Papalotzin, Journey of Hope

Papalotzin, Journey of Hope

An International Environmental Event

Photo credit: Maraleen Manos-Jones, author of Spirit of Butterflies: Myth, Magic, and Art

For more photos, click here

Vico Gutierrez, Mexican film maker and pilot of a light aircraft glider, named Papalotzin (royal butterfly in Nahuatl language) with the help of his crew of four, followed the monarch butterflies on their migration from Canada to Mexico in the Fall of 2005. His trip was sponsored by World Wildlife Fund/Mexico, the State of Michoacan Government, and Telcel, Mexico, along with the help of many butterfly friends all along the route.

The object of his journey is to bring awareness to the ecological challenges facing the monarch. “Gutierrez called the Monarch a ‘measure of the health of the Earth’ and said ‘it’s time to recover the health of this planet.” Papalotzin is now a documentary, soon to be released in the United States. We’ll keep you posted.

I am calling the journey of this light glider, a Journey of Hope in our troubled times.

The butterfly is a symbol of death and rebirth and a reminder and inspiration that we can replant, rebuild, and renew.

A world without butterflies would indeed be a world without hope.
You can follow the incredible journey of Papalotzin and its crew: Vico, Luis, Gregory, Tania and Andrew on the website

I had the great honor of organizing the first event in the United States for Papalotzin, Vico and crew on September 9th at the Kingston/Ulster Airport in New York State. They already had been feted by butterfly friends John Powers, Donald Davis and others in Canada. I wrote the following describing their visit:

Papalotzin flew in on the thermals to the Kingston/Ulster Airport exactly on time 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, Celia.

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, a monarch bio reserve, 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, 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.

There were two articles in the Daily Freeman – Float Like a Butterfly Sept, 10th: Daily Freeman and Ulster Airport a Stopover on Monarch’s Trail Sept 8th: I heard there were stories in other area newspapers, but I haven’t tracked them down yet. The Kingston Times did a marvelous photo story, Flight of the Butterfly on the 15th of September.

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 group Mano a Mano, Mexican Culture Without Borders, part of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York City, and headed by Emily Socolov, helped make the Papalotzin event a success. Hand- packaged milkweed seeds were provided by the men and women from this group who created a lovely label with instructions in English and Spanish. The group coordinates monthly cultural festivities in the New York City area. Last June, was the big, successful Monarch festival in Central Park.

Emily also kindly introduced me to the musical group Semilla, that plays hauntingly beautiful Son Huasteco music. Semilla joined us in welcoming Papalotzin. Everyone at the Kingston Papalotzin event enjoyed the music immensely:

For more information about Mano a Mano see: and The next morning, Saturday, I was speaking at beautiful Minnewaska State Park, on the theme of butterflies as symbols of death and rebirth, which the Papalotzin 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 – part of the crew drove onto N.Y.C. while Vico and co-pilot, 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 and their message is strong and clear.- 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 The Journey of Hope inspires us to keep on working toward that very goal. Check out September 9th on the website to see pictures of the Kingston event


Maraleen and Luis Miranda at Kingston event with Vico and TV reporter in background

Maraleen and Luis Miranda at Kingston event with Vico and TV reporter in background. Photo credit: Holly Wilmeth, Kingston Times


Vico and Papalotzin

Vico and Papalotzin. Photo credit: Holly Wilmeth, Kingston Times


Maraleen getting ready to fly

Maraleen getting ready to fly. Photo credit: Holly Wilmeth, Kingston Times


Flying over the Hudson Valley

Flying over the Hudson Valley. Photo credit: Holly Wilmeth, Kingston Times


Papalotzin getting ready to fly

Papalotzin getting ready to fly. Photo credit: Maraleen Manos-Jones


On the runway

On the runway. Photo credit: Maraleen Manos-Jones


Papalotzin in flight

Papalotzin in flight. Photo credit: Maraleen Manos-Jones