Papalotzin flew in on the thermals to the Kingston/Ulster Airport exactly on time, 2 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 9th on its first stop in the United States. A Mexican Son Huasteco music band (guitars and violin plus vocals) was playing, and a large crowd had gathered to say Bienvenida a los Estados Unidos. There was excellent Mexican food, a beautiful butterfly stage (designed and built by my husband Steve Jones) for the band and presentations, a good sound system and much enthusiasm on a clear beautiful day. There were also monarch butterfly cakes, baked by my niece.
Papalotzin (Royal Butterfly in Nahuatl language) and its talented, intrepid crew were warmly welcomed. Welcoming gifts were my book, The Spirit of Butterflies: Myth, Magic and Art, pine needle butterfly pins made by the mountain women in Mexico, a print of the painting Butterfly Moon Woman, by well known artist Melissa Harris, and a wreath of feathered monarchs by Jarita Florist in Woodstock.
There was information on reforestation, hand woven pine needle art made by the women who live in the foothills of Cerro Pelon, and packets of milkweed seeds, which were given out for a small donation to Michoacan Reforestation Fund. There was butterfly gardening information and info. on certifying gardens as Monarch Way stations, and/or National Federation of Gardeners Backyard Habitats.
There were a number of articles in the local press (two in Daily Freeman the 8th and 10th), RNN T.V. crew was there and the event was on the evening's 6:30 news on the 9th (actually on 6:55 p.m. ) Vico Gutierrez and I were interviewed on WDST Woodstock radio Sunday morning show, Roundtable at 8:15.
A photographer videoed the whole event which is now on DVD - it came out great!
The Ulster County historian was there to record the event for the archives. A grand time was had by all. A few monarchs flew over the festivities.
The next morning, Saturday, I was speaking at beautiful Minnewaska State Park in the Shawagunk Mountains in New Paltz, N.Y., which the crew filmed.
I got to ride in Papalotzin later that afternoon - it was truly soaring like a butterfly - fabulous experience - smoothest aviation experience I've ever had.
After the early morning radio interview on Sunday - we went looking for monarchs in wildflower meadows only to learn from a neighbor the monarchs were in my gardens at home.
It was too windy for Papalotzin to take off on Sunday afternoon - part of the crew drove onto N.Y.C. while Vico and co-pilot and right hand man, Luis, stayed at our home.
When Papalotzin took off on Monday morning, a monarch butterfly flew around it as it was on the runway about to leave for N.Y.C. - a blessing on its journey.
Papalotzin and crew are on a great mission - to quote from one of the articles: "Gutierrez called the Monarch a 'measure of the health of the Earth' and said 'it's time to recover the health of this planet." And Papalotzin, The Journey of Hope, inspires us to keep on working toward that very goal.