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.


Monarch Butterfly Chatbook – Epilogue

EPILOGUE

You will learn by studying the monarch butterfly that we need to take care of the littlest of creatures and the plants that sustain them. Plant native perennial host plants, wildflowers and grasses that promote biodiversity. Science has learned that monoculture crops can cause harm to pollinators.  When we create a butterfly garden of plants that sustain the monarch butterfly, in return the butterfly gives us beauty, a sense of wonder and regeneration of the Earth.

I have seen many monarch butterflies come and go during my 65 years. I hope you too will be blessed by seeing monarch butterflies in your own lifetime. This book was written with adults and teachers in mind. Share the pages with children at home, school, Boys and Girls Clubs, Cub Scouts, Brownies, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and at children hospitals. You become the teachers now. Teach the children well.

It is important to stay connected with nature all through our lives. Recommend this book to home gardeners, Master Gardeners, garden clubs, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Americans of all ages are suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder. People are spending more time indoors and losing a connection with the natural world.  We are putting future generations at risk of being deprived of nature that supports life on the Planet Earth. We won’t be given a second chance. It is time to think beyond ourselves and protect the monarch butterfly migration for future generations.

END OF BOOK

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars in Space by Mary Ellen Ryall

Monarch caterpillars in outer space

Monarch caterpillar
Monarch caterpillar climbing a milkweed plant.

Please watch the youtube video Monarch caterpillars in outer space.  Why are we doing this?  Does the butterfly not have enough challenges on Earth without sending it into space?

This reminds me of the poor monkeys who were sent into space by the Russians when I was a young woman.

According to Wikipedia, “The Soviet/Russian space program in the Bion program satellites used only rhesus species.  The first Soviet monkeys, Abrek and Bion, flew on Bion 6. They were aloft from December 14, 1983 – December 20, 1983.”

Now it is monarch caterpillars.  Just look at the poor things.  I don’t believe they even know what is happening to them.  The experiment appears to promote monarch biology in the classroom and also studies the life cycle of the butterfly in outer space and affect of loss of gravity and weightlessness at the same time. 

Butterflies are free.  We build habitat for the monarch butterfly and sell milkweed seed (their host plant) so they might live.  Happy Tonics is building a floral corridor across the USA so the butterfly will have abundant host and nectar sources along its migration route.  We have a Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.  If you go outside surely you will see that they live in a natural world.  They fly but not in outer space.

Photo copyright by Mary Ellen Ryall. 

Mary Ellen Ryall: Following the monarch butterfly through the corporate killing fields

In 2008, Happy Tonics officers, Sandy Stein and Mary Ellen Ryall, traveled cross country to Tesuque Pueblo, New Mexico, to exhibit at the 3rd Annual Symposium for Sustainable Food & Seed Sovereignty.

Along the way we witnessed the saddness of animals confined in concentrated animal feed operation pens and monoculture of crops for mile upon mile.  We were migrating with the monarch butterflies through Minnesota, Iowa, and Kansas until we reached the corporate killing fields. 

Both of us were forever changed by the experience.  I am speaking here for the plants, animals and beloved monarch butterfly and other beneficial insects that can not speak for themselves.  Mary Ellen Ryall