Alumni swim in beautiful green water

Alumni in the Galápagos

The “Butterfly Tribe,” a group of Antioch alumni, posed for a photo as they snorkeled in the Galápagos islands, 560 miles west of Ecuador. They went snorkeling as one of many activites during a week spent together on these islands that are famous for their evolutionarily isolated species, which was fitting as they are all graduates of the MS in Environmental Studies offered at Antioch’s New England campus. 

The trip in part celebrated 25 years since they graduated from the program, and in fact it was their graduation ceremony that gave their group its nickname. Charged with arranging the decorations for the ceremony, they chose butterflies as the theme, nodding at the symbolism of transformation. The centerpiece of the event was a five-foot chrysalis piñata crafted out of papier mâché. Painted a bright emerald green flecked with gold, the piñata reproduced the markings of a monarch butterfly pupa in exquisite detail. Ever since then, they have called themselves the “Butterfly Tribe,” and their friendship has endured for 25 years now.

The “Butterfly Tribe” members who were able to go on the trip have all gone on to interesting careers. Jessica Brainard is Interpretive Planning Consultant and Exhibit Developer-Writer at the Smithsonian Institution. Marcy Boyd is a Science Curriculum Designer focused on climate change and youth education. Anna Kraftson is a Learning Support Coach and Science Teacher. Abigail Lynam is Core Faculty in the Fielding Graduate University’s PhD in Human and Organizational Development. Vanessa Long is Executive Director for People Operations at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. Charlene Saltz is Sustainability Manager at Arizona Public Service. Cydney Smith is a Holistic Life Coach and Yoga Teacher. Michelle Simpson is Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Brattleboro. Stephanie Smith runs Zephyr Mangata Consulting. And Jen Kretser is Director of Climate Initiatives at the Wild Center. 

Over their week in the Galápagos Islands, the members of the “Butterfly Tribe” immersed themselves in exploration, hands-on learning, and reconnection. They came together around their profound love for the natural world and their strong commitment to fostering ecological awareness and advocating for social change. Their journey showcased the enduring power of their friendship. As they left the Galápagos, the Butterfly Tribe carried with them the islands’ breathtaking beauty, the unique species they encountered, and their collective determination to positively impact the world.

Dark green Antioch University seal with tree and key at center.

Adrienne Applegate

Adrienne is Antioch University’s Associate Director of Marketing Services. She lives in Western North Carolina with her husband and daughter, and enjoys painting, playing guitar, and digging in the dirt.