Category Archives: Sawyer Free Library


Hello Monarch Friends!

I hope you are all doing well. It’s been a bit of a tumultuous past two weeks. Many of you have heard but I don’t want anyone to be surprised not knowing, so first the not-so-great-news is that I broke my leg. It’s going to take a number of months before I am back on my feet, literally, but not figuratively 🙂  Our darling daughter Liv is here visiting for what was supposed to be her vacation and she, our son Alex, and husband Tom are being fantastically helpful. I’ll soon be able to work from my desk and the forced confinement means that I’ll be able to get more work done on fundraising and beloved film projects.

The super exciting news is that Beauty on the Wing has been accepted to the 37th annual Boston Film Festival! The festival dates are September 23rd through the 27th. This year the film will be part virtual and part in person screenings. This is a fantastic festival and the organizers are simply a stellar group of people. When I have more information, I’ll let you know.

Have you been seeing more Monarchs in your garden and in meadows this past month? We have definitely been having a lovely influx, a greater number of Monarchs than in the past several years. It’s so beautiful to see. I’ve released a number of butterflies this past week, and currently have them in all stages in our terrariums, from the teeny tiniest newly emerged to chrysalides and adults.

A friend wrote to ask if these beauties we are currently seeing are the parents of the Super generation, or Methuselah Monarchs, the generation that flies to Mexico. They may very well be, but there could also be one more generation after this.

Monarchs don’t generally drink nectar from roses, especially hybridized roses. This variety is a very old Bourbon Rose that is divinely fragrant. The male was vigorously patrolling our garden looking for females and stopped frequently at the rose to rest before beginning pursuit again.

Please join me, along with the youngest members of your family. I have created a short film for Cape Ann young people for the Sawyer Free Library titled The Marvelous Magnificent Migrating Monarch – here is the link and more information: August 3rd – August 6th, Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 to 10:30. Children’s Services Summer Reading Program “Tails and Tales” presents Monarch Butterflies with Kim Smith! Kim created a short film and virtual presentation to share these beautiful creatures with children and families, and see how Gloucester is a part of their amazing migration journey! Register here and we will send you the link to enjoy this presentation throughout the week starting Tuesday August 3rd.

My deepest gratitude and thanks to all who are contributing to the second phase of launching Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of  the Monarch Butterfly out into the world, the world of Public Television. To date we have raised close to $18,000.00 toward our $51,000.00 goal. Thank you so very much to all these kind contributors:

Lauren Mercadante, Jonathan and Sally Golding, James Masciarelli, Pete and Bobbi Kovner, Karrie Klaus (Boston), Sally Jackson, Marion Frost (Ipswich), Joy Van Buskirk (Florida), Lillian and Craig Olmstead, Suki and Fil Agusti (Rockport), Janis Bell, Nina Groppo, Nubar Alexanian, Marguerite Matera, Claudia Bermudez, Thomas Hauck, Judith Foley (Woburn), Jane Paznik-Bondarin (New York), Paul Vassallo (Beverly), Stella Martin, Liv Hauck (California), Julia Williams Robinson (Minnesota), Cynthia Dunn, Diane Gustin, Heidi Shiver (Pennsylvania), John Ronan, Karen Maslow, Fernando Arriaga (Mexico City), Holly Nipperus (Arizona), Kristina Gale (California), Maggie Debbie, Kate and Peter Van Demark (Rockport), Mia Nehme (Beverly), Chicki Hollet, Alice Gardner (Beverly), Therese Desmarais (Rockport), Jennie Meyer, Kathy Gerdon Archer (Beverly), Melissa Weigand (Salem), Duncan Todd (Lexington), Catherine Ryan, Linda Bouchard (Danvers), Elaine Mosesian, Paul Wegzyn (Ipswich), Catherine Bayliss, Jan Waldman (Swampscott), and Alessandra Borges (Woonsocket RI).

Take care,





Merry Summer Days!

Dear Gardening Friends,

At this time every year readers write in to inquire about the mysterious and startling “furry shrimp” flying in their gardens. Perhaps you have a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth I write back? They are often seen nectaring at our North American native wildflowers bee balm (Monarda didyma) and white flowering summer phlox ‘David’ (Phlox paniculata), as well as the butterfly bushes and Verbena bonariensis.  Scroll down through several posts to see article..

I find August and September are the very best months for butterflies in our region. Only three days into August and this year is not disappointing. And then there is the resplendent light that surrounds here on Cape Ann. Gorgeous, warm, luminous light–I find, too, that August and September are some of the best months for photographing the natural beauty found on Cape Ann.
We had a wonderful turnout at the Sawyer Free Library for my children’s program Butterflies of the World. Not only did we show and tell about the library’s new collection of Neotropic butterflies, but I (very fortunately) had a batch of a dozen or so Black Swallowtail caterpillars, eggs, and chrysalis to share with the children and Moms. I met some fantastic kids–junior naturalists–and parents. Many thanks to Christy Rosso, the Children’s Librarian for all her help!
To Merry Summer Days!
Warmest wishes,

Butterflies of the World at the Sawyer Free Library

Come join me at the Sawyer Free Library on Wednesday, August 3rd, at 10:00, for my children’s program titled Butterflies of the World. We we will be making mobiles and learning about butterflies from around the world, including the new, very special butterfly collection recently given to the Sawyer Free Library.

Butterflies Sawyer Free Library

The butterfly plates were confiscated by the US Fish and Wildlife  Service during a US Customs inspection because the butterflies are believed to be mislabeled. Thus far, that has been my expereience in trying to catalogue the collection. The butterfies that I have identified up to this point are all from the Neotropic ecozone. I imagine that the butterflies from which this collection is comprised were raised in captivity and immediately killed after emerging as they are all in perfect to near perfect condition. Cataloguing all the butterflies is going to be a great project to tackle this winter!

Butterflies Sawyer Free Library

Cape Ann TV Barry O’Brien Special Presentation

Join Cape Ann TV for their annual meeting Tuesday, May 24 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Sawyer Free Library Friend Room. 

A Special Presentation, “Public Access and Democracy: From the Boob Tube to YouTube, A Revolution in Our Time,” gives a glimpse at the evolution of public access television, a form of mass media where ordinary people can create content cablecast through their local cable system.

I am looking forward to attending the Cape Ann TV’s annual meeting and especially looking forward to Barry O’Brien’s (founder of North Shore Communications Group) special presentation. I attended Barry’s lighting workshop last week and it was so worthwhile!! After the workshop he took the time to teach me several sound editing techniques in Soundtrack Pro. Many, many thanks to Barry for his professional advice and generosity!

This week Allen Estes Local Music Seen features Jake Pardee. The shows are taped before a live studio audience and air Wednesday, 5/13 at 6:30pm, Friday 5/20 at 1:30pm, and Sunday 5/22 at 6pm.