Roundup kills milkweed, the only host plant of the monarch butterfly. Citizen scientists have known for a few years now that the decline of milkweed is due to pesticide use which has depleted monarch populations in the Midwest where most of GMO corn and soy crop is planted now. What was once a diverse pollinator corridor has been reduced to remnant tallgrass prairie. Prairie has gone down by 90 percent in the USA.
Happy Tonics created a restored native tallgrass prairie, as a Monarch Butterfly Habitat, in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. We must do more. Gardeners need to plant milkweed to enable the monarch butterfly to rebound.
Art in the butterfly habitat. In the summer of 2010, a metal art sculpture was placed in the Memory Tree Grove at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. The art was made possible by generous people who wanted to honor my husband who died (July 4, 2010). He was a generous financial donor to the Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Happy Tonics, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization.
Shell Lake: April 23 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Monarch Butterfly Habitat, pergola at 1 p.m. Monarch poetry reading, Jeff Lewis. Dakota Robinson, short talk on the butterfly plight. Dr. John Anderson and Ginger Wilcox will lead us in a Native American Ceremony to Honor Native Habitat. Photo of thunderbolt drum appropriate in 2010. It rained and we gave thanks. Northwest Wisconsin had been in a seven year drought.
2 p.m. Reception, Community Center on the lake: Speaker: Ken Parejko author of Monarch of the Butterflies. Parejko is Professor Emeritus of Biology at University of Wisconsin, Stout. Music: New Editions Band. Lunch will be local and mostly organic. Environmental and community displays will introduce visitors to the array of sustainable living practices. Happy Tonics will have a vendor’s table and two raffles: An award-winning Butterfly Quilt made by the Stitch and Chat Quilters of Friendship Commons and an outstanding wood crafted handmade dollhouse by anonymous donor. Signup sheet will encourage participants to Volunteer at Happy Tonics Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Visitors Center/Store. Admission: $1.00, donation for lunch.
Welcome to Spring Tea – Friendship Commons, Shell Lake, 118 4th Avenue, Shell Lake, May 16 at 2 p.m. The tea will be hosted by Diane Dryden. Julie Symond, My Favorite Things, 23 Fifth Avenue, is donating a darling tea pot as a door prize. Diane will surprise us with a splash of delectable treats and teas and introduce guests to tea origins and history. She is well versed in etiquette of tea. Over the years, she has delighted many people with her creative cuisine and teas. We invite seniors to dress up; wear hats and gloves if they choose. This could be a fun opportunity to put on old-fashioned attire that you have been saving for a special event. Dress code not required. Just come and enjoy a time to reminisce at the Welcome to Spring Tea. Cost: $5.00 ($4 towards expense and $1.00 for Senior Center). Please call (715) 468-4750 to register.
Sponsored by Happy Tonics and Shell Lake Friendship Commons.
April is National Volunteer month. Happy Tonics would like to invite seniors to sign up to volunteer a day a week or once a month at the Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue, Shell Lake. Perhaps you are interested in assisting at the youth garden and Environmental Education Film Series this summer at Shell Lake’s Friendship Commons. We plan to expand the youth container garden this summer in Shell Lake with grants from Leopold Education under the umbrella of Pheasants Forever and Washburn County AODA Commission. Call Mary Ellen at (715) 468-2097 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week the Monarch Butterfly Habitat received bad press from a woman who did not understand the purpose of the habitat. Here is a response from Tabitha Brown, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College, Hayward, Wisconsin, USA.
Letter to the Editor, Washburn County Register:
In regards to the letter sent by Laureli Anderson from Cumberland, I would like to say VOLUNTEER. Happy Tonics is run by volunteers. No one is paid and it is run off of donations and grants. If you want to make a difference do something about it that is constructive. Happy Tonics butterfly Garden is a nonprofit run by volunteers and if you want to make changes to it then volunteer time or make a donation. That “nice pergola” you mentioned was a donation, and so were those benches begging to be sat upon. As a volunteer I tried to find local artists to donate artwork to add to the sanctuary. Maybe you would be more successful?
Some of the grants used to run the gardens have strict guidelines. Grants by the DNR or the Forestry service have stipulations where only certain plants can be used at the sanctuary. Why is that you may ask? Because the plants used at the Garden are Indigenous to the area and these plants are what local wildlife need since people destroy their natural habitats by planting “cute little gardens.”
A natural habitat does not look like your manicured garden. It is wild and beautiful in its own way if you take the time to study and appreciate it. I volunteer at the Butterfly sanctuary. I study plants and wildlife at the Lac Courte Oreilles Community college. Prairie habitat has been reduced to 1% of what it once was less than 100 years ago. People mow it down for their gardens, homes, and farms. The wildlife that once called it home is being destroyed. Did you know the habitat of Palos Verdes blue butterfly was reduced to the size of a baseball field? Guess what that town did to the habitat? They turned it into a baseball field. Now that butterfly is extinct in the wild.
Shell Lake is taking huge steps towards environmental awareness. The Organization that supports the Butterfly Garden in Shell Lake also provides festivals, seminars, and education on environmental awareness issues. They promote sustainable living. So next time you visit the habitat keep that in mind. You can also ask for a guided tour and learn about the plants and maybe once you know what they do you can appreciate them as much as I do.