Monitoring Native Species at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden – August 2010

AUGUST 2010

 August 12 – Stonelake Garden Club came for a tour of the habitat. There were 33 women from the garden club and they enjoyed learning about forbs and grasses. The tall bluestem grass is over 6 feet tall and it is like walking through a tunnel in some areas where the rain drenched earth produced tall stands in the wettest part of the sandy prairie.

The week of August 9 – 14 so very hot that we didn’t work in the habitat.  The temperature is supposed to cool next week.  Looking forward to placing the sculpture art in the habitat.

August 18 – The sculpture art is still not in. It has been raining quite steadily for at least two weeks now.  I don’t mind. Matter of fact, I do a Nibi Wabo Water Ceremony to bless the tears of the sky.  The habitat is happy with singing crickets. I believe I heard a frog out there this early evening as I walked through area two.

I was happy to see monarch caterpillars on several milkweeds throughout the habitat today. I feel we have an incubator this year because the adult females have found that the habitat is for them.  I love to see the waving and pollinating grasses dressed in dripping gold and yellows dangling from the flower heads waving in the breeze.  There is nothing quite like it as I pause to gaze at ground covering purple Prairie dropseed, what might be a little bluestem and one beauty I still haven’t identified. 

The plant ID plaques are nearly all in place. The hand-made large standing bird house is looking good in area three. Brennan Harrington placed a wooded stand under it so it now stands a little taller than the split rail fence.

 August 23 – I agree with Corey Bradshaw, Conservation Biologist in Australia. Limited monitoring of species does not give the big picture to show any pattern of species biodiversity, one needs to look at the long and broad view. Please read his article at http://conservationbytes.com/2010/08/24/long-deep-broad/

None the less, we are making minute monitoring observations at least. I felt it was important to document what we are seeing as an environmental education organization. I wanted to show and tell what is happening to biodiversity of animals and plant species in the Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie which is a Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA.

WANT TO LEARN ABOUT A NATIVE BEE?

One of my favorite things is the bumble bee and here is her story.

Bombus ternarius from back

Bombus ternarius from back

On April 14, I was walking through the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA, and thought I saw a Bombus affinis.  This bumble bee is in decline.  Even though the bumble could be located in Wisconsin, Washburn County is not its home.  You can imagine how excited I became when I saw what I thought was the rusty patch bumble bee.  I went scrambling into my purse for the  iPhone and took some photos while the bumble bee flew happily from one dandelion flower to another gathering pollen. 

On April 25, I emailed Jennifer Hopwood, Midwest Pollinator Outreach Coordinator at Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.  She identified my bumble as Bombus ternarius.  According to Jennifer, this species has orange rusty hair bands on the 2nd and 3rd segments, and then another yellow band on the 4th segment.  This bee is the cousin of the rusty-patched bumble bee.

Jennifer says, “The rusty patch bumblebee has yellow hairs on the first segment, and then a rusty patch in the middle of the second segment, with yellow hairs on either side of the orange patch. She suggested that it was likely a queen bumble bee and that she will go on to produce 100+ bumble bees this year.  I hope many of the queen’s offsprings will make their home this summer at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden.

Bombus ternarius with yellow band after rusty hair bands

Bombus ternarius with yellow band after rusty hair bands

Let’s do all we can to plant nectar sources for the pollinators.  Let me know your bumble bee stories.

Be happy Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.  

Bombus ternarius front view

Bombus ternarius front view

BEE Connected – Every Day Is Earth Day

Eagle Feather Dance

Eagle Feather Dance

BLESS THE EARTH AND ALL WITHIN

On 24 April 2010 Happy Tonics held the III Annual Earth Day Event in Shell Lake at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden.  This year it did not snow like it did in 2008 but it rained.  Heaven smiled upon us in sending the rains in the 7th year of drought. 

Ginger Wilcox gives sacred tobacco out

Ginger Wilcox gives sacred tobacco out

Thunderbolt Drum

Thunderbolt Drum giving thanks for the rain

We all took a pinch of tobacco and offered our good thoughts along with tobacco to the Ojibwe birch bark basket.  Then Dr. John Anderson offered prayers to the Creator in thanksgiving for the rain and we dedicated our ceremony “To honor the bees.” 

Once a wild wolf now man's friend

Once a wild wolf now man's friend

John taught the audience that man once honored all the four legged, finned and winged relatives.  Somehow we have become disconnected.  He gave an example of how the dog dances when he sees you return safely home.  Every one with loving smiles looked at the dog he was speaking about.   The four-legged one just listened intently to John speaking .  

Ginger Wilcox Eagle Feather and Message

Ginger Wilcox holds Eagle Feather to give message

Ginger Wilcox gave a message as she held the sacred Eagle Feather.  We need to protect and honor the pollinators.  The Earth will survive without human beings.

Mother Earth knows how to protect herself.  We must reconnect to Mother Earth and respect her so that human beings can survive too.  We need to protect the butterflies, bees and native plants and stop destroying the natural world or there will be no natural resources for future generations. 

Paul Schaefer beekeeper and Mary Ellen Ryall with bee frame

Paul Schaefer beekeeper and Mary Ellen Ryall with bee frame

 
Paul Schaefer spoke about beekeeping.   He and his wife Beverly are beekeepers in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA.  The pure and organic honey that they produce is absolutely delicious.  There is an urgent need for younger generation to get involved in beekeeping.  Without bees, we will have no food.  Native bees are also in decline including four species of the beloved bumble bee.  Xerces Society is a good start to learn about native bees and beekeeping.  The local lunch was made possible by a grant from the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board.
 
Handmade Butterfly Quilt for Happy Tonics Fundraiser

Handmade Butterfly Quilt for Happy Tonics Fundraiser

 The Wednesday Sit and Stitch Quilt Group made this handmade butterfly quilt as a Fundraiser for Happy Tonics.  It took the senior ladies a year to complete the project and the quilt was on display for the Earth Day attendees to view.  It  will be auctioned off online or through a raffle later this summer.  First the quilt is being entered into the 100th Anniversary Fair in Spooner, Wisconsin, this summer.  We surely hope this beautiful quilt wins a ribbon. 
 
Baby Eden
Baby Eden
The last message of the day is that we must all do our part to protect Mother Earth for the next 7 generations.
Let us plant host and nectar plants for the pollinators so that Baby Eden will have a natural world when she grows up.
 
Miigwetch (Thank you)!   

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