Monitoring species at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat September 2010


 I am pleased to say that the metal and cement sculpture art is in the habitat now. Michell Carlisle, mother to intern Tabitha Brown, graciously donated a cement sculpture of Psyche with wire butterfly wings in glass and wood beads. This is the first art that visitors will see when they enter the habitat. The art looks contemporary and could be interpreted as modern or folk art. Psyche has been around from the time of classical Rome and is the only surviving full-length novel by Lucius Apuleius from that time period. The book Metamorphoses translates to butterfly metamorphoses. . Corrie Wolf’s father, Raymond “Duke” Wolf, donated a professional sign for the habitat. It says Happy Tonics Butterfly Garden. Tabitha not only arranged for the art she helped create both donations. She was a great help to us through the early parts of summer and all through the winter of 2010.

Tabitha Brown

Tabitha Brown

 Tabitha was our ambassador at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College and made sure that the 2009-2010 Environmental Film Fest was a success. I don’t know what I would have done without her. This year was extremely hard on me with my husband’s illness.  Through memorial donations from Pauline and Dennis McFadden, Ballston Spa, NY;  Ann Stambeck, Bobby and Bootsie Bailey and Diane Dryden of Shell Lake, WI, and Erica Hohos, Worcester, MA,  I was able to purchase a metal tulip by the artist William F. Colburn, Jr. of Fairhope, Alabama. This is a memorial to my husband, Willard H. DeJong. Will originally was from Holland and moved to the United States at age seven. The tulip is the famed flower of the Netherlands. The art is in the Memory Tree Grove on the far northern side of the habitat.

Our summer intern Brennan Harrington helped with building a wood frame for the sign. The wood used was cut and stripped from his own land in Stonebrook. He cemented the sculptures in the ground for permanence.  Brennan was also a great help at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in the summer of 2010. He took total charge of removing spotted knapweed, an invasive species, watering plants and making sure the path was maintained. It is a big job to maintain a ½ acre habitat and I appreciate everything he did for us.   

It was amazing to see the goldenrod. There were long lasting golden blooms at the habitat from September to end of October. I witnessed an abundance of small native bees including bumble bees on the plants when the heat of the sun starts to wane. They were seen in groups enjoying the last of the nectaring goldenrod. We have two species of goldenrod at the habitat one is stiff and the other is showy. Showy goldenrod has a cylindrical cluster of flowers.  Stiff goldenrod has a flattened inflorescence and broad thick basal leaves. I feel the stiff goldenrod is so pretty it should be called showy instead of stiff.

Bees appear to be like family in that they share and don’t compete for a food source. Bees just enjoy themselves. There is plenty for all. I saw up to twenty bees on just a few plants.

 An ethnobotany teacher, Leslie Ramsyck, told me that goldenrod does not cause allergies, although many people argue this fact. Don Engebretson and Don Williamson in Perennials for Michigan and Wisconsin state that goldenrod blooms at the same time when ragweed is out. Both species belong to the Ambrosia family. The difference between the two plants is that goldenrod does not cause allergies (183). There is actually a difference between ragweed also. The native ragweed does not cause llergies. It is the exotic ragweed that is the problem according to Ramsyck.

Goldenrods are resistant to pests. Some wasps prefer to make the stem a home. Eggs of the wasp are inserted into the stem which creates a stem gall.  The larva lives within and burst out at some point as wasps.   

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