One of my favorite things is the bumble bee and here is her story.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Happy Tonics needs your VOTE to help us do our work. Officers and Board Members give of their time to educate and implement programs to adapt to Climate Change by promoting Sustainability of Native Plants, Monarch Butterfly and other pollinator habitat. Our mission is: Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly and Food Safety Issues.
We are a small grassroots nonprofit that needs your help to WIN our Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal.
This is not Happy Tonics first attempt to bring Adapting to Climate Change into national awareness.
We were honored to participate in the Green Effect grant process with National Geographic sponsored by Sun Chips in 2009. Although other worthy causes won, we believe that each of us must do our part to bring the message of adapting to climate change home. (National Geographic, Green Effect Winning Ideas for a Better World, November 2009, insert after pg. 6.)