Good News to all our Happy Tonics fans

Today, 24 September 2013, I was reinstated as Executive Director of Happy Tonics, Inc. a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. We are growing in MA and I needed to receive grant monies I apply for under our own umbrella. I received two grants thus far and first one I had to put under another nonprofit’s umbrella.

Sandy Stein

Sandy Stein copyright Happy Tonics

The nonprofit is handling many programs already in WI, including managing a Monarch Butterfly Habitat and collaborating with City of Shell Lake on widening Route 63, which leads into Shell Lake, going past the Habitat. Sandy Stein, secretary, will attend a meeting in Shell Lake to address widening of road right-of-ways that will affect the Habitat.

She will send a report after the meeting to keep me up-to-date. I have already been engaged with Shell Lake in requesting that the disturbed road right-of-ways need to be planted with native seed. If any of the hard-scape and landscaping is moved, than it is up to the City of Shell Lake and WI DOT to remove/replace what ever is infringed upon.

Be happy Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

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 Corner

Ryall, M.E., 06 June 2012. Washburn County Register, Butterfly Corner.

False indigo is in in first book after planting three years ago

False indigo is in in first book after planting three years ago

Saturdays at the Habitat:  8 a.m. – 10 a.m. The first and second Saturday Habitat Yard Sale for the butterflies took place. Folks came by to tell us how lovely the Monarch Butterfly Habitat looks. Others came on bike or by car and bought a few things. Saturdays are fun at the habitat. We planted a few violets for the fritillary butterfly. A Three Sisters Garden was planted, just before it rained. Weeds were pulled, wet newspaper put down, and topsoil added that Steve Degner delivered. We added aged sheep manure and a package of potting soil. This planting style is known as the lasagna method. The idea is to not dig into the soil, but add to it. We planted birdhouse gourd seed and hope they will grow among squash, heirloom beans, and Pungo Creek butcher corn, a variety of rainbow red, brown, yellow, and sometimes purple ears.  For 165 years, the corn has been grown by farmers of Pungo Creek, Virginia.

May 25: The once rare brown Argus butterfly of southern England has found a new food source according to Butterfly Conservation, a science and advocacy group in the United Kingdom. The butterfly was located in southern England within a small area with a less common host rock-rose plant. Now the butterfly has migrated north due to climate change. A cooler environment was critical for its survival. To scientists’ surprise, the butterfly caterpillar is eating geraniums, which are abundant.  “The change in diet represents a change to the interactions between species – in this case between a butterfly and the plants that its caterpillars eat – caused by climate warming.”  This is the first case of a butterfly that can survive with a change in host plant, due to climate change. More science research and documentation will be ongoing to track butterfly species adaption to climate change. Terry Root, Stanford University, states that for every winner, there will be three loser species. Source: Butterfly Conservation Organization.

Wet bumblebee after a storm copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Wet bumblebee after a storm copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

May 28 – June 1: It was a virtual butterfly and bumblebee feast at the property in Minong. I saw a fritillary, American copper, red Admiral and many monarch butterflies. The fritillary deposited eggs on tiny violet leaves. The monarch deposited eggs on milkweed.  Yesterday it was the bumblebees. I counted 18 large bumblebees on chive flowers. Some were sleeping while others drank nectar from flowers. Two species of bumblebees were noted: double banded rust and impatiens.

Red Admiral copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Red Admiral copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

The Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake was alive with red Admiral butterflies.

Common buckeye copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Common buckeye copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

There were several of them nectaring on native ninebark shrub. Common buckeye and

American Lady copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

American Lady copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

American Lady were also seen. American lady differs from painted lady in that the butterfly has two giant eyespots on hind wings.

June 2: Family Festival was held in Spooner at the Fairgrounds. Hundreds a parents, grandparents, friends, and children were in attendance. Fresh Start and Happy Tonics partnered together to provide fun activities for children. My newest book, Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book,  just came out on Amazon. Copies were made of the butterfly coloring pages.

Gideon Fegman coloring monarch from Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book

Gideon Fegman coloring monarch from Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book

Gideon Fegman enjoyed coloring a monarch and said, “I am a naturologist.” John Jess, of Minong, provided several clay birdhouses and paint. Dan Gunderson, Fresh Start, gave the bird houses a first coat of paint. Children painted decorative designs on the birdhouses. We plan to make a stand and exhibit the birdhouses at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake.

Remember to stop by the Habitat on Saturday mornings and join the flea market fun from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Visitors can volunteer to do a few morning chores also.

Butterfly Corner with Happy Tonics

Butterfly Corner
by Mary Ellen Ryall

April 20 – In honor of Earth Day, Jim VanMoorleham and I planted five native chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) shrubs in area three, near the Memory Tree Grove, at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. Black chokeberry is a deciduous, cold hardy shrub useful in landscape plantings, showing white flowers in the spring, colorful red foliage, and heavy dark fruit in the fall.

Meadow fritillary copyright Mike Reese, Wisconsin Butterflies Organization

Meadow fritillary copyright Mike Reese, Wisconsin Butterflies Organization

April 24 – Today I saw a white cabbage and a fritillary butterfly. The fritillary’s host plant is violet; flowers are in bloom. Butterfly sightings were posted to Wisconsin Butterfly Organization at http://wisconsinbutterflies.org/Individuals may record their butterfly sightings at this site. Kids would enjoy this activity as much as adults do. The project allows us to understand butterfly population trends.

My Name is Butterfly copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

I am happy to report that my book, “My Name is Butterfly,” is now available at Gadsden Public Library in Gadsden, AL. I am thrilled that libraries around the country are purchasing the book for children. Book postcards also went to the State Library Convention in AL where it was given exposure to other librarians.

According to ABC News, “A female Baringo giraffe calf at the Bronx Zoo was enjoying the warm New York weather over the weekend while frolicking with a butterfly that flew through her exhibit. The butterfly caught the newborn baby’s eye while she was nuzzling her mom and exploring her new home. The calf was born in March but has not yet been named, according to the Bronx Zoo. All of the zoo’s giraffes are named in memory of James and Margaret Carter, benefactors for the Carter Giraffe Building.” You can view the chase at http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/baby-giraffe-chases-butterfly-bronx-zoo-16151869

Award winning squash bread copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Award winning squash bread copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

April 25 – My recipe for Squash Bread was a winner at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College Sustainability Living Fair. The bread was chosen for Jiibaakweyang, We are Cooking Together, Flavors of Lac Courte Oreilles. I was delighted to share saved squash seed with attendees. The acorn squash grew in the Three Sisters Garden at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in 2011. Seed sharing is all about stories of where seed comes from. At the fair, Sheldon Spratford gave me beautiful corn husks. He reported that his grandmother grew the corn until the 1980s, when she passed away. He found one husk of dried corn at her house afterwards and saved it. Sheldon, an elder, mentioned that he has been growing the sweet corn since the 1990s. He mentioned that the corn is sweet and small. Happy Tonics will offer the seed at several environmental events in May. The Visitors Center/Store will be open for the season on Memorial Weekend. We invite you to stop by for sweet corn seed.

April 26 – Journey North reported that the monarch migration moved into five new U.S. states—Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Minnesota this past week. The cold snap is keeping monarchs away from Shell Lake; there is no milkweed up yet in the habitat. Let us hope that a warming spell will begin soon.

Carol Hubin reported on April 28 that milkweed is up on her property in Shell Lake. Keep your eyes posted. If you spot a monarch, please let us know if it is a faded butterfly or freshly born. Knowing the difference will allow Happy Tonics to record the following: Did the butterfly fly all the way from Mexico or is this the first generation of butterfly in the U. S.? Female butterflies will need milkweed to lay their eggs on. Female butterflies only live a few weeks after depositing eggs.

In 2012, we are going to count monarch eggs at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat and mark milkweed plants that have eggs. Wire cages with tags will be used to identify which milkweed plants have eggs. If you have any old tomato cages to donate or see a monarch sighting, please call Mary Ellen at (715) 466-5349.

Ginger Wilcox smudges Mike Carpenter

Ginger Wilcox smudges Mike Carpenter

April 28 – 5th Annual Earth Day Event in Shell Lake was well attended. We are grateful to Dr. John Anderson and Ginger Wilcox for leading us in a Native American Ceremony to honor donors. Butterfly friends came to celebrate the butterfly and conservation efforts on behalf of the butterfly. Happy Tonics hosted an informal potluck afterwards at the Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue, Shell Lake.

Art in the butterfly habitat

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.

 

Wisconsin Trail article leads tourists to butterfly habitats

Come to Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA, in the summer of 2011 and visit the Native Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie that is dedicated as a Monarch Butterfly Habitat. Tour with Mary Ellen Ryall and learn about differnt native host and nectar plants, shrubs, trees, wild edibles  and butterflies.

Learn more about Happy Tonics at www.happytonics.org

Read the article at Wisconsin Trail at http://www.wisconsintrails.com/content/176.php

Discover Wisconsin TV promotes Washburn County Wisconsin

Hello insectamonraca friends,

Happy to report that Happy Tonics is on TV now with a short clip of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. Diane Dryden, board member, did the interview and tour of habitat with the film crew from Discover Wisconsin. You will see a portion of Victoria Zalatoris art sign, “Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden.”

Enjoy the 1/2 hour program at www.discoverwisconsin.com

Washburn County is a four season tourist attraction. Come to Shell Lake and we’ll show you a fun time. The Monarch Butterfly Habitat is along side an ATV trail and there is a path within the habitat.  The sanctuary is located along highway 63 coming to Shell Lake from Spooner, WI. It is on the lakeside and two blocks from downtown Shell Lake.

Happy Tonics on the move

posted by Mary Ellen Ryall

March 2, I did a radio interview with Jim Dick, Managing Director, Discover Wisconsin. The topic was Earth Day and why it is important.  The broadcast is scheduled to air on radio stations across the state on March 10. As many of you may realize, Happy Tonics sponsors the Washburn County Earth Day Event in Shell Lake. This year’s event is on April 23. See event details at www.happytonics.org

 March 11, Happy Tonics and invited guests will attend the Discover Wisconsin Premiere & Gala in Spooner, WI, 6 p.m. at the Palace Theatre ; 7 p.m. Gala at Northwest Sports Complex Ballroom. The syndicated television network broadcast will air on Saturday, March 12. The Washburn County TV program includes the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, Shell Lake, Woodcarving Museum, Shell Lake and others. Michelle Voight, Executive Director of Washburn County Tourism Association (WCTA), was instrumental in getting Washburn County promoted as a Tourist and Vacation Destination. Washburn County WCTA members that include businesses and nonprofit organizations are featured in this TV program.

Stations and Times: Local access channels: WDEE TV 4, Deerfield; WSCS TV 8, Sheboygan; Channel 12, Cottage Grove; New London, Cable 6; City Channel 25, West Allis; JATV 12, Janesville; PEG Station Channel 6, Mauston; W43BR Baraboo; FSN North and FSN Wisconsin, All stations air on Saturday, 10 am; WQOW, Eau Claire, Sun. 5 p.m.; WKOW, Madison, Sat. 6:30 p.m.; WFRV Green Bay, Sat. 5 p.m.; WJMN, Marquette, Sat. 6:30 p.m., WAOW, Wausau, Sat. 6 p.m.; WXOW, La Crosse, Sun. 5 p.m.; WYOW, Eagle River, Sat., 6:30 p.m., WIFR, Rockford, IL, Sat., 6:30 p.m., KFXA, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, IA; WDIO, Superior/Duluth, Sun. 5:30 p.m., WIRT, Hibbing, MN, Sun. 5:30 p.m.; WITI, Milwauke3, Sunday, 9 a.m.;   

 March 16 – Environmental Film Feast at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCOOCC) will feature speaker Kevin Schoessow, Agricultural Agent, Spooner Agriculture Research Station. Subject: Composting. One can’t have a soil enriched garden without composting.  A rare film, “Life in the Soil” will be shown. Food prices may continue to rise to offset rising fuel cost at the pump. One way to be sustainable is to plant a vegetable garden. Soil is just as important as seed. Many seed companies are charging more for garden seed this year.  Join us at LCOOCC on March 16, 12 Noon to 2:30 p.m. 13644 Trepania Road, Hayward, WI.

 We are pleased to announce that Pat Shields, Happy Tonics Board Member and Faculty at LCOOCC, recently received an International Faculty Award to attend the seminar on sustainability in Costa Rica and Nicaragua this summer. The National Science Foundation is a co-grantor.  Shields will be submitting the college’s 3 year grant with the Center for Traditional Medicine in Esteli, Nicaragua, on March 16th and leaves for Nicaragua on March 17th. 

 March 19 – Happy Tonics will be exhibiting at the 11th Annual New Ventures Garden Seminar, Northwest School, Hwy. 53, Minong, WI. We will promote Earth Day Event and Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. Cassie Thompson, young environmental advocate will assist us. She lives in Minong and is an inspiration for youth across the Nation to get involved in Volunteerism.

Terraceview Living Center residents see monarch butterfly film

Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2011

Residents at TLC enjoy butterfly film

Residents at TLC enjoy butterfly film

 Happy Tonics, Inc. hosted the film “The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies” by NOVA.  Residents at Terraceview Living Center in Shell Lake enjoyed being connected to beauty and butterflies in the film. Some remembered earlier years when they would see monarch butterflies near their lakefront homes in Shell Lake.

As we age, we need to stay connected to nature. Nature has a way of reconnecting brain cells. Happy Tonics loves to get nursing home and assisted living residents involved in environmental stimulating conversations after seeing an environemtal film about butterflies. Elders remember  to tell us about their own butterfly experiences.

We are hoping to host a few planned trips for elders  to the Monarch Butterfly Habitat this summer. We’ll keep you posted.

Be well insectamonarch friends where ever you are.

Looking at Cuba’s Organic Food Movement and More

LCO Green Team Sign Honor the Earth

LCO Green Team Sign Honor the Earth

November 3, 2010, The GreenTeam at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, in Hayward, WI, hosted the first in the series of the II Annual Environmental Film Fest. There was a good turnout of instructors in science, natural resources and ethnobotany. The event was hosted by Happy Tonics, Inc, LCOOCC and the Sustainable Living Institute.

 A film “Power of Community” showed how Cuba responded after the collapse of Russia in Cuba.  The country had to face a loss of utilities and industry. Transportation came to a grinding halt. The people went from cars to bicycles, from inported food to growing their own as they suffered a loss of income and petroleum for energy. None the less, the people have something to teach the world. They brought back healthy small agriculture that is no longer dependent upon large agricultureal machines and pesticides and herbicides.

Healthy food is now abundant in Cuba and the soil has been improved by sustainable some agricultural and family garden practices. We can learn something from Cuba. The USA and the rest of the world are now experiencing rising food prices as the global food supply is becoming more expensive and fuel prices keep surging. In Wisconsin many communities are starting to raise their own food. Families are maintaining garden plants. Our small farmers are being respected for the job that they do to bring local food to our tables. I see this movement growing in northwest Wisconsin and I feel proud to live in a community that understands that our security comes from knowing who is growing our food and where we can buy local grown produce that is free of chemicals.   

Teresa Depies, owner Springbrook Organic Dairy

Teresa Depies, owner Springbrook Organic Dairy

Teresa Depies, owner of Springbrook Organic Dairy, was the speaker at the November 3rd event. She raised some interesting points. There are new pasture rules in relationship to how many cows can be in the pasture. It is based on waste management. Teresa raises Jersey cows. They are a smaller breed and have less of a waste management problem than other species of dairy cows. This is a Grade A farm.  Teresa and her husband have been in the business since 1990. She is having success in distributing her milk to local grocery stores. I am proud that Dahlstrom’s Grocery Store in Shell Lake sells Springbrook organic milk.

When we buy from our local farmers we are supporting our own crops, dairy, poultry and grass-fed animals. This allows us to be prepared if we where to find ourselves in a “Food Security Situation.” Preparedness is readiness. The Green Team is busy at work networking a local food system into a viable way to purchase food.

Sierra White, intern from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College

Sierra White, intern from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College

 

Welcome Sierra White, a LCOOCC student and environmental education intern of Happy Tonics, Inc. Sierra will be Happy Tonics representative at the monthly Environmental Film Fest. She will assist with marketing, advertising, and recruiting partners for a local food network. Sierra will also assist with a “Day Trip”  itinery and partners with Happy Tonics Monarch Butterfly Habitat.

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