Monitoring Native Species at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden – August 2010

AUGUST 2010

 August 12 – Stonelake Garden Club came for a tour of the habitat. There were 33 women from the garden club and they enjoyed learning about forbs and grasses. The tall bluestem grass is over 6 feet tall and it is like walking through a tunnel in some areas where the rain drenched earth produced tall stands in the wettest part of the sandy prairie.

The week of August 9 – 14 so very hot that we didn’t work in the habitat.  The temperature is supposed to cool next week.  Looking forward to placing the sculpture art in the habitat.

August 18 – The sculpture art is still not in. It has been raining quite steadily for at least two weeks now.  I don’t mind. Matter of fact, I do a Nibi Wabo Water Ceremony to bless the tears of the sky.  The habitat is happy with singing crickets. I believe I heard a frog out there this early evening as I walked through area two.

I was happy to see monarch caterpillars on several milkweeds throughout the habitat today. I feel we have an incubator this year because the adult females have found that the habitat is for them.  I love to see the waving and pollinating grasses dressed in dripping gold and yellows dangling from the flower heads waving in the breeze.  There is nothing quite like it as I pause to gaze at ground covering purple Prairie dropseed, what might be a little bluestem and one beauty I still haven’t identified. 

The plant ID plaques are nearly all in place. The hand-made large standing bird house is looking good in area three. Brennan Harrington placed a wooded stand under it so it now stands a little taller than the split rail fence.

 August 23 – I agree with Corey Bradshaw, Conservation Biologist in Australia. Limited monitoring of species does not give the big picture to show any pattern of species biodiversity, one needs to look at the long and broad view. Please read his article at http://conservationbytes.com/2010/08/24/long-deep-broad/

None the less, we are making minute monitoring observations at least. I felt it was important to document what we are seeing as an environmental education organization. I wanted to show and tell what is happening to biodiversity of animals and plant species in the Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie which is a Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA.

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Art in the Monarch Butterfly Habitat

 A new dimension has been added to the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden in Shell Lake. Thanks to a few special people, visitors will now have an opportunity to enjoy metal and cement sculptures as they walk on the butterfly winged shaped path throughout the habitat. 
Psyche with butterfly wings

Psyche with butterfly wings

  Area One – The artwork in area one is a donation from a folk artist Michell Carlisle. Tabitha Brown, former intern from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College (LCOOCC), asked her mother Michell if she would make a statue for the habitat. The cement form of Psyche with wire butterfly wings in glass and wood beads is the first art that visitors will see when they enter the habitat. The art looks contemporary and could be interpreted as modern. 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.

Area two – Corrie Wolf’s father “Duke” Wolf from Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation is an artist and sign maker. Brown worked with her father-in-law and she designed the back of the sign. Wolf donated the colorful swallowtail butterfly sign which can be seen from Route 63. LCOOCC Intern Brennan Harrington made the peeled log frame from trees on his property in Stone Lake. 

Happy Tonics butterfly sign by Mr. Wolf and Tabitha Brown

Happy Tonics butterfly sign by Mr. Wolf and Tabitha Brown

Area two – Corey Wolf’s father from Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation is an artist and sign maker. Brown worked with her father-in-law and she designed the back of the sign. Wolf donated the colorful swallowtail butterfly sign which can be seen from Route 63. LCOOCC Intern Brennan Harrington made the peeled log frame from trees on his property in Stone Lake.

Sunflower Metal Art by Rochelle Becker

Sunflower Metal Art by Rochelle Becker

  A metal sculpture of a sunflower was placed in area two. Donor and artist Rochelle Becker had given the sculpture to Ryall when she was going through the difficult stages of her husband’s illness. The sculpture now resides in the habitat for all to enjoy.

Area three- A metal sculpture of a tulip by artist William F. Colburn, Jr. of Fairhope, Alabama, has been set in the Memory Tree Grove on the northern end of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. The art work is a memorial for Willard H. DeJong, late husband of Happy Tonics founder Mary Ellen Ryall. DeJong was originally from Holland and tulips are the country’s famed flower. The metal sculpture was made possible by donors Ann Stambek, Diane Dryden and Bobbie and Bootsie Bailey of Shell Lake, Nancy Herman of Yellow Rivers Advertising, McGregor, MN and Erica Hohos of Worcester, MA.

Memorial tulip

Memorial tulip

Happy Tonics, Inc. is grateful for the outpouring of kindness from members and friends near and far.

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