Dragonfly forest and other stories

Sympetrum olcinum dragonfly

Sympetrum olcinum dragonfly

Amelia, my niece was overhead saying to her brother and sister as they looked out the front door facing the expansive gardens and lawn, “It’s a dragonfly forest.” There were hundreds of dragonflies dive bombing mosquitoes and it did look like a dragonfly habitat.  We often see them by the masses at sunset around the pool area when we have our dinner out at the picnic table. Honestly, there are no mosquitoes because of the dragonfly patrol. No need to spray here. I did get a photo of the red or rust yellow-legged meadowhawk (Sympetrum olcinum). We saw a twelve-spotted skimmer (Libfellua pulchella). The skimmer has a white abdomen and several spaces on the wings that are clear, with darker accented markings. It is rather large and noticeable.

Looking in a field guide for vernal ponds, I learned that the eastern box turtle is of special concern in Massachusetts. I feel fortunate to have a shell that my dog Tia and I discovered near the pond that was on the back side of our property in Lusby, MD. In December 2000, I carried the shell with me when I moved to Wisconsin. Once I was there, I learned that the turtle was a significant part of Ojibwa culture in the Great Lakes region. There is no such thing as coincidence, seeing as I had moved to Indian Country and would be studying with the Ojibwa at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCOOCC). I graduated from LCOOCC in 2003. You can read about my journey to the Midwest online at http://www.tribalcollegejournal.org/archives/8298

I was granted a Creative Writing Award from Tribal College Journal where the article was published along with other tribal college authors. I am thrilled that the prestigious Journal published the  issue online for prosperity.

Amelia, my grand niece

Amelia, my grand niece

Continuing our woodland walk, Amelia and I saw many frogs. I saw a wood frog  that wears a black mask across its eyes and has a yellow line that distinguishes this particular frog species. Frogs were not all we saw. There was cucumber root . My sister Ronnie told me what it was. Here is a photo of the plant. The upper set of leaves were growing through the beautiful ferns that exist within the woodlands.

Cucumber root

Cucumber root

The plant is unique because it as two separate sets of leave with berries within the top array of leaves that form a circle around the plant stalk. Ronnie also pointed out running cedar that grows near the far boundary of the property near the frog pond. . I have to jog my memory re: medicinal plants and look up both running cedar and princess pine. Something is nagging me about one of them being a medicinal plant.

On the walk down Ashby West Road yesterday, I came across lady slipper leaves visibly growing near one of my favorite grandfather boulders. I was really taken aback. There are at least eight sets of visible plants growing along the side of the road. I drove down the hill yesterday and Ronnie was able to be my eyes as we passed the large glacier boulder. Ronnie, being a plant expert herself, was able to spot the lady slippers. I love them because they are part of the orchid family and hardy enough to grow in our northern climate.

ladyslipper

Advertisements

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.

Wisconsin GOP Votes To Break Native American Treaties January 27, 2012

This news come from Segway Jeremy Ryan

This [Iron Ore Min

Iron Ore Mine would leave NW WI with this destruction

Iron Ore Mine would leave NW WI with this destruction

ing] bill is far too broad and allows for a $12 billion mine that would destroy Northern Wisconsin. Northern Wisconsin currently has a lot of natural beauty. There are also several tribes in this area, all of which have Federal peace treaties. Many of the tribes showed up today as the Assembly debated the bill. They worry for their land, their air, and their water. Smaller mines than this one have caused major issues. But rather than work with the tribes and local people, Republican Representative Jeff Stone said it was not his job to provide a seat at the table for tribes. They kept the bill as is.

Tribal land is considered its own sovereign nation. As with every sovereign nation, we have treaties so that we can keep the peace. It was agreed, by treaty, that these tribes would not have their resources infringed upon. This mine, however, would destroy their water and air, breaking the Federal treaty and declaring war on a sovereign nation. Treaties are not optional. The passage of this bill literally and legally declares war on the tribes of the north.

One day longer. One day stronger.

Happy Tonics, Inc., an environmental education organization and public charity,  is standing with the Bad River Reservation to stop the Iron Ore Mine near Bad River Reservation. Personally, I am standing with the tribe because Northwest Wisconsin is my home. I want Northwest Wisconsin to stay pristine for future generations. I do not want the water to become contaminated. I say NO to the Iron Ore Mine. I am a graduate of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College in Hayward, WI.

Read the full article at http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/01/27/wisconsin-gop-votes-to-break-native-american-treaties/

 

 

Keystone XL pipeline: First Nations protest tar sands project | rabble.ca

December 6, 2011 – 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College
13466 N. Trepania Road, Haoward, WI
Environmental Film Festival
Film: GASLAND

Below is a video clip. See and Listen to Clayton Thomas-Müller of Alberta, Canada, explain why he is a protector of the Earth. Clayton Thomas-Muller is a leader in the movement to stop the Alberta Keystone XL Pipeline. I heard from him recently with a recommendation of two Wisconsin environmental advocates:

Patricia Popple, Concerned Chippewa Citizens will speak about silica sand mines and the health and environmental risk.

Frank Koehn will speak about the Bad River Iron Ore Mine that could pollute 23 waterways of Bad River Reservation. It isn’t only Koehn and Bad River that are concerned about fresh drinking water.

Happy Tonics and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCOOCC) and LCO Public Library are also concerned.  This is way we are sponsoring the III Annual Environmental Film Fest at LCOOCC.

Learn about mining and pipelines that could contaminate precious free flowing clean water. Wisconsin is known for its pristine environment. We must protect these natural resources for our own health and for the health of future generations. Natural resources are a gift from one generation to another and should not be allowed to come to harm.

If we don’t accept responsibility now for what is happening to the earth, when? This is our last chance to stop dirty fuel which will put us at such high emissions that the “game will be up,” according to some scientists and environmental organizations.

Keystone XL pipeline: First Nations protest tar sands project | rabble.ca.

Environmental Film Festival Series

bumbleaserelainevans

APRIL 13, 2011
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College
13466 Trepania Road
Hayward, WI
12 p.m. Potluck (please bring a dish to share, your own plate and utensils)
12:15 p.m. Speaker: Elaine Evens, Arthur of Befriending the Bumblebees
12:45 p.m. Film: “Silencing of the Bees”
1:45 p.m. Advocacy to Action
How do we make a difference in our community?
 
Sponsored by Happy Tonics, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Sustainable Living Institute, Institute of Museum and Library Services
Bumblebee on aster copyright Elaine Evens.

Environmental Film Fest Features Web Film The Story of Stuff

  Environmental Film Fest

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College

Lac Courte Oreilles James “Pipe” Mustache Auditorium
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
FREE and Open to the Public

12:00 p.m. Potluck (please bring a dish to share & your own plate/utensils)
12:15 p.m. Guest Speaker – 5 R Processing, Inc. (invited)
12:30 p.m.  Film:  “Story of Stuff” and “George Carlin Talks about Stuff”
1:15 p.m.  Advocacy to Action! Why?

Visit Informational Booths Before and After Film

Local Foods, Recycling, and more!

The Story of Stuff Project was founded in June 2008 by Annie Leonard to leverage the remarkable success of The Story of Stuff, a 20-minute web-film that explores the often hidden environmental and social consequences of America’s love affair with its stuff. Less than two years after its release, the film had been viewed over 8.5 million times on-line and in thousands of schools, houses of worship, community centers and businesses around the world.

This event is sponsored by Happy Tonics, Inc., Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College and the Sustainable Living Institute. 

Looking at Cuba’s Organic Food Movement and More

LCO Green Team Sign Honor the Earth

LCO Green Team Sign Honor the Earth

November 3, 2010, The GreenTeam at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, in Hayward, WI, hosted the first in the series of the II Annual Environmental Film Fest. There was a good turnout of instructors in science, natural resources and ethnobotany. The event was hosted by Happy Tonics, Inc, LCOOCC and the Sustainable Living Institute.

 A film “Power of Community” showed how Cuba responded after the collapse of Russia in Cuba.  The country had to face a loss of utilities and industry. Transportation came to a grinding halt. The people went from cars to bicycles, from inported food to growing their own as they suffered a loss of income and petroleum for energy. None the less, the people have something to teach the world. They brought back healthy small agriculture that is no longer dependent upon large agricultureal machines and pesticides and herbicides.

Healthy food is now abundant in Cuba and the soil has been improved by sustainable some agricultural and family garden practices. We can learn something from Cuba. The USA and the rest of the world are now experiencing rising food prices as the global food supply is becoming more expensive and fuel prices keep surging. In Wisconsin many communities are starting to raise their own food. Families are maintaining garden plants. Our small farmers are being respected for the job that they do to bring local food to our tables. I see this movement growing in northwest Wisconsin and I feel proud to live in a community that understands that our security comes from knowing who is growing our food and where we can buy local grown produce that is free of chemicals.   

Teresa Depies, owner Springbrook Organic Dairy

Teresa Depies, owner Springbrook Organic Dairy

Teresa Depies, owner of Springbrook Organic Dairy, was the speaker at the November 3rd event. She raised some interesting points. There are new pasture rules in relationship to how many cows can be in the pasture. It is based on waste management. Teresa raises Jersey cows. They are a smaller breed and have less of a waste management problem than other species of dairy cows. This is a Grade A farm.  Teresa and her husband have been in the business since 1990. She is having success in distributing her milk to local grocery stores. I am proud that Dahlstrom’s Grocery Store in Shell Lake sells Springbrook organic milk.

When we buy from our local farmers we are supporting our own crops, dairy, poultry and grass-fed animals. This allows us to be prepared if we where to find ourselves in a “Food Security Situation.” Preparedness is readiness. The Green Team is busy at work networking a local food system into a viable way to purchase food.

Sierra White, intern from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College

Sierra White, intern from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College

 

Welcome Sierra White, a LCOOCC student and environmental education intern of Happy Tonics, Inc. Sierra will be Happy Tonics representative at the monthly Environmental Film Fest. She will assist with marketing, advertising, and recruiting partners for a local food network. Sierra will also assist with a “Day Trip”  itinery and partners with Happy Tonics Monarch Butterfly Habitat.

%d bloggers like this: