September the Long Goodbye

A prairie of Tall Bluestem Native Grass

A prairie of Tall Bluestem Native Grass.

Sunday, September 26, I stopped at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat to pick tall bluestem seed for a seed saving project. We want to offer online prairie friends the opportunity to buy a little of our native grass seed. We don’t sell seed by the pound or even by the ounce for that matter. When we ship common milkweed seed, the package contains 20-30 seeds. Tomorrow I will mail milkweed seed to Florida and Virginia. People are not greedy. They just want to help the butterfly by planting the host plant for the monarch.

As I strolled leisurely through the habitat, I saw at least a dozen yellow sulphur butterflies flitting about gathering nectar from periwinkle showy asters and yellow blooming birds foot trefoil. Among the stiff and showy goldenrod, I saw many species of native bees sipping nectar.

Summer may be over but the habitat is still alive with the activity of smaller species such as the insects which I saw in the warm sun enjoying the last days of blooming wildflowers. Soon a colder freeze will come and all life will go dormant to wait out the long cold winter.

Native bumblebees

Native bumblebees

I am enjoying these last few days of documenting and photographing the littlest of species that make our natural world complete.

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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 

 

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.

PLEASE VOTE FOR OUR GRANT PROPOSAL on Brighter Planet

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
http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100
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
 

Today We Sing Your Praises

Hand Drum Contest – Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Convention Center, Hayward, WI.  Happy Tonics will be at LCO Ojiwe Community College on Thursday to present a program on Oneida Culture and Corn.  It is all about saving tribal indigenous crop species from extinction. 

Brighter Planet VOTING PERIOD has ended.  Happy Tonics, Inc. received 234 VOTES for their initiative to adapt to Climate Change.  Happy Tonics, Inc. Officers and Board Members wish to thank each and every one of you for your votes.  Today we heard from Michelle L. Voight, Executive Director, of Tourism Washburn County Tourism Association at www.washburncounty.org  Michelle let us know she VOTED for  adapt to Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.

 We are both members of Destination Marketing Organization at http://wisconsinvisitor.com/?113140   Nancy Herman, Yellow River Advertising and Marketing and Greg Vreeland, Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad, are dedicated to letting the public know that we have some great green initiatives to promote Eco tourism and Volunteer Eco vacations in the Great North Woods of Wisconsin.  Check out the train schedule in Spooner at http://www.spoonertrainride.com/  to find some interesting short excursions that include meals and other eco friendly activities like the pumpkin train that goes out to a pumpkin patch in the fall.

Monarch Butterfly Habitat

Monarch Butterfly Habitat, Shell Lake, WI, USA copyright Cindy Dyer

 In the summer, right down the road from Spooner is the Monarch Butterfly Habitat that Happy Tonics implements.  The city owned land is now a Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie for many species of butterflies, native bees and dragonflies.  Visitors have even seen ducks, deer and a bear come wandering through the habitat. 

One doesn’t need a lot of land to restore nature back to native habitat.  Native plants are host plants to butterflies and do not require intensive watering.  The plants have very deep roots.  The prairie rose has been known to grow 20 feet down into the soil to tap water.  Can you image lawns doing this?  Why deplete water to maintain a lawn?  Native grasses and wildflowers can do all this with so little in return.   With climate change we need to adapt.  Bless you all for voting and helping to protect Mother Earth. 

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

Day Ten – Counting Votes for Climate Change Native Habitat Community Gardens in Shell Lake, WI

http://vimeo.com/7327532     Check out Brighter Planent’s short video of a bee and a daisy.

Happy Tonics Environmental Education Intern Tabitha Brown is a student at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College.  She took the initiative to email the entire student body with permission from the college staff.  Tabitha is also getting out the word out on her MySpace Blog So what’s up?  She is recruiting for friends and students to Sign Up and Vote for Happy Tonics grant proposal at Brighter Planet for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden in Shell Lake, WI.  We need your votes at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

Our Morph Your Mind Environmental Education Program teaches about Colony Collapse Disorder and importance of native wildflowers as pollen sources for bees that need our help.   Seeing Beyond Ourselves, we hope you too will help our friends the native plants, bees and butterflies and the crops that feed us.  All these species are experiencing stress because of climate change.  Help us make a difference in our hometown.  We are a sustainable city but to plant gardens and maintain a Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie and butterfly meadow, we need funds to do so.  We are grateful to Brighter Planet for this opportunity.

You are voting for species that cannot speak for themselves.  Bless your hearts.

Day Four – Ringing the Bell for Brighter Planet Grant

We’re almost there at 81 VOTES at 9:10 p.m.  Only 19 more VOTES to go till we reach 100.  Yeah Team!  If you are watching the results and have voted once, you are entitled to two more votes.  Each voter can vote three times.  If you are new please REGISTER AND VOTE AT http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100 for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake. 

Monarch Butterfly Habitat Sign

Got Milkweed? Sign made by Matt with DNR Grant

milkweed

Wild milkweed meadow Go Wild with Butterflies

I thought you might be interested in the DNR Monarch Butterfly Habitat that Happy Tonics has land use for a seasonal habitat.  Just look at the milkweed.  Native milkweed is the only host plant of the monarch butterfly and this meadow is full of milkweed.   Here is a photo of our sign that Matt made last year with a small grant from the Spooner DNR.

Today we want to thank Paul DeMain, Editor of News from Indian Country, for voting and passing the word along.  Please read Nick Vander Puy’s interview with Dawn White on the Importance of Water. 

Happy Tonics is a co-sponsor of the Environmental Film Festival.   We heard from Belinda Bowling, Owner Innkeeper, Casa Escondida Bed & Breakfast in Chimayo, New Mexico at http://www.casaescondida.com/

Sandy Stein and I had the pleasure of staying at the Casa when we were exhibiting at Tesuque Pueblo, New Mexico, in 2008.  Facebook friend Amy Lou Jenkins, author of Every Natural Fact Five Seasons of Open Air Parenting also voted for our grant proposal.  The book has not been released yet but can be pre-ordered.  We like to make friends all along the way.  So many individuals have emailed to say they have voted and we are deeply honored.  You never know who your friends are until you need them.

 Till tomorrow, keep up the good work.  REGISTER AND VOTE for Happy Tonics.  We love hearing from you.

Day Two – Brighter Planet Votes that Keep Us Going

Thank you Crossroads Resource Center, MN; La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, Inc., TX; Destination Marketing Organization, WI; Yellow River Advertising and Design, WI; Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad, WI; Dyer Design, VA and countless individuals who are VOTING for our grant proposal at Brighter Planet.  

Brighter Planet copyright by Brighter Planet

 PLEASE REGISTER AND VOTE for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

 Happy Tonics members Patti Gardner, PA; Cindy Dyer, VA and Janice Organ, WI voted.  Friends on Facebook are voting AND writing on their wall to ask their friends to VOTE.  Friends on MySpace are voting.   It takes all of us to implement change in adapting to Climate Change. 

 We are counting on YOU!  

Seed in time

Seed in time regenerates the Earth.

 Happy Tonics is so appreciative to those who are helping us carry our sustainability work forward.  Our Mission:  Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly and Food Safety Issues.

Walk in Beauty.  Navajo Morning Prayer.

Day One – Brighter Planet Climate Change Report

Happy Tonics is running fourth at 8:10 p.m. in the Feb. 1 – 15 VOTING period for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal with Brighter Planet at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

 

butterflyweed

Butterfly week host plant for monarch copyright Anna Martineau Merritt

Let’s face it some folks have big guns with bigger networks in larger cities with a bigger VOTER base.  We’re in Northern Wisconsin with a population base in Shell Lake of little over 1,300 souls.  Is it any wonder we are falling behind?  Those of you who are watching the process can make a BIG DIFFERENCE.  Please REGISTER and VOTE for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake

 I feel honored when I learn who is a member of the Project Selection Team.  To even think that our grant proposal is being considered makes me humble. 

Gus Speth

Gus Speth Member Project Selection Team Copyright Brighter Planet

Meet Gus Speth, Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. From 1993 to 1999, Gus Speth served as administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group. Prior to this, he was founder and president of the World Resources Institute; professor of law at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality; and senior attorney and co-founder, Natural Resources Defense Council.

Dean Speth’s publications include “Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment”; “Worlds Apart: Globalization and the Environment”; and other journals and books.

One Meadow at a Time

Liatris in restored prairie

Blazing star growing in Damian Vraniak's praire in Springbrook, WI, USA.

Good news!  New York City is turning heads.  Here’s a an article about an old railroad bed that is now a garden.  Bravo!

http://mediacompost.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/old-train-tracks-become-green-area-and-public-park-nyc/

Happy Tonics did the same thing in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA.  We created a Monarch Butterfly Habitat, a restored remnant native tall grass prairie, where once buffalo roamed and tall grasses grew.  The habitat is alongside of an old railroad bed on a narrow strip of land, on one half acre.  The railroad bed is now a trail for foot travel, bicycle and horses. 

Dennis Van Engelsdorp spoke about the importance of helping the pollinators especially honey and native bees including the beloved bumble bee.  He suggests letting meadows grow.  You can view the video on our Blog re:  A Plea for Bees. 

Let’s get beyond the written world.  I would love to hear from you and learn what you are doing right now to help Green Up your corner of the world.  Let’s turn the abandoned wasteland into something beautiful as a Pay it Forward act of kindness for generations to come.

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