In a remote part of Michoacan, Mexico, in the foothills of the mountains where millions of monarch butterflies overwinter, very poor but resilient people eke out an existence. Most still cook over open fires, and have no running water or other amenities that most of us take for granted. Women have a particularly difficult time since most have no source of income and are completely dependant on their husbands who often must leave home to seek work.

But they are resourceful and creative. These local women collect fragrant pine needles from the forests and ingeniously weave them into individually crafted pieces. The enterprise offers the women the dignity of working toward economic self-sufficiency while providing their families an alternative to logging in local forests for basic sustenance.

The Michoacan Fund and the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project have encouraged the women in their endeavors by organizing classes in different villages, taught by an indigenous woman who has herself been empowered by her traveling and teaching. The fragrant pine needle butterflies, hair barrettes, bells and baskets are the result of this exciting endeavor.

Your purchase will both help these women and the forest habitats that shelter the hundreds of millions of monarchs that have over wintered there for millennia. For price and purchasing information, click to the next page.