Conservation and Asters

Ryan Conner proudly stands next to his Conservation Star Home Award sign
Ryan Conner proudly stands next to his Conservation Star Home Award sign.

This past week I had an opportunity to visit Ryan Conner in Hayward. He invited me to see the native habitat he was implementing on his land.  He owns a home and property on Grindstone Lake. Ryan received a Conservation Star Home Award for turning a sandy lawn of mowed grass into a native habitat on the lake. Frankly this is how I found his
house. Ryan had told me he had a rather large colony of asters growing. The asters led me right to his door.

While I was there I saw several species of small native bees. I also learned about species of asters which are not easy to identify. Reason why? There are over 200 species of aster in the United States.

 

Calico aster with pink centers.
Calico aster with pink centers.

Ryan pointed out that calico aster has pink disk florets. The species also has a plumed flower formation. Now I know the name of white heath aster and sky blue aster which were growing in a rather large colony.

The Monarch Butterfly Habitat has upland white aster. There are several other species of asters at the habitat and hopefully I will be better able to identify the different species more easily now. Ryan is a dedicated volunteer at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. He has assisted the nonprofit for nearly four years now during the summer season. He has added many native species to the Shell Lake habitat, which in time will provide more color and interest beyond the summer months. It is interesting to note that one of Ryan’s neighbors has also begun to turn his land into a native habitat for pollinators.

Without native habitat for pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies, dragonflies, bats and moths there most likely would not be the plant and insect biodiversity that exists today. According to Douglas W. Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, “Up to 90 percent of all phytophagous insects are considered specialists because they have evolved in concert with no more
than a few plant lineages” (Bernays & Graham 1988). Native insects have not evolved with alien plants and most likely are unable to eat them. For homeowners who want bees to pollinate fruit trees and gardeners who want to have flowers and vegetables pollinated, it is important to plant native plant species that will invite pollinators to the back yard.

Day One – Brighter Planet Climate Change Report

Happy Tonics is running fourth at 8:10 p.m. in the Feb. 1 – 15 VOTING period for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal with Brighter Planet at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

 

butterflyweed
Butterfly week host plant for monarch copyright Anna Martineau Merritt

Let’s face it some folks have big guns with bigger networks in larger cities with a bigger VOTER base.  We’re in Northern Wisconsin with a population base in Shell Lake of little over 1,300 souls.  Is it any wonder we are falling behind?  Those of you who are watching the process can make a BIG DIFFERENCE.  Please REGISTER and VOTE for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake

 I feel honored when I learn who is a member of the Project Selection Team.  To even think that our grant proposal is being considered makes me humble. 

Gus Speth
Gus Speth Member Project Selection Team Copyright Brighter Planet
Meet Gus Speth, Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. From 1993 to 1999, Gus Speth served as administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group. Prior to this, he was founder and president of the World Resources Institute; professor of law at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality; and senior attorney and co-founder, Natural Resources Defense Council.

Dean Speth’s publications include “Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment”; “Worlds Apart: Globalization and the Environment”; and other journals and books.