I am doing a Book Tour over the next week, starting tomorrow – in and around Washington, DC. My Book, My Name is Butterfly, was published by Salt of the Earth Press in 2011. It took me nearly a year before I had time to start marketing the book. You see, I have been busy as Executive Director of a nonprofit environmetal education organization and public charity. Happy Tonics, has had quite a busy year in 2011. By end of 2012, I retire as CEO of the nonprofit and anticipate that I will have more time for writing and publishing.
It is a honor to be asked to speak at several events and places in So. Maryland.I am in Milwaukee and in a few hours, I fly to DC. March 31, I will speak at Joy Lane Healing Center at 4 p.m. Dr. Carol Marcy, owns the Healing Center and expansive lands surrounding the center. It was here where the first indication of my butterfly future began to flutter again in 1999. Never did I dream that by following my dream to come to WI that I would become Butterfly Woman. This is my Ojibwa spirit name. I was given this name in a Naming Ceremony. The monarch is a butterfly of transformation. I not only witnessed this life change in the monarch but also within myself. Visit Joy Lane Healing Center at http://www.joylanehealingcenter.net/
April 2, I will be in Prince Frederick and speak to seniors at the Calvert Pines Senior Center at 12:30 p.m. I once lived in Calvert County and am delighted to connect to new and old friends here. Visit at http://somd.com/Detailed/1734.php
April 7, I will be a guest at a Meet the Author event at Leonardtown, MD. If any of you live near Leonardtown, I invite you to come to The Good Earth Natural Food Company. It is a great pleasure to reconnect with Valerie, store owner, and new and old friends. I will be doing a book signing from 9:30 a.m. – 12 noon. http://www.goodearthnaturals.com/
Ryall, M. E. (21 March 2012). Butterfly Corner. Washburn County Register, p. 11.
March 12 – Michele Darmanin, Sydney, Australia, spearheaded a project to donate books to start a school library on the remote island of Viwa Island, Fiji. Michele and her husband visited the island in 2011. Michele explained they traveled by two boats to get to Viwa. In March 2012, she made a request via an Internet writers group. A Google search documented that monarch butterflies do indeed live on Fiji. I mailed Michele a copy of my book, My Name is Butterfly. It is known that monarchs often land on ship when they are far from land. Most likely a passing ship made it possible for the monarch to take up residence on Fiji.
March 14 – According to Journey North, “Here they come! Monarchs are leaving the overwintering sites and appearing on the breeding grounds to the north. According to our observers, they may already have spread more than 1,000 miles northward. During spring migration, female monarchs leave a trail of eggs behind as they travel.”
March 17 – The Spooner Garden Club and the Spooner Agriculture Research Station sponsored the Eighth Annual New Ventures Garden Seminar, Northwood School, Minong. Over 240 gardening enthusiasts attended the all day seminar. Cassie Thompson, Northwood School and Dakota Robinson, Shell Lake School assisted Happy Tonics with displays. Cassie is the model for My Name is Butterfly. She participates in High School Forensic Class. Cassie is a public speaker, winning a state award in 2008 for the environmental talk Trumpeter Swan. She is boning up on her skill to hopefully compete at state level. The next competition is March 29 in Spooner. This will be the deciding event.
Dakota brought a petition to stop mowing during migration. She worked on the environmental project to earn a Silver Badge, which she won in 2011. Over 30 people signed the petition at the event. Three individuals at the event told me they had seen monarch butterflies, in Hayward, Ashland, and Superior. How can this be? The milkweed isn’t even up yet.
March 18 – I saw a Milbert’s tortoiseshell. Perhaps the ladies at the seminar mistook the tortoiseshell? Tortoiseshell butterflies overwinter and could fly about on a 70 degree F. day. Monarchs do not overwinter. I didn’t notice the tortoiseshell’s front wings with color. I only saw the dark body tones with orange outer wings on hind wings as it flitted by. Is climate change impacting the timing of migration? The unusually warm weather in March is triggering migrating birds back to our area. Some male robins arrived last week. This week I see more males setting up display areas. This is their way of inviting females to choose a partner. Butterfly news was reported to Mike Reese, Wisconsin Butterflies Organization at http://wisconsinbutterflies.org/butterfly/sightings. My listing is posted on the link.
March 23 – 2nd Annual NW WI Regional Food Summit will be held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, in the auditorium and outside. Happy Tonics will be exhibiting and distributing common milkweed seed. My Name is Butterfly will also be offered. Break-out sessions: Farmer, Buyer, and Coop Perspectives; Entering the Local Food Arena for Community Members – Why, Where, and How. Keynote Speaker: John Peck, Family Farm Defenders. Topic: Food Sovereignty.
According to Dr. Lincoln Brower, Monsanto’s Roundup garden pesticide and Roundup Ready Crops, such as GMO corn and soy, contain glyphosate. The impact of glyphosate has been linked to environmental and pollinator decline including monarch butterfly. Roundup Ready crops are planted most frequently in the Midwest. Mexico, the mother country of corn, has also switched over to Roundup Ready crops and GMO corn seed. It has been documented that the 17 year decline in butterfly population is directly related to Roundup Ready pesticide and GMO crops that have the pesticide in their DNA. Mind you, this is not the only cause of monarch butterfly decline. Development and roadside cutting during migration and lack of the native host plant, specifically milkweed, also play a big role in monarch decline. Source: Insect Conservation and Diversity, March 2011.
Ryall, M. E. (14 March 2012). Butterfly Corner. Washburn County Register, p. 16
March 8, 2012 – Estela Romero, local reporter, Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico, went to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary with monarch expert, Doctor Lincoln Brower, Sweet Briar College, Virginia. Estela has been watching the monarchs for weeks and thinks they are more active. She saw many butterflies flitting about, instead of hibernating on trees. The scientist and his guide went to Chincua sanctuary. Further up the mountain, last year’s flood and mud slide damage could be seen.
Dr. Brower expressed his concern about how dry the Mexican forest is this year. In winter 2010, Monarch butterfly populations endured a terrible flood in the mountains, where the sanctuary is located. This year, the soil is baked dry and unstable because there are fewer trees to stabilize the mountains. It is so dry, that Dr. Brower is concerned, that the butterflies may not have sufficient moisture, which they use for respiration. Last fall 2011, Texas suffered a terrible drought. The state suffered massive fires. Texas is the gateway to and from Mexico for the butterfly. Lack of liquid and plant nectar in Texas may play a major role on the monarch butterfly migration 2012 .
Dr. Brower is concerned that now the monarchs may not have enough lipids to make the journey north this spring. Yes, many will make it, but what about the majority of the migration? Deforestation continues in Mexico. There are fewer Oyamel fir trees in the Mexican forest. Fewer trees mean fewer winter habitat for the monarch butterfly. Since the time of the dinosaurs, the butterfly has been around. How could a butterfly, which has survived throughout history, be so impacted by our material world and climate change in such a short time? We will follow the migration north to keep you posted.
The Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake has some good news. Volunteer staff discovered that black swallowtail caterpillars and adult butterflies were seen in Shall Lake, in the summer of 2011. With this news, Happy Tonics plans to include host plants for the butterfly. We want to welcome this species to the habitat.
I am thrilled to have my book talked about in England and beyond the big waters. Happy Tonics has published butterfly articles in the UK before with Butterfly Observer, Cornwall Butterfly Conservation.
March 29 – The first week of April, I will be in Washington, DC. While there, I will attend Cindy Dyers one woman photography exhibit at Green Springs Garden, in Alexandria, VA. Cindy is Happy Tonics VP of Marketing. Check out her exquisite photography at http://www.gardenmuseshow.com/. I am doing a book tour in DC; Southern Maryland in Calvert and St. Mary’s County; and in Northern Virginia. I have been invited to speak at Meet the Author events. It will be good to see my old stomping grounds again.
I was delighted that two of my young apprentices helped with Happy Tonics exhibit at the Northwood School, Minong, Wisconsin. This was the eighth annual New Ventures Garden Seminar and it was very well attended.
Cassie Thompson was the model for my book, “My Name is Butterfly.” She has been a butterfly advocate since a young girl. Cassie lives in Minong, WI. Dakota Robinsin, Shell Lake, WI, won a Girls Scout Silver Medal for her project to educate about the monarch butterfly migration. Dakota made a story board that she uses to educate others about the Endangered Migration Phenomena. She made a petition to stop roadside mowing. So far she has 91 signatures. Her goal is to reach 100 signatures before she sends the results to Senator Jauch and other legislators.
Also in the collage is Marlene Darmanin of Sidney, Australia. Marlene started a project to build a school library on remote Viwa Island, Fiji. Marlene’s story to follow shortly on this Blog. All thee of them are heroes in my book. Each of them stepped outside of their comfort zone to implement change for good.
18 March 2012 – According to Journey North, the monarch butterfly has left Mexico and may have traveled north by 1,000 miles. Read the science behind the article about the decline of monarch butterflies. We need milkweed to establish a pollinating corridor across the United States.
Too warm in Northwest Wisconsin week of March 11. Three people told me they saw monarch butterflies. How can this be? There are no milkweed plants up yet.
Reflective writing by Tribal Chairman, Mike Wiggins, Jr., from the Bad River Reservation. The threat is the Open Pit Iron Ore mine in the Penokee Hills. Bad River Reservation is downstream from the mine.
As I sit in a Madison Hotel tonight it’s giving me some time to reflect on things that have transpired over the course of the past twelve months. It is no secret that Bad River has been uncompromising in our opposition to mountaintop removal in the Bad River Watershed. To spend a year actively engaged in the reality of it happening has been heartbreaking, infuriating and humbling. Tonight I sit here in awe and wonder, truly humbled by some of the things I saw and heard along the way……Please bear with me…I’d like to share some of them.
I have seen rocks ride out to big water on Lake Superior waves.
I have watched babies play blissfully on the floor outside public hearings where their parents testified and begged for stewardship of the earth.
I witnessed Red Cliff leader Marvin Defoe share with everyone that he had to tell his daughter “I have three minutes to change the world.”
I have seen Northland citizens in West Allis who had rode a bus for 7.5 hours for the possibility of five minutes testimony.
I have been told “this is not a game.”
I have seen Cranes, Eagles and Herons appear and stay in places that defy reality.
I have watched Tribal Leaders I used to read about, use their gifts of speech and persuasion to help Bad River and fight for all of us.
I have watched time tested Bad River Ogitchidaa rise to the occasion.
I have watched time tested Bad River Ogitchidaa stir restlessly waiting on other fronts.
I have watched new Bad River Ogitchidaa and Ogitchidakwe rise to the occasion.
I have watched people of the four colors come together to eat, laugh and talk about their love of blue clean water.
I have been told to “show some respect.”
I listened to elders talk of babies and thunderbirds.
I listened to corporations promise millions and millions, but fail to promise the world.
I have watched our Tribal Council in consensus.
I watched Joe Rose’ arm rise in the air and hold for a tenth of second, then drop and launch the loudest drum beat I’ve ever heard through the center of the Capital Building in Madison.
I listened to Danny Powless say to the Madison Singers “no offense, but this is who we are.” Picture Rock Anishinabe
I have been taken aside by Bad River elders to have them say “I pray for you.” “I pray for us.”
I was there when George Newago told the Assembly Committee..”I live here, don’t piss in my cheerios!!”
I have listened to Jo Dan Rose and Jerome Powless stand and deliver like heroes with hand drums.
I have been told the mining company can put enough money aside to fix the aquifers under Bad River if they ruin them.
I listened to Bill Williams describe how GTAC was merely going to participate in and recreate the circle of life with their open pit mine.
I have had the pleasure of telling Bill Williams to clean up his dirt that he left on a testimonial table.
I have had a Senator say “I believe you.”
I have heard us called “The Bad Tribe”, “Bad Water”, “Bad Land” by Republican Legislators.
I have been told by the Governor that he is not driving the mining initiative.
I have told the Governor in a meeting, that if he is going to come to Indian Country and meet with Lake Superior Chippewa he may want to put mining and water issues on the agenda for our meeting.
I have seen pictures of a ceremony where a drum and Mother Earth became one at the hands of Tony Deperry and BR Vice Chair/Elder Bing Lemieux.
I have listened as Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Leaders talked with our ancestors.
I have seen them all helping these things around us.
I have heard Bad River Elder Joe Rose tell the Creation Story.
I have drank sacred water from Midewin Water Ceremonies
I remember another Bad River Elder Sonny Smart’s talk, and I truly came to realize I know this much
I have been told that 1.5 million was earmarked in Legislation for Bad River but it was never made public. I was asked “did you know that Mike?”
I have said that our wild rice and Kakagon Sloughs are worth a penny.
I have said that without our wild rice and Kakagon Sloughs, we won’t live.
I have seen a warrior dancing in the antlers of a big buck, in my fire.
I have seen mothers, babies and wolves in my fire.
I have come to completely understand the dreams that were given in Vision about this stuff.
I have come to understand and accept that there is a spectrum of people reading this right now and some understand what I’m saying and some think I’m nuts. But it’s all true. And it’s been a hell of a long year. With everythin…I’ll end my self disclosure with this……….I have been moved to tears of gratitude with the thought of all your hard work and the roles that all of you stepped up to fulfill. All of you.
These are words that each of us need take to heart. It is in protecting the water, living sustainably, and standing up for our rights, that we are able to protect the environment from Corporate America, that would devour us.
This is a beautiful testimony on Ho-Chunk tribe honoring the drum and standing up for the Earth. Ho-Chunk President Jon Greendeer delivered the 2012 State of the Tribes speech in front of the Wisconsin legislature. We are still strong. Many of us understand the risks that would be in our own backyards if this Iron Ore Mining Bill goes through.
Watch the video to learn that at least in Wisconsin tribes stand up for the Earth. Many Wisconsinites are standing up to this dangerous mining situation also. I have been at it so long that I can’t even repeat the words anymore, “NO Iron Ore Mine at Bad River.” Many tribes have stepped forward to speak their words and chant their prayers through out this long dragged out battle to protect the water and earth from further contamination. The mine will speed up Climate Change factors with unintended consequences of polluted chemicals that will be exposed if the mine were to become a reality. An open pit mine that would be a desecration of the Earth most not happen.