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!

Eco Adventure in Wisconsin – day ten

December 27, 2009 and the last day of my adventure. 

TRACKING A FOX Perhaps 

3256337915_8007059f6e  Possible red fox track. 

Today was really an adventure.  I decided to snowshoe in the 18″ snowfall.  It was rather difficult in places because the snow was so deep.  I was walking the land I am exploring.  The second glacial moraine claimed my attention because I saw tracks and decided to follow.

blackberry bramble
blackberry bushes

  Up the steep hill I went noticing that the brambles were blackberries with frozen fruit still attached.  At least the deer and other animals will find nourishment here.  Once I got to the top, I wondered who and what I was following all alone.

It was so silent.

dnrcougarspooner
DNR confirms cougar in Spooner, WI, copyright DNR.

  Cougar and fox live in the Great North Woods of Wisconsin.  Now I have been near fox and they are shy but a cougar would be another matter.  I didn’t feel a threat and felt the cougar would have larger feet.  Then I saw that the tracks also had a shape of a tail and knowing that the cougar is a large animal, I felt the animal I was tracking must be trotting closer to the ground like a fox.  This photo of a cougar was taken in the summer of 2009 in Burnett County.  There is also reports of cougar in Spooner.  Photo caption should read Burnett County.

That’s it I thought and felt no hesitancy in going further.  I did think, No one knows where you are and what if something happens like a heart attack?    Funny how you  mind runs wild.  I answered my own fear, This is the happiest day of my life and someone will think to follow my snowshoes. 

I could see through the trees to the far horizon (only visible seasonally I suspect) and it was thrilling.  I climbed to the top and said out loud, “Wow!”  I meant it too. 

Skylight
As far as the eye can see.

 I could see for miles and there only forests and silence and the distance to the south.  The sun was lighting the sky in pink and I tell you it was glorious.

3256338133_e31f6b9ce9 Possible red fox tail with tracks

As I followed the tracks down the hill and out into the open field, I saw that the animal was leaving an impression of a tail.  Here is a photo of perhaps a fox. 

For now I bide goodbye to my adventure in the Great North Woods of Wisconsin.  Thanks for keeping me company on my ten-day hiatus alone with a sweet corgi at a cabin in the woods. 

Home is where the heart is
The cabin of our eco adventure.

Stay happy readers where ever you are.  Mary Ellen and Sadie

Source:  Fox photos

http://blog.bolandbol.com/

blog.bolandbol.com/…/3257168134_3ebac43215.jpg

Image at: blog.bolandbol.com/…/

Other photos copyright by Mary Ellen Ryall and DNR.