Butterfly Corner

May 9, 2012 published in Washburn County Register, Shell Lake, WI, USA

According to Scott Black, Xerces Society, Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Civil Rights Memorial, is asking people the world over to share a memory about environmental loss – and, at the same time, learn about what’s being done to stop it. Ms. Lin’s appeal is being made in collaboration with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and World Wildlife Fund to draw attention to Conservation in Action, the newest installment of What is Missing?, a global, multimedia artwork that serves as a memorial to our living planet. Part one can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/10990773What is Missing? This is a whole new way to experience the demise and plea to save threatened species due to habitat loss. Source: New York, NY (PRWEB)

May 2 – Xerces Society has included Happy Tonics on a new mailing list for the “International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Species Survival Commission (SSC), and Butterfly Specialist Group Survey, to assess global research and conservation needs of butterflies.” Xerces Society has published the analysis of survey results in a report, Assessment of Global Research and Conservation Needs for Butterflies: Analysis of Survey Results. Happy Tonics records butterfly species at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. The nonprofit documents butterfly findings to Xerces Society and Wisconsin Butterfly Organization.

May 3 – We have been noticing a surge of butterflies in Minong. The temperature reached an average of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a meadow full of pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta) growing next to my property. The little plant is host plant to painted lady butterfly. I haven’t seen the species yet. I bent down to take a closer look. There were lots of Milbert’s tortoiseshell butterflies enjoying nectar from the plant and dandelion. Some butterflies looked like they had recently emerged. They were bright in color. Others showed signs of age with faded and battered wings. Fast flying meadow fritillary butterflies were also seen. Common violet is their host plant. There are plenty of violets in my gardens in Minong. Violets are a sign of healthy soil. I have noticed a small colony of violets in the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake.

May 3 – Received a butterfly news update from Stephanie Ryall, Saratoga Springs, NY. “We had a big influx of Scarlett [red] Admirals yesterday. Have you heard of this phenomenon up your way? They fly very quickly and look like they are playing in pairs. Watching the sky in Saratoga.” Many of you know that my hometown is Saratoga Springs, NY. I will be there in August for racing season and book tour. Saratoga County protects the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Large tracks of land have been set aside for butterfly conservation. No development can occur near the butterfly reserves because Karner blue is protected. The DNR in Polk-Burnett County is marking habitat under power lines that has Karner blue host plant, native blue lupine. Unlike the monarch butterfly, which has endangered migration phenomena. Shell Lake is the seasonal home to the monarch and the butterfly does not threaten development.

Jo Stewart, St. Croix Writers; Boyd Sutton, Retired former Wisconsin Writers Association Officer

May 4 – 5 – Wisconsin Writers Association’s (WWA) spring conference was held at The Lodge, in Siren.

Mary Ellen Ryall copyright Anna Martineau Merritt

Mary Ellen Ryall copyright Anna Martineau Merritt

I had the opportunity to sell my book, My Name is Butterfly, and meet many butterfly friends. One individual stands out in my mind, Boyd Sutton. He devoted many years to reshaping WWA and was one of the organization’s driving force. Boyd retired this year. He was honored with an award and stand up resounding applause.

I was heartened to see more youth at the event this year, including talented Mikhaila Lampert. She is a high school age young lady who easily makes her way to outside the classroom learning experiences. Mikhaila earned a scholarship to WWA. It was a privilege to drive her to the conference and have the opportunity to get to know her a little. She lives on a farm near Spooner and loves butterflies. I expect we will see a lot more of her this summer at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, as a volunteer. Anthony Bukoski was one of the speakers. He is the author of many short story collections. Born in Superior, he writes about the surrounding area. I learned a long time ago that a person should write about what they know. Bukoski reiterated the importance of these words to many aspiring authors.

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WANT TO LEARN ABOUT A NATIVE BEE?

One of my favorite things is the bumble bee and here is her story.

Bombus ternarius from back

Bombus ternarius from back

On April 14, I was walking through the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA, and thought I saw a Bombus affinis.  This bumble bee is in decline.  Even though the bumble could be located in Wisconsin, Washburn County is not its home.  You can imagine how excited I became when I saw what I thought was the rusty patch bumble bee.  I went scrambling into my purse for the  iPhone and took some photos while the bumble bee flew happily from one dandelion flower to another gathering pollen. 

On April 25, I emailed Jennifer Hopwood, Midwest Pollinator Outreach Coordinator at Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.  She identified my bumble as Bombus ternarius.  According to Jennifer, this species has orange rusty hair bands on the 2nd and 3rd segments, and then another yellow band on the 4th segment.  This bee is the cousin of the rusty-patched bumble bee.

Jennifer says, “The rusty patch bumblebee has yellow hairs on the first segment, and then a rusty patch in the middle of the second segment, with yellow hairs on either side of the orange patch. She suggested that it was likely a queen bumble bee and that she will go on to produce 100+ bumble bees this year.  I hope many of the queen’s offsprings will make their home this summer at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden.

Bombus ternarius with yellow band after rusty hair bands

Bombus ternarius with yellow band after rusty hair bands

Let’s do all we can to plant nectar sources for the pollinators.  Let me know your bumble bee stories.

Be happy Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.  

Bombus ternarius front view

Bombus ternarius front view

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)!   

Welcome Back Meadow Fritillary and Bumblebee

April 10, 2010 – I was so surprised to see a meadow fritillary butterfly and what I think may be a rusty-patched bumblebee.  My neighbor Bobbie and her dog Bootsie were sitting outside and watching the nature show.  Bobbie said, “Bootsie was barking at the bumblebee earlier.”  She pointed out the futterbys.  Check out Larry Webber’s Website at http://wisconsinbutterflies.org/butterfly/species/70-meadow-fritillary to learn more about the meadow fritillary.

Meadow fritillary

North of Mount Morris, Waushara Co., WI, August 21, 2002 copyright Wisconsin Butterflies Organization

This is the earliest I have ever seen a butterfly outside of the mourning cloak that was seen in March and is the first butterfly to show itself after the snows. 

Bumblebees are another passion of mine. The rusty-patched bumblebee is in decline. I think this is the species I may have seen today because it had a rusty band around its middle. 

Xerces Society rusty-patched bumblebee

Xerces Society rusty-patched bumblebee

 According to Xerces Society this species of bumblebee though found in the Midwest is not supposed to be in Washburn County.

I feel that I am on a treasure hunt because I want to not only document this bumblebee species in Washburn County. I hope at least I am fortunate enough to photograph it and other bumbles in 2010.

I did notice that viola (violet plant) grew as a ground cover beneath the nonflowering lilac.

violet

violets growing under trees in Minong, Wisconsin

  The fritillary host plant is the viola.  The caterpillars overwinter and emerge as butterflies in the spring.  It was near 60 degrees Fahrenheit today and perhaps the butterfly had recently emerged as a butterfly. 

Think spring Insectamonarca friends and be happy where ever you are.

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