Archive for the 'General' Category

Butterfly release – Titirangi

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Mr and Mrs Philip Lim released butterflies provided by me at their Titirangi wedding in summer, 2011.

“The butterflies were wonderful and all went as planned.”

Cape Brett article 2

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Cape Brett article

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Click on the link below to see the article about Cape Brett.

More on the next page…

Betty Boopino – fantastic designer

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

I’ve been working on educational resources for schools (butterflies) and Emma designed a wonderful ‘frame’ for them. Originally it was going to be a website, but perhaps we’ll launch under the banner of the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust.

Take a look

International Butterfly Breeders Association Convention in Costa Rica 2008

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Renee reports from San Jose, at the Convention:

All is going has been very cooperative. Here is a group photograph taken on Wednesday:

Group photo

From left to right..

Bottom row: Alexa Jones, Pat DuPlessis, Una McGurk, Georgann Serino, Lary Reeves, Renee Cooke, Rick Mikula, Nili Shahar.

Standing: Jerimiah Jones, Cornelius DuPlessis, Gary Exelby, Claudia Mikula, Ory Roberts, Jerry Roberts, Gloria Brons, Kathleen Ziemer, Gloria’s daughter-in-law, Barbara Bosco, Kathleen’s niece’s friend Abbey, Lew Bosco, Kathleen’s niece Emily, Chris Jacobs, Deb Jacobs, Mary Shields, Mike Rich’s son Andrew, David Spivey, Pam Kirwood, Peggy McClung, Dale McClung, Alicia Baylor and Mike Rich.We were in Arenal Monday and Tuesday for the Breeders Seminar. Costa Rica has three active volcanoes and one is in Arenal. We had the opportunity to see the lava flow and rumblings from Arenal served as our wake up call yesterday!

The breeders seminar was held at the Butterfly Conservatory; Glenn Baines’ place. A BEAUTIFUL facility… We visited three farms today and it was quite the experience; very informative, interesting and educational.

Our tour guides/drivers that work for the travel agency are excellent translators for those of us whose Spanish skills are non-existent and they are getting VERY good at spotting larvae, pupae and adults… They are getting a butterfly education and seem to be as interested as our participants are.

There are about 50 of us in total. but not all are here at all the same times, some are here from the Breeders Seminar through the paper presentations on Sunday, more arrived yesterday for the pre convention “field trips”, even more are due in tomorrow.

Will do my best to send an update or two as we go; the internet has been better than expected but still not always reliable! TTFN and please have a Marguerita for me!

Observatory Lodge

The Observatory Lodge at Arenal. And below, Helen Johnson, Monarch Alert, Monterey, California at the Icebreaker event.

Helen Johnson

Final daze in Florida

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

The Hampton is a great place to stay. It’s economical, it has all the facilities you could ever want – to me complimentary broadband internet was a big plus – and this includes a complimentary breakfast.

There were several Hamptons in Orlando, but the one we chose was in a huge estate of hotels – roads and roads of multi-storey buildings, all offering accommodation.
We had been up until the early hours packing and repacking. I was exhausted. It was a struggle getting everything in to our bags but I was determined not to leave anything behind. I had such wonderful goodies, souvenirs and gifts for friends and family.

After breakfast we struggled with our bags to the car and drove to the airline terminal. I realised that we were going to have to park the car and then take the bags to check in. We got there without too much difficulty, although we walked right past the check in counter, and found that we could not check in until two hours before. Our flight didn’t leave until later that afternoon. Aargh!

We had too much luggage to have with us throughout the day – espeially as we had to quit the car at 9am – so it was off to Hertz.We had made it to the airport okay, but without the GPS (now packed away) we got lost getting back to Hertz. A GPS unit is an amazing accessory, saving a lot of time and mileage in locating shops and points of interest – and finding the quickest way to and fro. Highly recommended.

The huge Hertz depot was abuzz with people leaving vehicles and taking the shuttle bus every five minutes to the airport. People came and went, as we pulled up we were greated by awoman with an electronic machine who inspected the car for its condition and printed out a receipt.

I asked at the counter if we could leave our bags, but there was nowhere. This was a huge facility – and on one particular day they had processed over 2,000 vehicles! Isn’t that amazing?

I phoned my friends who were driving up from Delray Beach; fortunately they had a huge boot in their car and could take all our luggage. They soon picked us up and we were off to have brunch with them and then explore Orlando. It was wonderful to catch up with Baron and Marcia Degner, who I had guided on a visit to New Zealand about ten years ago.

The TGIF that we lunched at was noisy, but we were able to share a few laughs and catch up. Then we were off to Disney World, a shopping mall offering Disney treats and some delicious sidelines, ice-cream and sodas

All too soon it was time to check in and we were off to San Deigo via Denver, with Frontier Airlines. Orlando International Airport was massive – after going through departure procedure, from the departure lounge, we were taken by shuttle to the aircraft and more shops.

On the shuttle my cellphone rang. It was a call from NZ – I answered it and then never saw my cellphone again. Where it went to was a mystery.

We were off to California.

Florida, Day 2

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Together with their daughter, Ana, Maggie and Zane had planned a dinner out at the Blue Water Bay Restaurant – wonderful food, lavish helpings. Beautiful fresh fish.

The next day we went once more to the farm to shop and then we were off to visit Edith Smith and her family’s Shady Oak Butterfly Farm, north of Gainesville. Edith and I have emailed each other for many years, so it was great to be able to meet her in person.

If I ever need any information on butterflies, nectar or host plants, or diseases, Edith is one person you can ask, and she’s always ready to help.

She gave us a full guided tour and gave us more ideas on how we could advance the conservation of butterflies, and environmental education in NZ. We shared lunch, delicious food from the local Sunny’s, with the family, before departing to head south to Orlando.

There wasn’t much left of our great adventure – I knew the next few days were going to pass with a blur. That afternoon, on arrival in Orlando and checking in to the local Hampton near the airport, we did a dry run to the departure terminal and Hertz depot. It didn’t help though, with departure the next morning.

Christiansburg, VA to Odum, GA

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

We got away bright and early and hit the highway again. We were having fun, glorious scenery driving through the mountains, what a thrill after all the flat land we’d covered. There were wildflowers galore, and we enjoyed spotting milkweed and the occasional Monarch.

Wherever we had driven in the US we had seen gorgeous Crepe Myrtles, they were splendid.

Mary wanted to taste waffles. We looked for a Waffle House – spotted one – off the motorway – .3 of a mile – no Waffle House to be seen. After driving around, I popped into a Subway to ask. When he finally understood me, he gave me vague directions which I followed and didn’t find the Waffle House. Back to the Subway and we bought sandwiches. Drove out of the carpark and there was the Waffle House. Mary’s waffles would have to wait!

As the day drew on we realised that we were going to struggle to fit in Savannah, which was not our end destination, but would involve anothe few hours’ drive before we got to where we were to stay – with a 5W friend in Odum, GA. Even if we went via Savannah, we would not have time or daylight to see anything.

So at Augusta, we told Mrs Tom Tom we knew best, and headed off to Augusta. We pulled off the road and chose a little town that was in a southerly direction… Soon however we were thoroughly perplexed – the signs said “North”.Then we realised – we were passing through a small town by the name of “North”. How confusing!

Mrs Tom Tom took us right to the home of Mary and Lonnie Ogden, our hosts for the night. Mary was waiting in her garden, and shepherded us over to the family home next door – where her mother and sister lived – to see hummingbirds as we saw in the cool of a fan on the porch. What a thrill to see these magical little birds.

Mary and family had prepared a feast for us that night. There were new foods to try – boiled peanutes, and the promise of a treat of catfish for lunch the following day.

Lonnie bred and raced pigeons so gave us a tour of his pigeon loft the next day. He also explained the growing of cotton, soya beans and pecans in the area. We watched squirrels and mocking birds in his area – it was a treat.

Mary was very interested in learning about NZ, so we have invited her to visit and hope she will come next summer.


Sunday, September 7th, 2008

We were welcomed into the home of Linda and Rex Marchman, who lived just outside Charlottesville on what we (in NZ) would call a ‘lifestyle block’. They had the most magnificent view over a small lake, owned by a neighbour. Linda’s garden was filled with butterflies – and naturally enough, host and nectar plants for butterflies.

They had a large and very comfortable home – the weather was hot, but air conditioning made indoors very comfortable.

Linda and Rex are cat-lovers. This was apparent from the thirteen felines who shared their home with them. there were fluffy ones, and fat ones, sleek ones, and smiling ones, shy ones and glossy ones – all very well cared for.

We had a magnificent dinner, plenty to eat and finished with a Peach Cobbler made by Rex. Breakfast was some awesome muffins with fresh fruit and pecan nuts on top.

Next morning we planned to visit vineyards, have lunch, visit some fresh fruit markets and get on our way – but it wasn’t to be. Linda noticed that we had a very flat tyre. Over a wonderful lunch with Rex and Linda, We called the AAA (Hint: Don’t call it the AA in America, as that indicates you have an alcohol problem!)

This was complicated – Hertz didn’t know where Charlottesville was, it was a Saturday. They had to send out a contractor to change the tyre for a lightweight spare, which we then limped into Charlottesville on. The friendly tyre serviceman fixed the puncture very promptly, and we were on our way. But setting out on a six hour journey at about 4 or 5pm wasn’t a great idea.

We decided to set off on our way south and stop when we felt we were too tired to continue. Mrs Tom Tom (our GPS) took us into the mountains of western Virginia (not to be confused with West Virginia, the state) and southwards, where we stopped at Christiansburg.

Earlier that day Rex had been watching a game of their local baseball team and they had been playing at this very town – the University of Virginia’s Hokies (I think). Mrs Tom Tom helped us find a very nice hotel (highly recommended – the Hampton) where we got a well-appointed twin room for $109. This came with a complimentary breakfast in the morning when we got on our way again. However… not before we had a bit of bad luck (will Mary every forgive me?)

Mary had taken a lot of photographs of butterflies, flowers and plants in Linda’s garden. I offered to put them onto a CD for her, and so we bought a high-speed CD (I knew everything… high speed had to be better than anything else, didn’t it?). In my computer the CD asked “do you want to format?”. Yes, I clicked, then clicked again, then clicked again, then realised I was formatting her photo card. Aargh! All her photos, lost. Sorry, Mary. 🙁

Lost in America?

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Okay, okay, I haven’t posted for over a week.


Well, as you will read I have been having problems with an infected ear; we got a puncture over a weekend, which took several hours to get repaired and on our way again. What’s more the hospitality of the American people has been so wonderful that we have always been running late everywhere – and we had so many fantastic things to do – the whole schedule has been very full and exciting.

Something had to give, and in order to get more sleep and fix my ear (which hasn’t happened) I decided to not try and keep the blog up to date. But here we are at Los Angeles International Airport – our trip is nearly over – and it’s an opportunity to try and get up to date.

So here goes…