This county story starts under a plant

  • test4Writer and butterfly fan

Frank Zufall

Writer and butterfly fan

Mary Ellen Ryall is surrounded by photos and her journal used to document the emergence of a monarch butterfly in her garden in 2003, which eventually became the story for My Name is Butterfly.

Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 8:31 am | Updated: 11:51 am, Thu Dec 22, 2011.

BY FRANK ZUFALL | 0 comments

For those looking for a Christmas gift inspired by a Washburn County story, one idea is My Name is Butterfly, a book written by Mary Ellen Ryall, director of Happy Tonics, the organization behind the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake.

Ryall wrote the story based on personal observations in her Minong garden in 2003.

“I saw this chrysalis under a bean plant, attached to the bottom of the bean leaf,” she said. “I thought, ‘What in heaven’s name is this?'”

She took a photo of the chrysalis and sent it to a friend in Ohio. “She said, ‘Mary-Ellen, do you realize you have a monarch butterfly chrysalis there?'”

From ground level, Ryall studied and observed the chrysalis change to adult butterfly.

“While I was there I had my bottle of water and this notepad,” she said. “I kept wondering, ‘What is she trying to teach me?’ I had no idea why I was having this experience, and I wrote down even about that.”

Ryall said a rabbit had eaten part of the leaf where the chrysalis was anchored, so she constructed a little fence around the bean plant.

“If that rabbit had come back one more day, I wouldn’t even have a chrysalis left.”

When the chrysalis turned dark, Ryall knew the butterfly was about to emerge.

“This is the very first time the butterfly comes out. Her wings were completely wet,” she said, “and I was with her for three hours. That’s how long it takes for a butterfly’s wings to dry out. They try to climb higher and higher to reach the sun, to get their wings dried. They pump fluids from abdomen to wings to do that.”

Ryall recalls the butterfly’s journey toward the sun: “And then the butterfly tried to climb up the bean pole, but the top of the plant had been eaten by the rabbit. She climbed to another plant and she went to a sunflower. She almost fell down. She had to right herself.”

During the climb, Ryall saw the male butterfly fold its wings back to let the underside dry.

“I’ve never seen a shot like that before,” Ryall said about the photograph she took of the butterfly.

“Then he gets up tall on this sunflower, and that’s when he flew away.”

From her Minong garden, Ryall shared her journal observations and photos with Patrick Shields, an English professor at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College.

“He said, ‘Knowing you, that butterfly will be immortal,'” she said.

The journal notes were transformed in what Ryall calls a “creative, non-fiction” story – her experience but with other characters: a young girl and her mother.

Publishing

After the story was written, Ryall looked for a publisher. In a twist of fate, a publisher’s granddaughter volunteered at the Happy Tonics office

“Her grandmother came in one day and said, ‘I heard you wrote a story about a butterfly, about a monarch.’ I said, ‘I did,’ and she said, ‘Can I see it?'”

The publisher was Lindy Casey of Salt of the Earth Press, a small publisher from Northern Wisconsin focusing on books for children, the environment, organic gardening, recipes.

Ryall left Casey alone in the Happy Tonics office with the manuscript while Ryall visited the Shell Lake library.

“When I came back, she said, ‘This is important work. I’m going to publish it.'”

After a deal was struck, Stevie Marie Aubuchon-Mendoza of Las Vegas, Nev., was chosen to illustrate the book.

To help the illustrator, Ryall asked Minong’s Cassie Thompson and her mother, Tanya, to recreate scenes from the story which Ryall photographed.

“I told her [Cassie] to wear a baseball cap and she said, ‘I don’t wear a baseball cap.’ I said, ‘In this story she does wear a baseball cap.'”

Cassie takes on the character Sara Reynolds who goes out to the garden and finds a butterfly egg and then a caterpillar.

In the story, Mom cautions Sara to leave the new life alone and also teaches Sara new terms, like pupae.

“Her mother teaches her [Sara] while the butterfly teaches her the actual life cycle, so it’s the butterfly telling the story, basically, and getting more information from her mother.”

Coloring book

Following My Name is Butterfly, Ryall and a graphic designer from Alexandria, Va. created a publishing house called Butterfly Women Publishing.

The first publishing project, due out this spring for Earth Day, is a coloring book of Monarch butterflies illustrated by Gordon artist Mora McCusker.

“There are so many people I can reach locally. If I want the greater message to get out there, I have to get it published,” said Ryall. “That’s why we created the publishing house, so we could get some of my essays and manuscripts out there. If my life is short and sweet, this will be something of me to leave on this planet.”

Book

My Name is Butterfly is available at Amazon.com or by visiting www.happytonics.org.

Exciting Findings Monarch Survival: An Amazing Feat

Source: News from Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) – University of Minneapolis.

Butterfly followers may find this article of interest considering that Karen Oberhauser, Director of Monarch in the Classroom, wrote. Karen is a leading scientist and teacher in the field of monarch biology and migration. She wrote, “Mary Ellen Ryall from Shell Lake, WI, has established and dedicated a native remnant tall grass prairie as monarch habitat on 1/2 acre of city land. After a tremendous storm, she has shared an amazing story of monarch survival.”

On July 1, 2011 a straight line wind at 100 mph struck Minong, WI. It blew down 11 red pine trees on my property in the village. In the process of storm cleanup, the trees were cut and taken to the local saw mill to be turned into board foot. There was an Aldo Leopold Bench that was crushed beneath one tree. The logger brought his big equipment in and lifted the tree so that his son could save the bench.

Chrysalis after the storm. On underside of Aldo Leopold bench copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Chrysalis after the storm. On underside of Aldo Leopold bench copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Lo and behold a monarch chrysalis was on the bench. I thought about how the butterfly was a form of transformation and knew it would adapt to the landscape changes.  I marveled that I saw a few monarch butterflies flying about the day after the storm. How could winds of 100 mph wreck such havoc in the village and yet allow the butterflies to survive? How did the same wind that caused birds in maple trees to lose their lives allow a butterfly, the weight of a single maple leaf, to survive? It is a beautiful wonder.

“While monarchs have amazing tenacity, many individuals are not as lucky as those in Mary Ellen’s habitat. MLMP volunteer Diane Rock captured some incredible photos of monarch predation last summer…[monarch butterfly faces threats], especially as eggs and larvae, but also as adults. Several studies have shown that only 5-10% of monarchs survive to adulthood in the wild. In strong winds and other extreme climate conditions, individual monarchs stand a fighting chance, but they are often no match for the spiders, ants, stink bugs, wasps and other invertebrates that attack monarch larvae on milkweed plants. Black-beaked orioles and black-headed grosbeaks are common predators of adult monarchs in their overwintering sites, and in their breeding grounds, the adults may fall prey to spiders.

Monarch survival is an amazing feat, considering all the dangers that they face throughout the course of their lives. They appeal to all of us because of the astounding things they are able to accomplish. Research and monitoring through MLMP help us to understand the hardship that monarchs face, and areas where improvements can help support monarch populations.”

Monarch tasting my fingers and walks across to Valerian flower for nectar

Monarch tasting my fingers and walks across to Valerian flower for nectar

Source: After the Storm by Mary Ellen Ryall

http://www.mlmp.org/Newsletters/monthly/2011/mlmp_update_201110.pdf

Exciting Findings Monarch Survival: An Amazing Feat

News from Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) – University of Minneapolis.

Butterfly followers may find this article of interest considering that Karen Oberhauser, Director of Monarch in the Classroom, wrote. Karen is a leading scientist and teacher in the field of monarch biology and migration. She wrote, “Mary Ellen Ryall from Shell Lake, WI, has established and dedicated a native remnant tall grass prairie as monarch habitat on 1/2 acre of city land. After a tremendous storm, she has shared an amazing story of monarch survival.”

On July 1, 2011 a straight line wind at 100 mph struck Minong, WI. It blew down 11 red pine trees on my property in the village. In the process of storm cleanup, the trees were cut and taken to the local saw mill to be turned into board foot. There was an Aldo Leopold Bench that was crushed beneath one tree. The logger brought his big equipment in and lifted the tree so that his son could save the bench.

After the storm, monarch on faded zinnia copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

After the storm, monarch on faded zinnia copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Lo and behold a monarch chrysalis was on the bench. I thought about how the butterfly was a form of transformation and knew it would adapt to the landscape changes.  I marveled that I saw a few monarch butterflies flying about the day after the storm. How could winds of 100 mph wreck such havoc in the village and yet allow the butterflies to survive? How did the same wind that caused birds in maple trees to lose their lives allow a butterfly, the weight of a single maple leaf, to survive? It is a beautiful wonder.

 

“While monarchs have amazing tenacity, many individuals are not as lucky as those in Mary Ellen’s habitat. MLMP volunteer Diane Rock captured some incredible photos of monarch predation last summer…[monarch butterfly faces threats], especially as eggs and larvae, but also as adults. Several studies have shown that only 5-10% of monarchs survive to adulthood in the wild. In strong winds and other extreme climate conditions, individual monarchs stand a fighting chance, but they are often no match for the spiders, ants, stink bugs, wasps and other invertebrates that attack monarch larvae on milkweed plants. Black-beaked orioles and black-headed grosbeaks are common predators of adult monarchs in their overwintering sites, and in their breeding grounds, the adults may fall prey to spiders.

 

Monarch survival is an amazing feat, considering all the dangers that they face throughout the course of their lives. They appeal to all of us because of the astounding things they are able to accomplish. Research and monitoring through MLMP help us to understand the hardship that monarchs face, and areas where improvements can help support monarch populations.”

Source: After the Storm by Mary Ellen Ryall

http://www.mlmp.org/Newsletters/monthly/2011/mlmp_update_201110.pdf

Girl Scout earns Silver Award for Environmental Voluteering

Dakota Robinson teaches Brownie about the monarch butterfly migration.

Dakota Robinson teaches Brownie about the monarch butterfly migration.

Saturday Nov. 19th an award ceremony for Dakota Robinson, Senior Girl Scout of Shell Lake Troop 4392, was held to recognize her for earning the Girl Scout Silver Award, which is one of the highest awards in Girl Scouting. Designed to help girls explore careers and gain leadership abilities, the Silver Award can be earned as an individual or as a group. Girls must be between the ages of 11 and 14 or entering the 6th grade to begin working towards this award and it must be completed by Sept 30th of the year they are entering the 9th grade.

 

Girls must first submit a plan for approval from the Girl Scout Council before beginning there project. Then they must first earn three charms, the Girl Scout Leadership Award charm, the Girl Scout Silver Career Charm and the Girl Scout Silver 4B’s Challenge Charm. Then they must earn at least three interest project awards of their choosing that go along with their project. The Earn Your Own Business Interest Project Award and the Studio 2B Focus: Uniquely Me! Charm is then earned.

 

The requirements teach girls to set goals and to identify and find a solution for a problem in the community. The biggest piece of the Silver Award is planning and developing the project. The project must take at least 40 hours to complete and provide a service to the community. Once all the requirements have been met and approved the Girl Scout must submit a Final Report to the council for final approval.

 

Every activity and badge earned must be documented in this report, including the date it was received and a signature from the supervising advisor. Girls must describe in detail how they helped the community and how the project was completed. The start and completion dates must be included, and the reasons why the project was chosen. Girls also must describe who benefited from the project and what was ultimately learned and achieved.

Dakota at Monarch Butterfly Habitat teaching about butterfly migration to attendees

Dakota at Monarch Butterfly Habitat teaching about butterfly migration to attendees

Dakota’s project was called, “The Amazing Monarch, Flight for Life.” She completed all requirements including choosing to earn the Plant Life Badge, Eco-Action Badge, and the Leadership Badge Interest projects. She has spent the last 4 years volunteering with Happy Tonics and the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, attending events at the Ag research farm, helping host environmental film fests over the summer, as well as gardening of herbs, flowers and vegetables in container gardens at Shell Lake Friendship Commons. She gave presentations at the butterfly habitat and IV Annual Earth Day Event, and was part of the Blessing of the butterfly habitat.

 

Dakota created a petition to stop the use of pesticides and road side moving during migration season, which has been sent on to the state government and she hopes to get enough signatures and send it on the president. She collected, bagged and handed out milkweed seeds for people to plant, to help sustain the monarch and she gave several speeches on the monarch’s plight. In all she spent 171 hours on this project. Although the project is officially over, she never passes up the chance to spread the word and hopefully gains new advocates for the monarch butterfly, after her ceremony she gave her presentation again to some of the local area brownies who were present.

Dakota proudly shows her cake to happy audience

Dakota proudly shows her cake to happy audience

The ceremony included The Brownie smile song sang by Shell Lake’s Brownie troop 4475, Junior Girl scout Emily Lloyd led the pledge of allegiance, Girl scout Promise and Girl Scout Law, Dakota was presented and pinned with her Silver Award by one of her troop Leaders Karen LLoyd, followed by punch made by Emily LLoyd and cake.

Emily Lloyd making punch for the Girl Scout Silver Awards Ceremony

Emily Lloyd making punch for the Girl Scout Silver Awards Ceremony

Girl Scout receives a Silver Award for Environmental Volunteerism

Dakota Robinson teaches brownies about monarch butterfly migration.

Dakota Robinson teaches brownies about monarch butterfly migration.

Saturday Nov. 19th an award ceremony for Dakota Robinson, Senior Girl Scout of Shell Lake Troop 4392, was held to recognize her for earning the Girl Scout Silver Award, which is one of the highest awards in Girl Scouting. Designed to help girls explore careers and gain leadership abilities, the Silver Award can be earned as an individual or as a group. Girls must be between the ages of 11 and 14 or entering the 6th grade to begin working towards this award and it must be completed by Sept 30th of the year they are entering the 9th grade.

Girls must first submit a plan for approval from the Girl Scout Council before beginning their project. Then they must first earn three charms, the Girl Scout Leadership Award charm, the Girl Scout Silver Career Charm and the Girl Scout Silver 4B’s Challenge Charm.

Then they must earn at least three interest project awards of their choosing that go along with their project. The Earn Your Own Business Interest Project Award and the Studio 2B Focus: Uniquely Me! Charm is then earned. The requirements teach girls to set goals and to identify and find a solution for a problem in the community.

Dakota celebrating her special day. Congratulations Dakota!

Dakota celebrating her special day. Congratulations Dakota!

The biggest piece of the Silver Award is planning and developing the project. The project must take at least 40 hours to complete and provide a service to the community. Once all the requirements have been met and approved the Girl Scout must submit a Final Report to the council for final approval. Every activity and badge earned must be documented in this report, including the date it was received and a signature from the supervising advisor. Girls must describe in detail how they helped the community and how the project was completed. The start and completion dates must be included, and the reasons why the project was chosen. Girls also must describe who benefited from the project and what was ultimately learned and achieved.

Dakota Robinson displays Monarch Migration storyboard at IV Annual Earth Day Event

Dakota Robinson displays Monarch Migration storyboard at IV Annual Earth Day Event

Dakota’s project was called, “The Amazing Monarch, Flight for Life.” She completed all requirements including choosing to earn the Plant Life Badge, Eco-Action Badge, and the Leadership Badge Interest projects. She has spent the last 4 years volunteering with Happy Tonics and the butterfly Habitat, attending events at the Ag research farm, helping host environmental film fests over the summer, as well as helping with maintaining container gardens at the friendship commons. She help presentations at the butterfly habitat and the earth day celebration, and was part of the Blessing of the Butterfly habitat.

Dakota has created a petition to stop the use of pesticides and road side moving during migration season, which has been sent on to the state government and she hopes to get enough signatures and send it on the the president. She collected, bagged and handed out milkweed seeds for people to plant, to help sustain the monarch and she gave several speeches on the monarchs plight. In all she spent 171 hours on this project. Although the project is officially over, she never passes up the chance to spread the word and hopefully gain new advocates for the monarch butterfly, after her ceremony she gave her presentation again to some of the local area brownies who were present.

Emily Lloyd making punch

The ceremony included The Brownie smile song sang by Shell Lake’s Brownie troop 4475, Junior Girl scout Emily Lloyd led the pledge of allegiance, Girl scout Promise and Girl Scout Law, Dakota was presented and pinned with her Silver Award by one of her troop Leaders Karen LLoyd, followed by punch made by Emily LLoyd and cake. Photo copyright Kryssy Robinson.

19 hours ago · Like

Global rebellion: The coming chaos? – Opinion – Al Jazeera English

Global rebellion: The coming chaos? – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

 

Well written article. A most read for those who are feeling that the world order in undergoing changes.

Butterfly Corner

Butterfly Corner
by Mary Ellen Ryall

November 7, 2011Felipe Martinez Meza, Assistant at Biosphere Monarch Butterfly, Zitacuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, confirmed that monarch butterflies had arrived at their overwintering sites in Mexico. He performed field work at the sanctuary the first week of November.  His research was reported back to Learner Organization.

Monarch cluster copyright Learner Organization, Univ. of KS

Monarch cluster copyright Learner Organization, Univ. of KS

True to their encounter with nature and pre-Hispanic tradition, monarch arrival coincided with the Day of the Dead in Mexico on November 1. There were butterflies in their wintering sites in historic sites: The first colony in Ejido El Rosario had occupancy of approximately 50 trees while a second group on November 2nd was detected in 10 trees. It is too soon to say what this means as far as monarch concentrations are concerned. Are they doing better or worse this year? Has the migration numbers increased or decreased?

In December, scientists will travel to Mexico, from Learner Organization at the University of Kansas, to determine the health and vulnerability of the Mexican butterfly population and the overwintering sites. We can only hope that the butterflies were able increase in number especially since their numbers have been dwindling due to climate change, habitat loss and environmental fires, floods, oil contamination and other risks along their 2,000 mile migration.

Happy Tonics noticed record numbers of monarch butterflies in Shell Lake in 2011 at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. The last butterflies were seen on October 12 which is very late. Many people called to let us know they too saw many monarchs this year. It could be that the abundant rains increased milkweed growth and enabled the monarchs to propagate beyond normal numbers.

My Name is Butterfly

My Name is Butterfly

Get ready for Holiday Saturday on December 3. Happy Tonics is having an open house at the Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served.  We invite parents and grandparents to come in and view the book My Name is Butterfly. The illustrated children’s book features the artwork of Stevie Marie Aubuchon-Medoza and is written by Mary Ellen Ryall, CEO, of Happy Tonics and the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the holidays and honor youth in their home town. Books are available on Amazon. A limited number of copies will be available on December 3 for those who wish to see the book and obtain autographed copies for their families. Amazon price $12.98. FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.00

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