New Moon Water Ceremony in Northwest Wisconsin

Saturday, July 30- There were thunderstorms surrounding the valley in late afternoon. Water sisters arrived at the Hospitality House in Minong. We began by dressing up in skirts. Sandy Stein mentioned that when women wear a shawl and skirt it represents mountains and being close to Mother Earth. A skirt worn in ceremony is respectful and helps women remember that we are feminine energy and connected to Mother Earth. We put our sacred items together to carry them out to the sand dunes. I had on my glass water pendent that Worth Cooley-Prost had made for me. Sandy wore her medicine bag. It is good for women to have their very own medicine bag. We have several small beaded butterfly medicine bags made by an elder Marilyn Vig, Rice Lake, WI. I will exhibit and offer them for sale in September at our online store at http://stores.ebay.com/happytonics

Rainbow after storm

Rainbow after storm

While still at the house we witnessed a rainbow. This was a beautiful sign.

Then it started to lightly rain again as we walked to the sand dunes. Sandy Stein said, “Rain is good.” I responded, “After all we are praying for the water.” We felt blessed as we entered Sacred Space and the rain began to lighten up and then stop.

Sandy, Deborah and Godavari met the sweet fern for the first time that is now growing over the dune and into the site. I love this fern, years ago I put my intentions on the fern and wished that the fern would climb the dunes from the other side. Each of them smelled the plant and were joyous when they smelled the sweet fragrance having never smelled anything like it before.  I reminded water sisters that we needed to be silent as we entered Sacred Space.

Sweet fern.

Sweet fern.

We put our individual sacred items on the blanket alter in the sand. Before we began the Nibi Wabo (Water Song) each of us added our pure water to the water bowl to marry the waters. We tried to smudge but couldn’t get a match to light the sacred sage; it was too damp. We each took a pinch of tobacco in our left hand. In turn each spoke their intentions of remembrance before beginning ceremony and added a pinch of tobacco to the basswood Two Headed Bear Dream Bowl handmade by Frank Galli. The bowl was made especially for Water Ceremony offerings.  Then I gave a short talk on the observations of water to the sisters.

Message: Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer is one of the Ambassadors of the White Buffalo Family in Oregon. She is with them now and doing ceremony as we stand in circle. Worth Cooley-Prost is traveling from Arlington, VA to the Carolinas. Worth is standing with us in ceremony at the same hour where ever she is. I remembered Shelley Ruth Wyndham, Cape Town, South Africa, who asked that she be remembered each time we stand in Water Ceremony. She is with us in ceremony.   Mother Earth is going through a Great Cleansing and weather is and will become more violent.  We are to stand firmly grounded to the earth and hold any fear in our feet which is solidly planted in communication  with Mother Earth. We are not to let fear rise up through our bodies. We are not to be afraid when great and turbulent changes occur around us. We are to know that Mother Earth is protecting us. We are the Water Walkers, water sisters and water teachers.As women we are called to protect water. We are not alone. We are here to grow in healing energy work as we band together all over the world. Each of us in our own environment is here to teach others not to be afraid and to help people cross over the rainbow road after a storm. We are here at this moment to personally adapt to Climate Change and its consequences. We need to learn what our agricultural plant growing zone is and may be in the predicted future. We need to plant appropriately while we look towards the future. Current plant zoning is changing. In Northwest Wisconsin instead of planting the same species of downed trees ( Birch, Red Pine and Jack Pine) of the last storm in Minong on July 1, we need to look at a zone or two further south and plant accordingly. We need to personally adapt and teach others to adapt. There is no sense in old programming of being alarmed when our immediate world is changing and negatively lamenting the changes. If we survive I believe this is sufficient enough to be grateful. The solution: Think positive because we are still here doing our work. Adapt! This is the message.

Then we sang to the four direction, using our birch bark clapping sticks.  The clouds were getting black and thunder clouds came closer. After concluding the Water Song we ended ceremony sooner, packed up our ceremonial objects and headed back to the Hospitality House. Before we left the sand dunes, Sandy put down the sacred items she brought to the ceremony. These were a shell and rock. I left a tear drop shell in a special place also which was significant because we were blessed by rain during ceremony.

Parched sand dunes from drought.
Parched sand dunes from drought.

One of the observations I have noticed since I started working on water issues and Water Ceremony, with the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites, is that I am forever thirsty. Northwest Wisconsin experienced a seven-year drought .  I am conscious of having a dry mouth and wanting to drink water.

NOTE: Parts of this state’s North Woods and the adjacent Upper Peninsula of Michigan are the only areas in the continental USA experiencing “extreme” drought. It’s the region’s most severe drought since the 1930s and its longest dry period since the 1950s, says Roy Eckberg, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Green Bay, Wis. Learn more at http://www.usatoday.com/weather/drought/2010-06-24-drought_N.htm

Artesian well with spout and cup
Artesian well with spout and cup

I am grateful for all the rain in 2011 even though we have had to deal with strange, unpredictable and more frequent violent storms. Even the clouds have changed to forms I have never seen before. Now I keep a weather radio on.

I am secure in knowing  that there is pure water at the artesian well in the woods where sweet water flows to the surface from deep within Mother Earth. What a happy woodlands it is that surrounds the artesian well. Even though the trip is long and I need to drive 60 miles round trip from Minong to Shell Lake and back, I am happiest when I am drinking this precious pure water.

After the Water Ceremony Godavari wrote, “Thanks so much, so very much, for having us at your place, especially right after the trauma of the storms, when it must have been hard for you to get ready.  I like that it rained on our ceremony.  In Siddha Yoga rain is auspicious (highly beneficial, a good omen) because it is a blessing upon the  earth and its people.  As you said, it is life itself.  After our ceremony, I began drinking water with much gratitude, knowing we are blessed to have clean water on this part of the earth.  And inside, I feel a purification beginning, which the water ceremony seemed to launch.  Purifying me of anger and resentment, making space for greater love.  So in a personal way too, I am grateful to you for leading us in honoring water, in honoring Mother Earth.

Note: Godavari  means goddess of a holy river, and there is a River Godavari, as they call it there, near the Siddha Yoga ashram in India.

Worth Cooley-Prost says, “My part of Water Ceremony was brief and on the move, but held my Heart and I hope added something Good to the whole. My old (85 now!) friend Dot, who co-founded the Light Group in Kinston NC in the early 1970s, brought me a little container of water from there. (It used to be artesian well water, now it’s a mix of that and water from the Neuse River… anyway, Water from close-to-me Ancestors’ home since 1841 or so.) And our car smelled so wonderful with sage lit!

Tonya Whitedeer Cargill is a Clan Mother of the Bear Clan of Medicine Creek Metis in Laytonville, CA.  She holds women’s circles and Grandmother Net of Light Ceremonies.  She is one of the Ambassadors’ for the Sacred White Buffalo Family in Northern Oregon.  She is currently working on a novel that is coming to her through Spirit.  Tonya works with endangered species Medicines of the Green Nation and maintains a Medicine Walk open to the public to educate all those that come to her land named through Spirit as Medicine Creek. Visit the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites at http://waterblessings.org/

Mary Ellen Ryall is a Council Guide of the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites and Executive Director of Happy Tonics, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. Ryall is the author of My Name is Butterfly published in 2011 by Salt of the Earth Press. The book will be available on Amazon shortly.

The fully illustrated children’s book gives testimony of why native plants are important for pollinators. The charming book teaches about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and its only host plant milkweed. Over the last eight years Ryall has planted milkweed at the sand dunes. Monarch butterflies flitted about the day of the Water Ceremony. This is another good sign that the monarch butterfly abounds in Minong in and near the sand dunes.

 

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Discover Wisconsin Films in Shell Lake

Diane Dryden, July 21, 2010 Washburn County Register

 SHELL LAKE – Due to the efforts of Michelle Voight, the Washburn County executive director of tourism, the film crew and host of “Discover Wisconsin,” Stephanie Klett, along with her film crew, Jim Dick the producer and Trevor Wright the camera man, visited and documented several areas in the county. 

Actually the information and film we’ve gotten in Washburn County will be a two-year, continuous loop of advertising,” said Klett, who is the managing director for the Discover Wisconsin Media Network and is the host of the show.

“Washburn County will not only be included in various press releases; it will have a Web presence, Discoverwisconsin.com. I also do three-minute sound bites on 40 stations, Monday through Friday, throughout the state. The half-hour program will run three times within that two-year period beginning next March.”

During Klett’s 17-year tenure with the program, she’s filmed in all 72 counties while traveling the entire state each year. “It’s no problem for me to put on from 50,000-100,000 miles on my car and our crew works 300 days a year, filming and then editing copy so it fits into our 30-minute program.”

Klett does the interviewing and research, along with Dick, when hired by various counties for “Discover Wisconsin’s” half-hour program.

Included in the program about Washburn County is Hunt Hill, the Museum of Woodcarving, the Washburn County Historical Society, The Railroad Memories Museum, Long Lake, the Birchwood Logging Museum, the Howard Morley Homestead, Gov. Tommy Thompson Fish Hatchery, Spooner Farmers Market, the veterans cemetery, the rodeo, the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum and the Monarch Habitat in Shell Lake.

The habitat was created four years ago because one woman had a vision and she worked tirelessly and jumped through lots of hoops to make her dream a reality. That woman is, of course, Mary Ellen Ryall. As was mentioned during the filming, everything that is in the habitat, which was created out of a former railroad side yard, including the native plants, the pergola, the split-rail fence enclosing the entire the site area and the benches and the trees, came through grants and donations.

“Happy Tonics is a paid member of Washburn County Tourism and we are included in the TV segment because the program includes filming of natural resources and this is something special that Washburn County and the Monarch Butterfly Habitat have to offer,” said Ryall.

 “In an age of climate change, native habitat is the only way to go, and the restored remnant tall grass prairie is an open classroom to teach others about the benefits of native habitat and its plants and pollinators such as the monarch butterfly and native bees.”

 The habitat is proof that if you are determined to see something accomplished, it will be and you might even become an international organization and end up on television someday.

Stop illegal deforestation at Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries

   
Published by Mary Ellen Ryall on Dec 10, 2010
Category: Environment
Region: United States of America
Target: United States of America, Canada and Mexico
Web site: http://www.happytonics.org
 
I thought this pupa was a jewel when I first saw it in the garden

I thought this pupa was a jewel when I first saw it in the garden

Background (Preamble):

The only host plant of the monarch butterfly (milkweed) is often a noxious weed in Canada. In the USA there is a loss of biodiverse agriculture and agricultural lands to urban sprawl and use of pesticides and herbicides.

In Mexico there is illegal logging of Oyamel fir trees within the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. In 2010 according to Monarch Watch over 50 percent of the monarchs died due to mudslides, freezing rains and floods within and around the sanctuaries.

 
Petition:
We the undersigned promise not to use pesticides or herbicides in gardening. We agree not to plant monoculture crops.

We promise to plant a variety of native crops and plants for pollinators and insect control. We promise to plant milkweed for the monarch butterfly to establish the next generation of butterflies.

 
To sign the petition go to http://www.gopetition.com/petition/41338.html

Happy Tonics October 2010 News

 Ryall, M. E. (2010 October 27). Happy Tonics October News. Washburn County Register, p. 9

Marie Basty

Marie Basty

 

Mary Ellen Ryall

Mary Ellen Ryall

October 22 – Mary Ellen Ryall, a 2003 graduate of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Hayward, WI, received a 2010 Outstanding Alumni Award. The award honors an alumni’s outstanding contribution to the college and community.

Marie Basty, was selected to receive the first-ever Alumni Award. Basty graduated in 1996 and was recognized for her personal and professional success. Jason T. Schlender, 2007 Native American Studies graduate, was also honored as a 2010 Outstanding Alumni Award winner.

McNulty children in Happy Tonics Visitors Center/Store

McNulty children in Happy Tonics Visitors Center/Store

 October 15 – Janine McNulty and her young family visited Happy Tonics Visitors Center/Store. The children brought native seed to help seed the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. McNulty works for the LCO Hertel tribal offices.

Janine McNulty talks with Jim VanMoorleham, a volunteer of Happy Tonics.

Janine McNulty talks with Jim VanMoorleham, a volunteer of Happy Tonics.

  She is interested in planting native wildflowers around the tribal buildings in Hertel. She is now able to collaborate with Happy Tonics and LCO in Hayward for leads in how to obtain work study students and interns to assist with this project.

Samuel Tha

Samuel Thayer reaches for salsify leaves.
Samuel Thayer reaches for salsify leaves.

 October 19 – Samuel Thayer’s Wild Edible Class, UW Barron County, Rice Lake campus, was attended by Ryall and Rochelle Becker, a Happy Tonics volunteer. Thayer is the author of The Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden. For the final class, students brought in wild edibles which were cleaned, prepared and added to the community soup pot. We drank hazelnut milk, ate wild fried parsnips and tossed fiddlehead ferns, puffball mushrooms and chopped dandelion roots into the soup pot. For dessert, we had black nightshade berry – some used to think it was poisonous – topping on cheesecake. The meal was fun and delicious. Every student in the class contributed to making a success of the program. Happy Tonics plans to start one of the first Wild Edibles Club in the USA in Shell Lake, spring 2011. Many students of Thayer’s class are interested in being members of the club.

NOTE: I stand to be corrected about shipping Tall Bluestem Native Grass from Happy Tonics online store. Recently I spoke with Dave Vold, of Shell Lake City Hall. He suggested we not ship the seed because it may not be a native plant elsewhere. Tall bluegrass is a native grass more frequent in prairie states. It is used for prairie restoration, soil erosion, water conservation and as a forage plant for deer and cattle. The plant is also used by birds for nest making and seed. Happy Tonics is always willing to listen. Often opinions add to the collective knowledge base.

Response to Letter to the Editor – Happy Tonics Board and Officers

The Editorial article by Lauralei Anderson in the paper September 8, 2010 was submitted to Happy Tonics, Inc. officers and board in OH, MA, VA and WI. We agreed to the following response to Lauralei Anderson’s Editorial.

Letter to the editor, Washburn County Register

In regards to the letter sent by Lauralei Anderson from Cumberland, we at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat would like to respond to her criticism calling the habitat “an overgrown railroad bed.”

A native habitat is completely different from a typical garden, park or planting. There are no tulips and marigolds in nice neat rows because all the plants in the habitat are native to Wisconsin. This is a prime example of a restored tall grass prairie whose plants are the same ones that covered Wisconsin when the Conestoga wagons passed through carrying the pioneers west.

It was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that not only helped pick out the native seeds, but donated over $500 worth of seeds to the habitat and the Land and Water Conservation Department had a huge hand in the project also.

Native plantings always start out with common plants like the little and big blue stems which you call weeds. If the garden is healthy, the first native flowers begin to appear the third year. You mentioned in your letter that you saw some ‘scant black-eyed Susan’s, they are right on time. Within the next 5 years, more native flower species, the seeds of which were planted by professionals, will appear. Some native plants take years for their seeds to germinate and grow into plants.

Even though the habitat idea is new to many here in Shell Lake and the surrounding residents, it’s familiar to those who are familiar with Saulk County’s favorite son, Also Leopold and sites like Brighter Planet. The habitat has received grants from both organizations as well as numerous others that believe that if we don’t save the native plants for the two most important pollinators, the bees and butterflies, commercial crops and public and personal gardens will fail due to a lack of pollination. We will be starting to be official Wisconsin native seed savers this year, sending them throughout the United States.

Shell Lake is also on the direct floral corroder that runs from Canada to Mexico that offers food and rest to the millions of butterflies heading to their winter home in Mexico and yes, the butterflies often follow the highways, another reason for this perfect habitat site.

It’s often easy to criticize what we don’t understand, and this habitat was never meant to look like a ‘cute little garden,’ it’s a teaching tool that has already tied into Eco Tourism and we have given many tours this summer to a local audience as well as visitors from across our nation. The Monarch Habitat also sponsors Earth Day activities each year which encourage locals to buy locally.

Articles about the habitat have not only been published nationally, the habitat is also part of the international world with blog responders from 72 different countries who understand why it exists.

If you watch television, you will see the habitat featured on Discover Wisconsin three times during the next two years, starting March 2011. The habitat is all over their website and print material and calendars as well as the official Wisconsin Tourism Site.

All the beautiful little gardens you mentioned in your letter require constant up-keep from weeding to watering to fertilizing, to the applying of pesticides and for some, mowing.

The habitat is ‘green’ in more ways than one because native plants live with or without our help. The habitat leaves absolutely no carbon footprint.

We would encourage you to take a tour of this amazing place; to step back in history for a bit and enjoy the many kinds of butterflies that already visit the habitat daily.

Mary Ellen Ryall, Executive Director

Mow it, pick it or replant it, please

Letters to the editor, Washburn County Register – September 8, 2010

by Lauralei Anderson, Shell Lake Alumni, Cumberland

This was the bad press received from a critic of natural habitat.

Over the last few years, I have to commend the city of Shell Lake for taking pride in the appearance of this little city. This has been accomplished by doing improvements such as the storefront renovations, the beautiful hanging baskets that adorn the light poles and the well-groomed lawns of the beach/pavilion walkways.

The last two  Registers have featured articles of two different area gardens. Two weeks ago featured the cut little village garden by te Washburn County Historical Society, with it beautifully weeded perennials, welcoming visitors from the south end of town. Last week’s feature was of the twilight garden at the Spooner Ag Station, with its sweet sitting benches and well-groomed plants. So, I was wondering if this week’s paper was going to feature the butterfly garden on the north end of town? However, I could probably answer my own question with a solid “No.” Why write a feature about an over-grown railroad bed?

So this brings me to the meat of my letter. Why do we keep seeing this unkempt, fence-in weed patch year after year? Yes, you I know that it was designed to attract butterflies, but on close inspection we see scant black-eyed Susan’s and nothing more than wild weeds and few bugs! Couldn’t we find some eye-appealing greenery that attracts butterflies as well as scenic onlookers, making it more welcoming than a back-40 field that needs to be hayed?

It amazes me that this has been allowed to go on for as long as it has. When looking at the area on the old railroad tracks, we see sitting benches that are longing to be sat on, a grown over walking path and a very nice pergola that is vacant. Mostly, I think, because of the lack of care and the uninviting appearance of the place.

So I ask whomever is in charge of this “Garden of Weed-en”…Could you mow it, pick it or replant it and make this sanctuary as welcoming to people as well as our six-legged, winged friends.

I am hoping that letter will spark those of you who agree with me, that have been quiet about this eyesore, to speak up and ask for a little more improvement to this pretty little city.

Happy Tonics officers and board of directors will address this article in this week’s paper if the Editor chooses to publish our response.

EPA Position on Native Habitat

The Native Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, received some bad press in the newspaper this week re: Washburn County Register.  The article was in the Editor’s Column. One of our board members did some research and found an informative position paper. We are noting the Weed Law vs. Native habitat as follows.

V.  SOME VILLAGES STILL DON’T GET IT – WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VILLAGE IS ENFORCING ITS WEED LAW AGAINST YOUR NATURAL LANDSCAPE

The types of old weed laws used by municipalities to prosecute natural landscapers generally suffer from a variety of legal flaws. These flaws can be exploited by natural landscapers who are targeted for prosecution in order to win his or her case, or hopefully, convince his or her village that the weed law should not be applied to natural landscapes. The flaws are constitutional, practical and evidentiary.

A.  Natural Gardening as a Fundamental Right.

1.  Landscaping as Speech and Art

Natural gardening can be constitutionally protected speech and, therefore, any weed law must be closely related to a compelling state interest. While not all natural landscapes are obvious to even a casual viewer, many are. Indeed, this is often the real “problem.” Symbolic speech is as protected as oral speech. One of the best ways a person can announce his or her concern for what humankind has done, and is doing, to the environment is to restore a portion of the environment to its natural state. Restoring natural vegetation can, therefore, be a form of speech and, as such, is entitled to the same protection that speech receives under the First Amendment.129

The attempt made by natural landscapers to politically express themselves through the cultivation of wild plants is one that parallels historical and traditional precedents.130 The political use of flowers as symbols is as important today as it has been in the past. The red rose is the symbol of the Socialist Party in France and the British Arbor Party. In the War of the Roses, opposing sides took roses of different colors as their symbols.131

Natural landscaping can also be artistic expression protected by the First Amendment.132 State law recognizes the beauty, artistic expression and virtue of landscape gardening.133 Landscape architecture is defined as “the art and science of arranging land together with the spaces and objects upon it, for the purpose of creating a safe, efficient, healthful, and aesthetically pleasing physical environment for human use and enjoyment.”134 A weed law, as applied to natural landscapers, denies the landscapers’ ability to express themselves, through an activity statutorily recognized as art.

Neighbors and government officials need not concur that the natural landscape is “art” before First Amendment protection attaches. In interpreting art as speech protected by the First Amendment, the court in Piarowski V. Illinois Community College 135 stated, “[t]he freedom of speech and of the press protected by the First Amendment has been interpreted to embrace purely artistic as well as political expression (and entertainment that falls short of anyone’s idea or art…)…”136

One of the most spectacular examples of natural landscaping as art lies in the heart of Chicago’s Grant Park. The Wild Flower Works II is the creation of Chicago artist Chapman Kelly.137 Kelly sees his garden of wildflowers, legumes and other native plants not merely as dirt and flowers, but rather a giant canvas on which he does his “most spectacular work.”138 The ecological painting is a socio-political work that symbolizes the proper role of humankind within Nature.

In 1988, when the Park District sought to have the Wild Flower Works plowed under, Kelly went to court and obtained a temporary restraining order arguing his First Amendment rights. The lawsuit was later settled by allowing the Wild Flower Works to remain in Grant Park and the Park District to receive regular reports on its maintenance.

“Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint and the soil and air as the canvas – working with nature provides the technique.”139 More remarkable examples of gardening as art are the efforts of the French Impressionist, Claude Monet. Following the death of his wife, Monet moved to Giverny, France in 1883. There he planted the gardens that were the subject of his most famous paintings. Focusing on color relationships and the effects of light, Monet carefully arranged pure colors in the abstract form of flowering plants to “create richly patterned textures and mood by contrasting or homonizing color relationships.”140 In the later, and most productive part of his career, Monet used his flower and water gardens at Giverny as a living studio. “With the living, growing and changing plants, always subject to light and weather, Monet created an organized concentrated color environment where he could live, breathe, observe and walk, forever having his painter’s eye challenged by the effects of light.”141 Many of the plants Monet employed, and much of the layout of the gardens, are the same or similar to many of today’s natural landscapes.

Enforcement of a weed law denies the artist the tools of her art, Nature. A city’s weed law enforcement is as devastating to a natural landscaper as declaring music a nuisance would be to a musician. Absent a showing of some compelling municipal interest, a city does not have the power to restrain a natural landscaper’s freedom of expression. The unjustified restraint of freedom of expression consitutes a violation of the First Amendment.

Sources: EPA, Landscaping with Native Plants; Green Landscaping Green Acres,  The John Marshall Law Review
Volume 26, Summer 1993, Number 4. You can view the whole document at http://www.epa.gov/greenacres/weedlaws/JMLR.html 

 

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!

ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FEST, Hayward, Wisconsin at LCO Convention Center

 
 

Cheekwood Monarch

Monarchs copyright Cindy Dyer, Dyer Design

 

LCO Convention Center, Hayward, Wisconsin
Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Environmental Film Fest

 

Schedule

11:30-12:00pm: Free Luncheon
12:00pm Speaker:  Mary Ellen Ryall, Happy Tonics Inc. on Plight of the Monarch Butterfly and reasons why Happy Tonics creates native habitats for pollinators and migrating butterflies.
12:20pm Film: “Incredible Journey of the Butterflies”
1:20pm Community Discussion – Advocacy to Action

Visit Informational Booths Before and After Film:

How to Build Butterfly & Rain Gardens, Local Foods, Recycling, and more!

This nature documentary from NOVA follows the epic migration of the monarch butterfly over 2000 miles, providing a butterfly’s-eye-view as the two month journey passes over forests, swamps, desserts, and open water, eventually touching down at their destination in Mexico.

Source: http://www.fandango.com/nova:theincrediblejourneyofthebutterflies_v480610/summary

email: maryellen@happytonics.org for more information.

 

  Background photo courtesy of: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/27/52666376_2d5156903c.jpg

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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