lifecycle of the butterfly, and to teach 6th graders about climate and habitats. School groups, and other groups, can request a docent-led tour, complete with display cases, curriculum and games. If you are interested in a field trip and/or docent-led tour, or would like to become a volunteer, please contact the City of Goleta’s Butterfly Docent Coordinator at


To ensure the safety of the area and enjoyment of the public, we ask teachers to review the following rules with their students and adult chaperones:

  • Wear sturdy, close-toed shoes
  • Always stay on the designated path
  • Avoid making loud noises in the simulated grove and when walking by nearby houses


Isaiah Geronimo, MOVES Coordinator, at 805-961-7554 or
JoAnne Plummer, Parks & Recreation Manager, at 805-562-5505 or

Monarch Butterfly Forum

The City of Goleta and California Coastal Conservancy hosted a Monarch Butterfly Forum on February 29, 2020. Attendees learned about the monarch butterfly and local efforts to restore the population. Butterfly expert Dan Meade, Ph.D., spoke for over an hour and shared information about the crisis and how residents can help the Xerces Society’s “Western Monarch Call to Action”. View his presentation here.

In addition, George Thomson, the City of Goleta’s new Parks and Open Space Manager, provided an update on the Ellwood Mesa/Sperling Preserve Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan. View the presentation here.