Home / News / ‘Butterbiker’ Sara Dykman talks at PSU 
Sara Dykeman speaks on her experience biking with migrating butterflies on Sept. 26 in Yates Hall. Dykeman passed through Pittsburg in 2019 on her original trip. Clarisa Worley

‘Butterbiker’ Sara Dykman talks at PSU 

Alyssa Tyler copy editor 

Sara Dykman, wildlife biologist and author of “Bicycling with Butterflies,” came to talk at PSU about “butterbiking” over 10,000 miles with the monarch butterfly migration. Dykman came to talk again at Yates Hall for the second time since 2017. The event was open to everyone in the community and to people on campus.  

“Today I am here to talk about the monarch butterfly and how we can all help protect them. I am using the bike tour I did in 2017 where I followed the monarch migration from Mexico to Canada and back. And about a year ago I published a book about my trip. It’s a little bit of a book tour and it’s a little bit of an adventure tour. It’s mostly just a cheerleading monarch extravaganza,” Dykman said. 

In 2017 from March to December, Dykman traveled with the migrating monarch butterflies. Ending her trip with a total of 10,201 miles round trip. When asked if she had anyone traveling with her, she answered, “I was with thousands of monarchs.” 

“I started because they seemed like good traveling companions. The migration progresses about 60 miles a day and I’m like ‘oh that’s what a bicyclist does,’ and then ‘oh they spread out all over the country’ so I don’t have to have a very narrow route choice. And I started my trip having no idea that I would meet people who also cared and it kind of exploded. As I learned, there’s a lot going on and I was able to meet a lot of people and learn a lot,” Dykman said. 

Dykman was invited for a variety of reasons. For example, getting anyone and everyone interested in nature in some way.  

“Well, I think the more people that know about, for example, the migration of monarchs, we can get them interested in nature through any means. Maybe we’ll have people here who let’s say, normally come to an Audobon meeting but they’re coming because ‘oh someone who did a bicycle trip,’ something like that. Any way that we can reach people to get them more excited about nature and being outside and caring for the environment, all the better,” said Delia Lister, professor of biology. 

Another reason was to inspire people to live a cleaner life.  

‘I’m hoping to get inspired at how humans and nature can interact in a way that is not detrimental to either. Because she rode her bike, so no carbon, no global warming like the types of things humans can do that are still on a magnificent scale but without harming our planet and making people aware,” said adjunct professor Megan Corrigan.  

When asked what Dykman hoped people would take away from the presentation, it was about planting habitats, such as native nectar plants to feed the adults and milkweed, which is the only food source for their caterpillars. 

“I think we need to celebrate the animals that live with us. And I think we need to take responsibility for their future. And so, I think getting the word out and being their voice and helping people learn enough so that they can help, that’s the point of all of this,” Dykman said. 

More information about Dykman’s book and trip can be found at beyondabook.org. 

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