WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Bonnie Sue Rauch never thought a photo she took of a monarch butterfly perched on a zinnia nine years ago would end up on a Forever Stamp.
But thanks to an image she had on file with a stock agency, her photograph was selected as part of the U.S. Postal Service pollinators series -- basically a one in 40,000 shot based on the number of submissions the Postal Service receives, according to a postal service spokesman.
Others in the series include a monarch and a coneflower, a monarch and a goldenrod, a western honeybee and a golden ragwort, a western honeybee and a New England aster as well as a field of wildflowers.
Rauch, a Somers resident and adjunct professor at Westchester Community College -- she's teaching a course on rewiring your life post retirement as well as one on rebuilding your life after a loss -- has been taking photographs of nature for more than 45 years.
She's also a Reiki specialist and a private pilot (her aerial photograph of the Grand Prasmatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is on the NASA Hubble site).
"I've been published in textbooks, magazines, and calendars but this really floored me," she said.
"It hit home when I went to my PO box and found a letter from a friend with my stamps on it."
"The pollinator series is so timely and I am grateful to be part of it," she added. "My heart aches for the disrespect and poisons the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds are subject to."
This stamp image was taken in 2008 when she was picking organic raspberries and noted more butterflies than she could count in the nearby zinnia garden.
In the years since then, she said she rarely sees two or three monarchs at a time. It's why she believes the photograph touches so many. "It's hopefully a wake-up call to climate change and the results of pesticides released in the environment," she said.
"Despite the small size of the image, I think it holds great impact."
Want to learn more? Head to "Celebrate Somers"day where, on Saturday, Sept. 9 the post office will have a table selling Rauch's stamps from 10 a.m. to noon (yes, she will be there).
The event, which goes until 3 p.m. is at the Towne Center, 325 Route 100 and will also feature kid's activities, live music, games, entertainment and food trucks.
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