Fun in the Far North

August 27th, 2011

I’m currently travelling in the Far North of New Zealand and thought you might enjoy these two photos I took yesterday.

One is of my dog (Sheltie, Bonnie) on Ninety Mile Beach – top left-hand corner of NZ – which is actually more like 90 kilometres long, or about 50 miles.

The other was of a woman farmer who was taking bales of hay to feed out to her cattle. I passed her on the road – she could hardly see – so I U-turned and went back and took some photos of her.

I’m having fun (visiting schools for the charity that I work for, Duffy Books in Homes). Some of our little schools are very remote so I get to all the nooks and crannies of NZ.

Butterfly release – Bourne wedding, Rotorua

July 24th, 2011

“Thank you for the lovely butterflies you provided us for our wedding.” The weather wasn’t the best but from all reports, on the ‘planning’ and ‘success’ scale, this event rivalled Kate and Andrew’s!

Butterfly release – Stonefields School

July 24th, 2011

Stonefields School is a new school that wanted to release butterflies at their opening – but the supplier who was to deliver the butterflies had let them down at the last minute.

Their plan was to release four butterflies as part of our opening day celebration. Each one would signify one of their four vision principles, and Sarah, the principal, had written a very appropriate speech that refers to these as well as referring to the ‘butterflies in our stomachs’ that everyone might be feeling on the first day of a new school.

They were thrilled with their butterflies and the outcome – Thursday 3rd February – they gave my favourite charity (the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust) a generous donation, and were blown away by the event.

“We discovered that they moved much quicker than we expected them to…”

Butterfly release – Titirangi

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

January 28th, 2011

Cape Brett article

January 28th, 2011

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

More on the next page…

Betty Boopino – fantastic designer

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

IBBA – more photos

November 8th, 2008

Anne Clune and Ralph Ritchie at Baldi Hot Springs

Baldi Hot Springs 1

Cornelius & Pat duPlessis and Alicia Baylor at Baldi Hot Springs.

 Baldi Hot Springs 2

International Butterfly Breeders Association Convention in Costa Rica 2008

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

San Diego

September 10th, 2008

Maureen Austin and Jennifer Collins lived in Alpine, about thirty miles east of San Diego, and had very kindly come to the airport to wat for us, when we arrived about midnight. They are both key Committee members of CHIRP.

CHIRP was established to instil respect and preservation of garden wildlife. The group organises a garden tour each year – and this year had organised one especially for us. At their meetings they would discuss organic gardening, low water use, local native and desert plants, planting for birds, hummingibrds, and backyard wildlife and such.

Jen’s home was beautiful, overlooking a desert canyon, but with many attractive plantings to encourage wildlife. We were amazed at the activities of the hummingbirds, finches and other visitors to her feeders.

Maureen and Jen had planned quite a programme for us. We had our own private garden tour and not only the homes, but the gardens were wonderful. Each gardener focussed on saving water and utilising the local specially adapted plants to best advantage. They had planted shade trees as an infrastructure to ensure that there was protection from the elements. They all utilised garden sculptures and art to some extent, and outdoor living rooms were common place. Wonderful! Thank you so much CHIRP for sharing your homes and gardens with us.

That night they had arranged a New Zealand reception for us. We got to meet other members of the CHIRP team and congratulate them on their work.

Our last day in California, and Maureen and Jen had planned a wonderful climax to our trip. We were off to the raptor rehabilitation centre, Sky Hunters.

A not for profit group, Sky Hunters is set up to teach the public about raptor conservation, raptor being birds of prey such as eagles, falcons, hawks and owls.

They give presentations and demonstrations, and teach people what to do if a sick or injured raptor is found, and about the birds’ behaviour. Although Nancy Conney, the director, was away, her husband showed us around and let us photograph the birds that were there. It was a wonderful facility and we will always treasure our visit.

Jen, her husband George and Maureen delivered us to the train station, where we just got to the train in time – only a few seconds to spare. Amtrak provides a great service, getting us to Union Station in LA within a few hours. It was a pleasant trip, interesting scenery outside the window.

At Union Station we caught up with Roger Sutton, lepidopterist visiting from England, and all three of us caught the shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport. It was great to meet him at last and to sit and relax awaiting our Air New Zealand flight.

The trip was over. We had a twelve-hour flight back to Auckland, but thank heavens we were travelling with Air New Zealand. Their service, catering and appointments were above anything else we had encountered.

I confessed to the check in desk that I had a bad earache. They adjusted some of the seating so that Mary and I could spread out and get a good night’s sleep.

At 5am we were back in NZ. Pleased to be back home – but delighted with our three week adventure.