Butterfly Corner – March 23, 2012

March 23 – The 2nd Annual Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Summit was held at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College. John Peck, Family Farm Defenders, was keynote speaker. The topic: Food Sovereignty. In the not so distant past, the family farm and home garden were responsible for supplying food on the table. This system radically changed during the “Green Revolution.” Currently in our everyday lives, we have found out that a globalized food chain has come at a very high cost. Fuel for transportation has risen; seed has gone to hybrid and patented GMO; animals are owned of big Ag-chemical companies. What is wrong with this picture? Food Sovereignty is imperative for food security.

Last year I raised my own vegetables. I learned to can, freeze, dehydrate and dry my foods and herbs. I bought Bashaw’s organic berries and grass fed frozen beef. The organic farm is located on Highway 63, between Spooner and Shell Lake, WI. I know this food is healthy. In 2011, Lac Courte Oreilles Public Library published Jiibaakweywang, We are Cooking together, Flavors of Lac Courte Oreillis. Sandy Stein’s award winning recipe 3 Step Manoomin (wild rice) is published in the book. Sandy is Happy Tonics Secretary. She started a Happy Tonics garden plot of native and medicinal herbs in 2011. This is a seed saving project.

My recipe for Organic Four Grain Health Bread was published in Jiibaakweywang. I used amaranth (red root, pig weed) from the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. Who knew that wild edibles would be part of the native plant community, in the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden? The collaborative book project was made possible by the Institute of Museum Library Services Enhancement Grant for Native American Library Sciences. The focus of the project is to target areas of health, the environment, and traditional culture.

April 14 – Last year over 100 people attended the Gadsden, Alabama, Public Library Local Author Day, which according to Julie Dobbins, is a fun and exciting event! The yearly event provides a great opportunity to discover new writers, buy some books, and get them signed by the author. My Name is Butterfly, written by Mary Ellen Ryall, will be on display at the event. Colorful postcards, with details on how to purchase the book on Amazon, will be available to fellow authors and the public.  It is near impossible to attend all the writer events, such as this; when we are so far off the beaten path. I consider it a great privilege to have my book at the Gadsden, Alabama, Public Library Local Author Day event.

The Aldo Leopold film, Green Fire, will be shown on TV in April. The film is about land ethics. Aldo Leopold Foundation says, “The first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, Green Fire, highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land.” We should all be proud that the environmentalist lived in Wisconsin. Leopold wrote his famous book Sand Country Almanac in our own state.   See the following times and channels:

Friday, April 20 at 8pm on WPT; Sunday, April 22 at 2pm on The Wisconsin Channel; and
Tuesday, April 24 at 11pm on WPT.

March 22 – Monarch butterfly news. Due to the unusually warm temperatures and high winds blowing north from the Gulf of Mexico, over the last two weeks, the butterfly has traveled further north at record speed. According to Journey North, the monarch has already reached Kansas, a distance of 1,200 miles from Mexico. There is concern that the monarch is ahead of the normal migration cycle, usually the monarch is in Kansas on April 15. Scientists are diligently watching for an “ecological mismatch.”  The monarchs are at a critical time in life. It is this generation that reproduces the next generation of butterflies. Will milkweed be up and ready for the laying of eggs on milkweed this early in the season?

In December, Dr. Lincoln Brower and other scientists count the number of Oyemal fir trees that have overwintering monarchs. The Mexican count showed the monarch population down by 28 percent from last year. This is an ongoing trend. Part of the cause is the continued plundering by illegal loggers in and around the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Mexico.

Another concern is the loss of milkweed in breeding habitat. “Dr. Karen Oberhauser is co-author of newly published research. Her study found a 58% decline in milkweed and an 81% decline in monarch egg production in agricultural fields of the Midwest,” Source: Journey North.

Butterfly corner

Ryall, M. E. (21 March 2012). Butterfly Corner. Washburn County Register, p. 11.

Marlene Darmanin, with my book bound for Viwa Island, Fiji

Marlene Darmanin, with my book bound for Viwa Island, Fiji

March 12 – Michele Darmanin, Sydney, Australia, spearheaded a project to donate books to start a school library on the remote island of Viwa Island, Fiji. Michele and her husband visited the island in 2011. Michele explained they traveled by two boats to get to Viwa. In March 2012, she made a request via an Internet writers group. A Google search documented that monarch butterflies do indeed live on Fiji.  I mailed Michele a copy of my book, My Name is Butterfly. It is known that monarchs often land on ship when they are far from land. Most likely a passing ship made it possible for the monarch to take up residence on Fiji.

March 14 – According to Journey North, “Here they come! Monarchs are leaving the overwintering sites and appearing on the breeding grounds to the north. According to our observers, they may already have spread more than 1,000 miles northward. During spring migration, female monarchs leave a trail of eggs behind as they travel.”

Cassandra Thompson model for My Name is Butterfly

Cassandra Thompson model for My Name is Butterfly

March 17 – The Spooner Garden Club and the Spooner Agriculture Research Station sponsored the Eighth Annual New Ventures Garden Seminar, Northwood School, Minong. Over 240 gardening enthusiasts attended the all day seminar. Cassie Thompson, Northwood School and Dakota Robinson, Shell Lake School assisted Happy Tonics with displays. Cassie is the model for My Name is Butterfly. She participates in High School Forensic Class. Cassie is a public speaker, winning a state award in 2008 for the environmental talk Trumpeter Swan. She is boning up on her skill to hopefully compete at state level. The next competition is March 29 in Spooner. This will be the deciding event.

Dakota Robinson with Monarch Butterfly Migration storyboard and petition

Dakota Robinson with Monarch Butterfly Migration storyboard and petition

Dakota brought a petition to stop mowing during migration. She worked on the environmental project to earn a Silver Badge, which she won in 2011.   Over 30 people signed the petition at the event. Three individuals at the event told me they had seen monarch butterflies, in Hayward, Ashland, and Superior. How can this be? The milkweed isn’t even up yet.

Milbert's tortoiseshell butterfly

Milbert's tortoiseshell butterfly

March 18 – I saw a Milbert’s tortoiseshell. Perhaps the ladies at the seminar mistook the tortoiseshell? Tortoiseshell butterflies overwinter and could fly about on a 70 degree F. day. Monarchs do not overwinter. I didn’t notice the tortoiseshell’s front wings with color. I only saw the dark body tones with orange outer wings on hind wings as it flitted by. Is climate change impacting the timing of migration? The unusually warm weather in March is triggering migrating birds back to our area. Some male robins arrived last week. This week I see more males setting up display areas. This is their way of inviting females to choose a partner. Butterfly news was reported to Mike Reese, Wisconsin Butterflies Organization at http://wisconsinbutterflies.org/butterfly/sightings. My listing is posted on the link.

LCOOCC Logo copyright LCOOCC

LCOOCC Logo copyright LCOOCC

March 23 – 2nd Annual NW WI Regional Food Summit will be held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, in the auditorium and outside. Happy Tonics will be exhibiting and distributing common milkweed seed. My Name is Butterfly will also be offered.  Break-out sessions: Farmer, Buyer, and Coop Perspectives; Entering the Local Food Arena for Community Members – Why, Where, and How. Keynote Speaker: John Peck, Family Farm Defenders. Topic:  Food Sovereignty.

According to Dr. Lincoln Brower, Monsanto’s Roundup garden pesticide and Roundup Ready Crops, such as GMO corn and soy, contain glyphosate. The impact of glyphosate has been linked to environmental and pollinator decline including monarch butterfly.  Roundup Ready crops are planted most frequently in the Midwest. Mexico, the mother country of corn, has also switched over to Roundup Ready crops and GMO corn seed.  It has been documented that the 17 year decline in butterfly population is directly related to Roundup Ready pesticide and GMO crops that have the pesticide in their DNA. Mind you, this is not the only cause of monarch butterfly decline. Development and roadside cutting during migration and lack of the native host plant, specifically milkweed, also play a big role in monarch decline. Source:  Insect Conservation and Diversity, March 2011.


Butterfly Corner

Monarch cluster at Mexico habitat, Estela Romero, reporter, Journey North

Monarch cluster at Mexico habitat, Estela Romero, reporter, Journey North

Ryall, M. E. (14 March 2012). Butterfly Corner. Washburn County Register, p. 16

March 8, 2012 – Estela Romero, local reporter, Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico, went to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary with monarch expert, Doctor Lincoln Brower, Sweet Briar College, Virginia.  Estela has been watching the monarchs for weeks and thinks they are more active. She saw many butterflies flitting about, instead of hibernating on trees. The scientist and his guide went to Chincua sanctuary. Further up the mountain, last year’s flood and mud slide damage could be seen.

Dr. Brower expressed his concern about how dry the Mexican forest is this year. In winter 2010, Monarch butterfly populations endured a terrible flood in the mountains, where the sanctuary is located. This year, the soil is baked dry and unstable because there are fewer trees to stabilize the mountains. It is so dry, that Dr. Brower is concerned, that the butterflies may not have sufficient moisture, which they use for respiration. Last fall 2011, Texas suffered a terrible drought. The state suffered massive fires. Texas is the gateway to and from Mexico for the butterfly. Lack of liquid and plant nectar in Texas may play a major role on the monarch butterfly migration 2012 .

Dr. Brower is concerned that now the monarchs may not have enough lipids to make the journey north this spring. Yes, many will make it, but what about the majority of the migration? Deforestation continues in Mexico. There are fewer Oyamel fir trees in the Mexican forest. Fewer trees mean fewer winter habitat for the monarch butterfly. Since the time of the dinosaurs, the butterfly has been around. How could a butterfly, which has survived throughout history, be so impacted by our material world and climate change in such a short time? We will follow the migration north to keep you posted.

The Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake has some good news. Volunteer staff discovered that black swallowtail caterpillars and adult butterflies were seen in Shall Lake, in the summer of 2011.  With this news, Happy Tonics plans to include host plants for the butterfly. We want to welcome this species to the habitat.

Book cover copyright Lindy Casey, Salt of the Earth Press

Book cover copyright Lindy Casey, Salt of the Earth Press

March 24 –I did an author interview with Morgen Bailey, Northhampton, United Kingdom. Morgen interviews published authors and publishers. My book, My Name is Butterfly, was published by Salt of the Earth Press in 2011. The in-depth interview is posted at http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/blog-interview-no-318-with-writer-mary-ellen-ryall/

I am thrilled to have my book talked about in England and beyond the big waters. Happy Tonics has published butterfly articles in the UK before with Butterfly Observer, Cornwall Butterfly Conservation.

March 29 – The first week of April, I will be in Washington, DC. While there, I will attend Cindy Dyers one woman photography exhibit at Green Springs Garden, in Alexandria, VA. Cindy is Happy Tonics VP of Marketing. Check out her exquisite photography at http://www.gardenmuseshow.com/. I am doing a book tour in DC; Southern Maryland in Calvert and St. Mary’s County; and in Northern Virginia. I have been invited to speak at Meet the Author events. It will be good to see my old stomping grounds again.

Updates:

Morgen Bailey has a few interesting links for aspiring and published authors. Check out http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/morgenbailey

You may want to connect with Morgen at New forum at http://morgenbailey.freeforums.org

Don’t forget to check out Morgen’s Blog at http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com

Mary Ellen’s Meet the Author event is scheduled at Calvert Pines Senior Center, Prince Frederick, So. MD, 12:30 p.m.

Mary Ellen’s Meet the Author event is scheduled at The Good Earth Natural Food Company, Leonardtown, So. MD, 9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon.

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