Our Monarch Butterfly Habitat is now part of a larger Pollinator Habitat at Lac Courte Agriculture Research Station in Hayward, WI.
Photo copyright Mary Ellen Ryall
Our Monarch Butterfly Habitat is now part of a larger Pollinator Habitat at Lac Courte Agriculture Research Station in Hayward, WI.
Photo copyright Mary Ellen Ryall
28 01 2014
Yesterday, after more than a year in the making, my series of USPS-licensed fern photographs were released as 49 cent stamps in large coil format for business use. Special thanks to art director Phil Jordan for being so great to work with on the series! I’ll be back with more details on how we can POSSIBLY get a smaller amount than the issued 3,000 and 10,000 quantity rolls!
Read more about the stamps here: http://uspsstamps.com/stamps/ferns
Order a first-day-of-issue set within 60 days here:
Cindy Dyer has been an outstanding volunteer who has helped our nonprofit since 2008. Yes, she bought some milkweed seeds from me on eBay years ago and we have been friends ever since. She brings her professional expertise to create our marketing materials, logos, and even when it comes to publishing books.
We are so proud of her. Congratulations Cindy from the officers and board of Happy Tonics, Inc.
The nonprofit is handling many programs already in WI, including managing a Monarch Butterfly Habitat and collaborating with City of Shell Lake on widening Route 63, which leads into Shell Lake, going past the Habitat. Sandy Stein, secretary, will attend a meeting in Shell Lake to address widening of road right-of-ways that will affect the Habitat.
She will send a report after the meeting to keep me up-to-date. I have already been engaged with Shell Lake in requesting that the disturbed road right-of-ways need to be planted with native seed. If any of the hard-scape and landscaping is moved, than it is up to the City of Shell Lake and WI DOT to remove/replace what ever is infringed upon.
Be happy Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.
Monarch butterflies are being hit on all sides these days. Loss of habitat, climate change andnatural disasters are taking their toll on these and other beautiful pollinators. Thankfully, there are people watching out for them. Talkupy with Annie Lindstrom welcomes Mary Ellen Ryall, retiring Executive Director of Happy Tonics Inc., to the show on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Mary Ellen is passionate about helping people learn how to create pollinator corridors in their own backyards. She will discuss the work she did at Happy Tonics’ teaching garden in Shell Lake, WI and her books on Monarchs. She also will talk about the wild butterflyand solitary bee nesting habitat she is creating in Fitchburg, MA. For more information, visit Mary Ellen’s Facebook page. For an expanded slide show go to Talkupy.net
Diane Dryden, each Christmas season, takes it upon herself to help decorate the Municipal Park with Christmas Lights for Happy Tonics, Inc. The nonprofit environmental education organization has a Monarch Butterfly Habitat on city land near the lake. It is an entrance to the city, along side of Route 63., a few blocks from downtown.
Once a month, the Fitchburg Art Museum is a host site for the Fitchburg Farmers Market, which takes place every first Thursday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., January – June. Local growers and artisans, come to sell local grown or frozen grass fed beef, pork and poultry, eggs and handcrafted products.
It was a joy to meet local farmers. I met Vee Lashua, owner of Brookside Family Farm, Westminister MA. Fresh farm eggs, winter crops such as Brussels sprouts, turnips, carrots and frozen grass feed beef and pork chops were purchased. When I returned home I cooked up the Brussels sprouts and devoured them in one sitting.
I bought hearty fresh baked bread by Hearth Fire Traveling Wood Fired Cuisine. Scott and Kerry Metcalf are the owners. I purchased a loaf of spiced apple cider and raisin bread. On Sunday after church, my sister made us a breakfast at Winter Hill Farm. We enjoyed the bread at that time.
Growing Places Garden Project was also there. I had an opportunity to speak with Anna Finstein, an AmeriCorps volunteer. I plan to collaborate with the project to educate children about growing food at school and in city backyard gardens. I will be representing Happy Tonics, headquartered in northwest WI. As a board member of the nonprofit environmental education organization, I look forward sharing garden information with gardeners in my new city. As a published author, I write about pollinator corridors and monarch butterflies, I look forward to teaching children about monarch butterfly habitat and native plants that are necessary to the butterfly’s survival. It is thrilling to know that I can have my very own garden plot, in the park, in front of The Sundial, the building where I live, thanks to Growing Places Garden Project.
Terry Impostato, owner of Semi Precious Gem Treasures, had an inviting display of fine art jewelry. I asked Terry to repair two necklaces that I had saved for years. One is a pearl necklace from Japan, probably from the 1940s; the other is a cinnabar necklace. She told me that cinnabar was a byproduct and at one time was a toxic waste product. Now it is beautiful carved beads that have separated from the string.
According to http://www.chinafinds.com/cinnabar-guide.html Cinnabar, also known as Chinese Lacquer, is a famous Chinese handicraft. Traditionally, cinnabar items were created by painting multiple layers of lacquer onto an item, letting the item dry between each coat, and then carving the resulting layers of lacquer into beautiful patterns. Cinnabar gets its name from the toxic red mineral cinnabar (mercury sulfide) that was once used to give the distinctive red color to the lacquer used in the process. Lynda Ireland, a friend, had given me the broken necklace years ago. It is only now that I am having the necklace repaired, at least 12 years later.
In the future, I plan to interview other vendors in order for readers to learn about Fitchburg Art Museum and the wonderful programs that are happening there.
Till then, be happy butterfly friends wherever you are.
Ryall, M.E. 13 June 2012. Washburn County Register, Butterfly Corner.
June 7: Fresh Start came to the Monarch Butterfly Habitat to help Happy Tonics with habitat maintenance. Eleven youth and five supervisors signed up to perform Community Service. Youth worked in teams and pounded in plant ID stakes, eradicated invasive species, dug up and transplanted native plants from the path at the Shoreline Restoration Project, near the Shell Lake Beach. Groups planted and watered transplants of elderberry, black eyed Susan, goldenrod and prairie rose at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden. If you think that is a mouth full, the green team accomplished all of this in 2 ½ hours.
Even if we worked all summer, Happy Tonics with limited volunteers and staff, could have not managed transforming area three in such an efficient way. Youth were attentive, happy, willing to learn about the habitat, and enjoyed learning why we are providing habitat for pollinators.
Chad Olson mentioned that teens usually grumble when asked to do manual labor. Not these youngsters. I think they enjoyed working outside with butterflies, native bees, and learning about native plants that allow pollinators to survive and insure a secure local food supply.
Happy Tonics wishes to thank supervisors Chad Olson and Carly Moline, Weyerhaeuser; Dan Gunderson and Sherri Anderson, Shell Lake; and Mary Schmocker, Hayward, for offering a day of service to the nonprofit. Special thanks go out to Jim VanMoorleham, Happy Tonics volunteer and Joan Quenan, Board Member and Volunteer. I appreciated their efforts in supervising different groups of youngsters and teaching them how to eradicate invasive species and identify native plants.
At noon, we all went to the Lion’s Shelter for a cookout. A few youth from Shell Lake stayed at the shelter while we worked at the habitat. They prepared a delicious cook out for us. Youth did mention that the assignment was fun and offered to come again, perhaps next season. Bravo green team! We love youth to participate. After all, it is their world which they will inherit some day.
June 8: Monarch survival statistics are in from Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, University of MN. Since the butterfly was first recorded in 1993- 1994, monarchs have been in decline in Mexico (overwintering site). 2011-2012 was the lowest on record. The average habitat over the past 19 years has been 7 hectares (1 hectare equals 2.5 acres). Last winter the monarchs occupied only 2.9 hectares. There is great concern about the Endangered Migration Phenomena.
Fortunately, a few interacting weather patterns this year have been in favor of the monarchs rebounding in a single generation. The Texas drought is finally over. This means there was lots of healthy milkweed to lay eggs on. Just when the new generation was born, along came a string of warm days with southerly winds. The winds pushed the monarchs northward in record numbers and much earlier than we have seen in many years.
I thought our butterfly friends might want to know that Happy Tonics, Inc. is raising money for the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, in Shell Lake, WI. We are hosting this orignal butterfly quilt auction on eBay at http://www.ebay.com/itm/290730362729?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649#ht_568wt_941
Please share the eBay auction site with your family and friends. Thank you!
BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE
Hand appliquéd quilt
Hand appliqued butterfly quilt, approximately 90” across and 102” length, double bed size. The Stitch and Chat Wednesday Quilters of Shell Lake Friendship Commons, Shell Lake, WI, made the handmade butterfly quilt for Happy Tonics, Inc. as a fundraiser. We implemented and maintain a Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, WI. Happy Tonics is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. Our mission is Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly.
One can tell the ladies put a lot of heart into the butterfly quilt. The border has hand appliquéd hearts surrounding the borders. The quilters spent a whole year hand appliquéing the butterfly quilt. They met weekly to accomplish this feat. The butterfly quilt has a variety of butterfly colors, much like different species of butterflies.
With the sale of the Butterflies are Free Quilt, Happy Tonics will be able to fund the Monarch Butterfly Habitat into the future. The City of Shell Lake gave Happy Tonics land use to create the habitat in 2007. It is an entrance to a city, located along Highway 63, as you enter Shell Lake from the north. The butterfly quilt Won First Prize and People’s Choice at the Spooner Fair in 2010.
Myrna Atkinson is a master quilter and she supervised design and stitching. The other quilters are Carol Hubin, Mary Olsen, Mariah Brinken, and Mary Raehsler.
SHIPMENT: FREE USPS Priority Mail within three days of close of auction.
NOTE: I waited to put the item up on auction till the economy was a little better Not sure that it is, but hope more shoppers feel confident now.
Happy bidding and thanks for visiting the Butterflies are Free Quilt Auction!
Ryall, M.E., 06 June 2012. Washburn County Register, Butterfly Corner.
Saturdays at the Habitat: 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. The first and second Saturday Habitat Yard Sale for the butterflies took place. Folks came by to tell us how lovely the Monarch Butterfly Habitat looks. Others came on bike or by car and bought a few things. Saturdays are fun at the habitat. We planted a few violets for the fritillary butterfly. A Three Sisters Garden was planted, just before it rained. Weeds were pulled, wet newspaper put down, and topsoil added that Steve Degner delivered. We added aged sheep manure and a package of potting soil. This planting style is known as the lasagna method. The idea is to not dig into the soil, but add to it. We planted birdhouse gourd seed and hope they will grow among squash, heirloom beans, and Pungo Creek butcher corn, a variety of rainbow red, brown, yellow, and sometimes purple ears. For 165 years, the corn has been grown by farmers of Pungo Creek, Virginia.
May 25: The once rare brown Argus butterfly of southern England has found a new food source according to Butterfly Conservation, a science and advocacy group in the United Kingdom. The butterfly was located in southern England within a small area with a less common host rock-rose plant. Now the butterfly has migrated north due to climate change. A cooler environment was critical for its survival. To scientists’ surprise, the butterfly caterpillar is eating geraniums, which are abundant. “The change in diet represents a change to the interactions between species – in this case between a butterfly and the plants that its caterpillars eat – caused by climate warming.” This is the first case of a butterfly that can survive with a change in host plant, due to climate change. More science research and documentation will be ongoing to track butterfly species adaption to climate change. Terry Root, Stanford University, states that for every winner, there will be three loser species. Source: Butterfly Conservation Organization.
May 28 – June 1: It was a virtual butterfly and bumblebee feast at the property in Minong. I saw a fritillary, American copper, red Admiral and many monarch butterflies. The fritillary deposited eggs on tiny violet leaves. The monarch deposited eggs on milkweed. Yesterday it was the bumblebees. I counted 18 large bumblebees on chive flowers. Some were sleeping while others drank nectar from flowers. Two species of bumblebees were noted: double banded rust and impatiens.
The Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake was alive with red Admiral butterflies.
There were several of them nectaring on native ninebark shrub. Common buckeye and
American Lady were also seen. American lady differs from painted lady in that the butterfly has two giant eyespots on hind wings.
June 2: Family Festival was held in Spooner at the Fairgrounds. Hundreds a parents, grandparents, friends, and children were in attendance. Fresh Start and Happy Tonics partnered together to provide fun activities for children. My newest book, Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book, just came out on Amazon. Copies were made of the butterfly coloring pages.
Gideon Fegman enjoyed coloring a monarch and said, “I am a naturologist.” John Jess, of Minong, provided several clay birdhouses and paint. Dan Gunderson, Fresh Start, gave the bird houses a first coat of paint. Children painted decorative designs on the birdhouses. We plan to make a stand and exhibit the birdhouses at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake.
Remember to stop by the Habitat on Saturday mornings and join the flea market fun from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Visitors can volunteer to do a few morning chores also.
Published by Washburn County Register, Shell Lake, WI, 16 May 2012
May 8 – Northwood School, Minong, WI. I met with Shelby Ausing, parent of students at Northwood School, Josh Tomesh, principal, and Jean Serum, Administrator. The school is implementing a Butterfly Garden on school property. I chose the site based on a gentle sloped terrain. Property has native hazelnuts, chokecherry, and Juneberry growing naturally in the background near red pines. The open sandy land is visible from Route 53. Land base is between ½ acre for restoration and up to 1 acre for total habitat. It flanks the school entrance driveway and parking lot. The habitat will be within easy access for students to walk to from grade school and charter school. The habitat will be used as an outdoor classroom.
While walking the site, I pointed out two native wild strawberry colonies; pussy toes, host plant of painted lady butterfly; and violets, host plant of fritillary butterfly. Minor invasive spotted knapweed was evident and will need to be eradicated. The area has been mowed, which will be discontinued to allow native habitat to emerge. Happy Tonics will work in liaison with the school. We will advise with conception, landscape design, planning, planting, and maintenance. Northwood School is an average of 8 miles, round trip, from my home in Minong.
May 9 – JoAnn Flanagan, Oregon, OH, reports, “Saw several monarchs today down at the state park. Had the binoculars out – biggest week in birding there. People from over 47 states in attendance.”
May 10 – Sophie Belisle, Shell Lake, called in the first monarch sighting for Shell Lake. She has followed the monarch’s arrival in Shell Lake for two years. She received a jade butterfly ring, metal butterfly book mark, and My Name is Butterfly, as gifts for her participation in this year’s monarch tracking.
Mike Carpenter, habitat caretaker, has the shrubs weeded. Open space was created around them. This will allow them to be visible from Route 63. A layer of wet newspaper and mulch will be added around the shrubs. Residents can use the same technique to kill weeds and allow air to get around shrubs and trees.
May 11 – I saw my first male monarch today. He looked like he was in good shape. Milkweed is up in Minong. Mother butterflies don’t need much, only newly emerged milkweed to lay eggs on. Later in the afternoon, I saw a female monarch searching for milkweed. She will tap the leaves and taste the plant with feet to determine if it is truly milkweed.
Mike Jensen, Lampert Lumber, in Spooner, donated building materials for a garden shed, approved by City Council last fall. Happy Tonics, through a grant from Wisconsin Environmental Education, matched 50 percent of the donation. Bob Forsythe, Technical Education Department, and students at Shell Lake School are building the shed. We are thrilled that Mr. Forsythe and students took the project on as community outreach. To learn more about Lampert Lumber Community Giving visit http://lampertlumber.com/about/community-involvement