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This is one of our monarch butterflies. We only have three or four, but it’s always nice when one of them makes an appearance in the garden and flits around for a while.

BTW, this is an example of a picture I couldn’t have taken with my old camera. It only allowed me to focus this close with the zoom set to its shortest focal length, which meant I’d have to be about six inches away. There’s no way the butterfly would have stuck around for that. But the Lumix allows me to focus pretty close even when the zoom is out to 100-200mm. I took this from a foot or two away, which was just far enough not to spook the butterfly into flight or flight mode.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

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That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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