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


St. Francis Salinus Mission School Visits Native Wildflower Butterfly Gardens

Sister Maryrose and school mission bus
Sister Maryrose and school mission bus

  On May 14, St. Francis Mission school bus driven by Elmer Corbine pulled into downtown Shell Lake. Sister Maryrose accompanied the Kindergarten through 4th Grade students along with teacher aides Sarah Sisco and Laura Hoeft.  The bus ventured down the road to the school bus garage on Industrial Drive to park.  An average of 35 students jumped off the bus to romp in the woods and the south Monarch Butterfly Habitat.  This was a good choice seeing as the children had been on a bus for over an hour.  Now they could run and stretch their legs. All along the way the youngsters paid attention as plants were pointed out and uses were explained.  They learned that there are two kinds of horsetail and that the plant is used to scrub pots and pans after cooking outside on a fire.  Then there was yarrow called squirrel’s tail.  The kids got a kick out of seeing how the leaves resembled a wagging tail. They especially liked learning about pussy toes which are soft as a kitten’s foot. Some saw a small butterfly that flitted so fast we were not able to identify it.

Happy Christina with wild pea vine
Happy Christina with wild pea vine

  The sounds of wind in quaking aspen and spring peepers serenaded us.  We named plants in Ojibwe, English and Spanish when we knew the translation.  It was a cross cultural learning experience.  

Then we boarded the bus once again and headed to the north Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden. I couldn’t help but notice that the children enjoyed the large boulder in area three. 

Children reconnecting to nature and loving it.
Children reconnecting to nature and loving it.

  They walked the path in twos respectfully in order not to trample on emerging plants.  They especially enjoyed sitting on the memory benches scattered about and having a short rest in the pergola.  Afterwards we headed to the Lion’s outdoor shelter for a picnic and play time at the beach and playground. A healthy veggie and fruit snack and fresh apple juice was made possible by a grant from Washburn County AODA Commission.

BEE Connected – Every Day Is Earth Day

Eagle Feather Dance
Eagle Feather Dance


On 24 April 2010 Happy Tonics held the III Annual Earth Day Event in Shell Lake at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden.  This year it did not snow like it did in 2008 but it rained.  Heaven smiled upon us in sending the rains in the 7th year of drought. 

Ginger Wilcox gives sacred tobacco out
Ginger Wilcox gives sacred tobacco out
Thunderbolt Drum
Thunderbolt Drum giving thanks for the rain

We all took a pinch of tobacco and offered our good thoughts along with tobacco to the Ojibwe birch bark basket.  Then Dr. John Anderson offered prayers to the Creator in thanksgiving for the rain and we dedicated our ceremony “To honor the bees.” 

Once a wild wolf now man's friend
Once a wild wolf now man's friend

John taught the audience that man once honored all the four legged, finned and winged relatives.  Somehow we have become disconnected.  He gave an example of how the dog dances when he sees you return safely home.  Every one with loving smiles looked at the dog he was speaking about.   The four-legged one just listened intently to John speaking .  

Ginger Wilcox Eagle Feather and Message
Ginger Wilcox holds Eagle Feather to give message

Ginger Wilcox gave a message as she held the sacred Eagle Feather.  We need to protect and honor the pollinators.  The Earth will survive without human beings.

Mother Earth knows how to protect herself.  We must reconnect to Mother Earth and respect her so that human beings can survive too.  We need to protect the butterflies, bees and native plants and stop destroying the natural world or there will be no natural resources for future generations. 

Paul Schaefer beekeeper and Mary Ellen Ryall with bee frame
Paul Schaefer beekeeper and Mary Ellen Ryall with bee frame
Paul Schaefer spoke about beekeeping.   He and his wife Beverly are beekeepers in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA.  The pure and organic honey that they produce is absolutely delicious.  There is an urgent need for younger generation to get involved in beekeeping.  Without bees, we will have no food.  Native bees are also in decline including four species of the beloved bumble bee.  Xerces Society is a good start to learn about native bees and beekeeping.  The local lunch was made possible by a grant from the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board.
Handmade Butterfly Quilt for Happy Tonics Fundraiser
Handmade Butterfly Quilt for Happy Tonics Fundraiser
 The Wednesday Sit and Stitch Quilt Group made this handmade butterfly quilt as a Fundraiser for Happy Tonics.  It took the senior ladies a year to complete the project and the quilt was on display for the Earth Day attendees to view.  It  will be auctioned off online or through a raffle later this summer.  First the quilt is being entered into the 100th Anniversary Fair in Spooner, Wisconsin, this summer.  We surely hope this beautiful quilt wins a ribbon. 
Baby Eden
Baby Eden
The last message of the day is that we must all do our part to protect Mother Earth for the next 7 generations.
Let us plant host and nectar plants for the pollinators so that Baby Eden will have a natural world when she grows up.
Miigwetch (Thank you)!   


Happy Tonics has been selected again as a candidate for the April 1 – 15 VOTING PERIOD with Brighter Planet.  Our Grant Proposal Native Habitats and Community Gardens in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, needs your VOTE at
We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Environmental Education Organization and Public Charity.  Officers and board work for free.
Please take a minute to REGISTER on BRIGHTER PLANET and VOTE for our Grant Proposal.  Thank you for helping us create a world of beauty for today and the future.  
Bees on Coneflower
Native Bumblebees on coneflower

  Our work is dedicated to helping the littlest of species the pollinating butterflies and native bees that need our help.  We grow native habitat and crops to promote biodiversity which pollinators depend upon.

Thank you for VOTING for our Cause at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

Buy Common Milkweed Host Plant of Monarch Butterfly

Dear monarch butterfly friends,

monarch caterpillar
Monarch caterpillar

Won’t you help Happy Tonics create a floral corridor across the USA for the monarch butterfly?

You can purchase common milkweed seed directly from our nonprofit 501 (c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity at http://stores.ebay.com/HAPPY-TONICS

Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it turned into a butterfly.  Proverb.

Thank you.