5 September 2010 – For the last three years Happy Tonics has sponsored the “Butterfly Marchers” in the Town and Country Days Parade. A Viceroy butterfly came to keep the marchers company. It landed in the grass just in front of us as we were putting costumes on as if to say, “Look at me. I am happy you are marching for the butterflies and I am here to let you know I love you.”
Participants march for the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. Each year the event grows and more flutter bys participate. The 2010 marchers came from Stone Lake, Cumberland, Minong and Shell Lake. There were 30 marchers this year. Butterfly marchers ages spanned from 3 to 65 years old. Let’s face it we are all children at heart.
Kris Fjelstad drove a beautiful new truck. She dressed as Queen Bee from head to foot. Participants helped decorate the truck with flowers real and artificial and fabric butterfly wings were attached to the truck. Kris made a large decorated bumblebee for the hood of the truck. The truck decorations made us proud. I felt we were in the Rose Bowl Parade. Brennan Harrington, Lac Courte Oreilles Community College’s environment intern helped decorate and made sure that the side panels were well attached.
One sign was for Washburn County Alcohol and Other Drug Addictions (AODA) Commission.
The other sign was for Happy Tonics. The banner read “Got milkweed?”
Each participant wore monarch or other butterfly species wings, some wore butterfly skirts, one young participate carried a butterfly tote bag and disbursed Happy Tonics photographic Mission Statement post card to viewers along the route. One carried a Welcome Butterfly flag and another carried a butterfly umbrella. Butterfly tee-shirts were worn and given to each marcher as a momentum. Tee-shirts were made possible by a grant from Washburn County AODA. The AODA grant was also used to purchase water and healthy treats to stave off dehydration and hunger during the parade and afterwards.
Everyone had a great time including yours truly.
Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.
NOTE: The Monarch, Queen, and Viceroy butterflies all have similar color patterns to deter predators from any of the three species. This is an excellent example of “Mullerian mimicry” because these species have toxic chemicals making them undesirable to predators because of the bad taste and resulting stomach disturbance that follows eating one. In South Carolina, the Monarch butterfly is more prevalent than the other species. Therefore, the Viceroy butterfly appears more orange than it’s more southern populations which are more brown to mimic the Queen butterfly.
Source: Michael Barnes, Lance Sanders, & Kimberly Green ENT 301, Fall 2001