Washburn County Register from the Archives

Want to read the news about the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, WI? This where it all began a few years ago which seems like long, long time ago to the volunteers who made it possible. Enjoy the read at

Washburn County Register.

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.

The Sleeping Giant May Awaken Yet

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Downtown copyright Larry Samson

  2010  has been an interesting year in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA. The TV film crews were here over 4th of July weekend filming the Restored Native Remnant Tallgrass Prairie which is dedicated as a Monarch Butterfly Habitat. Happy Tonics habitat creation will be featured on Discover Wisconsin on Wisconsin Public Television starting on March 11, 2011. We won’t be the only ones. The Museum of Woodcarving across the street from the habitat will also be aired. Then there is the Shell Lake Art Center and the Washburn County Historical Museum and many more.

In November 2010 the movie film crews were in Shell Lake. Now this is significant. We who live here know how special this pristine environment and city of 1,260 citizens is. It may not be long before the rest of the country finds out about us at movie houses. The film is timely and about a virus infection that spreads very quickly. Only Shell Lake is safe. The virus ended when it came this far north. I am not giving it full credit because I am only watching the trailers. I haven’t seen the cast and crew simply because they are here into the night or early morning. We will keep you posted if it makes the movie houses.  You can view the trailer  at http://www.discursionmovie.com/ 

Oriental poppy growing in Shell Lake

Oriental poppy growing in Shell Lake

A few days ago, we published a post on the Shell Lake Art Center and how the producers promoted the quaintness of
community. It’s a very nice video at http://www.campchannel.com/summer-camps/Shell-Lake-Arts-Center-3757.html

Hope you enjoy learning about the work we do here as citizen environmentalists and entomologists. We’re just the seed planters who enjoy seeing things grow.

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.

CLIMATE CHANGE IS A REALITY AND WE NEED YOUR VOTE

Brighter Planet is once again sponsoring our grant proposal on their social network.  Happy Tonics gained 384 VOTES in earlier rounds and we hope to boost VOTES this round from May 1 – 15.  Please log in or sign up to VOTE for Adapt to Climate Change Native Wildflower and Butterfly Habitats in Shell Lake, Wisconsin at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100 

Woodland trail to habitat

Woodland trail to habitat

Yesterday I went for a walk in the woods.  I wanted to check on the Wild Monarch Butterfly Habitat.  The DNR did a nice job in the fall of 2009 cutting down forbs and  cutting popple trees that were becoming invasive. I noticed two azure butterflies (Celastrina argiolus) flitting about with their lavender colored top wings.  This is the second butterfly species I have seen this year.  The first was a fritillary spotted earlier in April, well before it should have been in Wisconsin. We will monitor butterfly species on July 4 as part of the national butterfly count sponsored by North American Butterfly Association.  The public is invited to help us for a small fee of $5.00 to cover materials.  Come for an hour or more, from  10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Fiddlehead fern

Fiddlehead fern

  Seeing that the fiddlehead ferns were ready for picking, I gathered some and brought them home to cook.  They are delicious sautéed in butter with garlic.  While exploring I noticed that common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is taking over a once native birch tree forest.  This is an invasive species.

Birch polypore mushrooms

Birch polypore mushrooms

The dead birch are now a haven to a birch fungus (Piptoporus betulinus) that breaks down the wood.  This particular polypore is unique in that it lives throughout the year on dead birch trees.  It only lives for up to a year but will continue to stay on the tree in its hardened wooden form.  It is known as the artist conk and the bottom is felt like and can be carved into art.

One of the side effects of climate change is that invasive species move into an area that once was native habitat.  They are hardy and once an invasive species gets a foothold, it is hard to eradicate.

Handmade sign DNR Donation

Handmade sign DNR Donation

  The DNR has been helping us to manage invasive species in the open field butterfly habitat surrounded by woods.

Your VOTE really matters.  It may in fact help fund a book to be published on monitoring species in 2010.

Thank you!

BEE Connected – Every Day Is Earth Day

Eagle Feather Dance

Eagle Feather Dance

BLESS THE EARTH AND ALL WITHIN

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)!   

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