Butterfly Corner “Washburn County Register” 06/13/12

Ryall, M.E. 13 June 2012. Washburn County Register, Butterfly Corner.

Fresh start lending a hand to spruce up the habitat
Fresh start lending a hand to spruce up the habitat

June 7: Fresh Start came to the Monarch Butterfly Habitat to help Happy Tonics with  habitat maintenance. Eleven youth and five supervisors signed up to perform Community Service. Youth worked in teams and pounded in plant ID stakes, eradicated invasive species, dug up and transplanted native plants from the path at the Shoreline Restoration Project, near the Shell Lake Beach. Groups planted and watered transplants of elderberry, black eyed Susan, goldenrod and prairie rose at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden. If you think that is a mouth full, the green team accomplished all of this in 2 ½ hours.

Even if we worked all summer, Happy Tonics with limited volunteers and staff, could have not managed transforming area three in such an efficient way. Youth were attentive, happy, willing to learn about the habitat, and enjoyed learning why we are providing habitat for pollinators.

Chad Olson, staff at Wisconsin Fresh Start Rusk Co., Weyerhaeuser, WI  54865
Chad Olson, staff at Wisconsin Fresh Start Rusk Co., Weyerhaeuser, WI

Chad Olson mentioned that teens usually grumble when asked to do manual labor. Not these youngsters. I think they enjoyed working outside with butterflies, native bees, and learning about native plants that allow pollinators to survive and insure a secure local food supply.

Happy Tonics wishes to thank supervisors Chad Olson and Carly Moline, Weyerhaeuser; Dan Gunderson and Sherri Anderson, Shell Lake; and Mary Schmocker, Hayward, for offering a day of service to the nonprofit. Special thanks go out to Jim VanMoorleham, Happy Tonics volunteer and Joan Quenan, Board Member and Volunteer. I appreciated their efforts in supervising different groups of youngsters and teaching them how to eradicate invasive species and identify native plants.

At noon, we all went to the Lion’s Shelter for a cookout. A few youth from Shell Lake stayed at the shelter while we worked at the habitat. They prepared a delicious cook out for us. Youth did mention that the assignment was fun and offered to come again, perhaps next season. Bravo green team! We love youth to participate. After all, it is their world which they will inherit some day.

June 8: Monarch survival statistics are in from Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, University of MN. Since the butterfly was first recorded in 1993- 1994, monarchs have been in decline in Mexico (overwintering site). 2011-2012 was the lowest on record. The average habitat over the past 19 years has been 7 hectares (1 hectare equals 2.5 acres). Last winter the monarchs occupied only 2.9 hectares.  There is great concern about the Endangered Migration Phenomena.

Fortunately, a few interacting weather patterns this year have been in favor of the monarchs rebounding in a single generation. The Texas drought is finally over. This means there was lots of healthy milkweed to lay eggs on. Just when the new generation was born, along came a string of warm days with southerly winds. The winds pushed the monarchs northward in record numbers and much earlier than we have seen in many years.


Butterfly quilt
Butterfly quilt

I thought our butterfly friends might want to know that Happy Tonics, Inc. is raising money for the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, in Shell Lake, WI. We are hosting this orignal butterfly quilt auction on eBay at http://www.ebay.com/itm/290730362729?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649#ht_568wt_941

Please share the eBay auction site with your family and friends. Thank you!


Hand appliquéd quilt

Myrna Atkinson and Carol Hubin quilting the butterfly pattern
Myrna Atkinson and Carol Hubin quilting the butterfly pattern

Hand appliqued butterfly quilt, approximately 90” across and 102” length, double bed size. The Stitch and Chat Wednesday Quilters of Shell Lake Friendship Commons, Shell Lake, WI, made the handmade butterfly quilt for Happy Tonics, Inc. as a fundraiser. We implemented and maintain a Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, WI. Happy Tonics is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. Our mission is Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly.

Heart appliqued border
Heart appliqued border copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

One can tell the ladies put a lot of heart into the butterfly quilt. The border has hand appliquéd hearts surrounding the borders. The quilters spent a whole year hand appliquéing the butterfly quilt. They met weekly to accomplish this feat. The butterfly quilt has a variety of butterfly colors, much like different species of butterflies.

Closeup of blue butterfly copyright Mary Ellen Ryall
Closeup of blue butterfly copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

With the sale of the Butterflies are Free Quilt, Happy Tonics will be able to fund the Monarch Butterfly Habitat into the future. The City of Shell Lake gave Happy Tonics land use to create the habitat in 2007. It is an entrance to a city, located along Highway 63, as you enter Shell Lake from the north. The butterfly quilt Won First Prize and People’s Choice at the Spooner Fair in 2010. 

Myrna Atkinson master quilter copyright Mary Ellen Ryall
Myrna Atkinson master quilter copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Myrna Atkinson is a master quilter and she supervised design and stitching. The other quilters are Carol Hubin, Mary Olsen, Mariah Brinken, and Mary Raehsler.

SHIPMENT: FREE USPS Priority Mail within three days of close of auction.


NOTE: I waited to put the item up on auction till the economy was a little better  Not sure that it is, but hope more shoppers feel confident now.

Happy bidding and thanks for visiting the Butterflies are Free Quilt Auction!