Author of “Bicycling with Butterflies” heading to Pittsburg 

The first person to cycle the entire 10,201-mile route of migrating monarch butterflies will make a stop at Pittsburg State University on Sept. 26 to share her story, which she has chronicled in the book “Bicycling with Butterflies.”  

The program, planned for 7 p.m. on Sep. 26 in Yates Hall Room 102, will feature Sara Dykman, who coined the phrase “butterbiking.” 


From March to December 2017, Dykman — an outdoor educator and researcher — followed the monarchs from their overwintering grounds in central Mexico to Canada and back. Monarchs have seen dramatic declines in recent years. 

This fall, Dykman returns to the road, this time on a motorcycle, to celebrate monarchs and her book. 

A National Outdoor Book Award winner, reviewers say "Bicycling with Butterflies” is filled with optimism, energy, and hope, confirming the urgency of saving the threatened monarch migration and the other threatened systems of nature. 

book cover

“It is part science, part adventure, part love letter to nature,” Dykman explained. “I hope readers will come away with a deeper sense of connection to the land and be inspired to join the team taking care of our planet.” 

“I want to give the monarchs a voice,” Dykman added. “I want people to know that they can help monarchs by planting milkweed, which is the only food source for the monarch caterpillars.” 

She also has given women a voice: In Spring 2020, she trained and employed 10 women living near the El Rosario overwintering colony in Michoacan, Mexico, to count streaming monarchs three times daily. 


This preliminary study helped make monarch research more inclusive, jump started a sustainable economy — with an emphasis on offering this opportunity to women, often expected to stay home and run their household — and gathered important information about monarch behavior.  

This year, she is expanding the project from 10 to 21 women, pairing houses with more sophisticated weather loggers to use community science to answer questions about why, where, and when the monarchs stream and how climate change might affect overwintering monarchs and their migration. 

Dykman is the founder of, which she said she created “to connect students to adventure in order to foster lifelong learners, boundary pushers, explorers and stewards.” 


Other projects include: 

On The River — a 3,500 mile, 13-state education-linked, canoe adventure.  

From July 2015 to December 2015, a four-person team traveled from Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park, Montana, to the Gulf of Mexico via the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Along the route, the team connected to more than 1,500 students at 15 schools via classroom presentations, river field trips, and Take 5 videos. 

Bike49 — a 15,000-mile education-linked adventure.  

From May 2010 to June 2011, the Bike49 team traveled to 49 states (all but Hawaii). Along the way, the team spoke to more than 7,000 students about the diversity of the U.S., the fun of bicycle travel, and the importance of healthy lifestyles for a healthy planet. 

Spoon in the Road — a 9,583-mile adventure on the roads, tracks, and beaches less traveled.  

From May 2013 to May 2014, the team pedaled through South and Central America. Their route from Cochabamba, Bolivia to San Antonio, Texas took them through 12 countries and a variety of landscapes: from glacier-capped mountains to tropical forests to high desert. Along the way they learned Spanish, searched for wildlife and met lots of amazing local people.   

Sept. 26 

At the Sept. 26 event, Dykman’s book will be available for purchase and signing. The event is sponsored by PSU Nature Reach & Sperry Galligar Audubon Society and is free and open to the public.