Butterfly Corner

Published in Washburn County Register, February 8, 2012

News from Xerces Society, “In 2010, with support from the Monarch Joint Venture and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant, Xerces Society initiated a multi-state project to increase the availability of milkweed seed for large-scale restoration efforts in California, Nevada, Arizona, New México, Texas and Florida. Xerces is working with native seed producers and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Plant Material Program to increase the production of local ecotype native milkweed seed.” The reason for the collaborative milkweed seed project is because pollinators, including the monarch butterfly, are besieged with a threatened migration phenomenon.

Prior to Xerces Society milkweed initiative, Happy Tonics has been selling common milkweed seed since 1999. Milkweed is the only host plant of the monarch butterfly. The seed is offered in the Visitors Center/Store in downtown Shell Lake. The store reopens on Memorial Day Weekend. Out of season, milkweed seed is sold online through eBay. Several seed buyers from around the country are now donors of Happy Tonics nonprofit public charity. Some buyers have gone on to build butterfly gardens at schools and monarch butterfly habitats on their own property. It is good to know that monarch butterfly conservation is an ongoing environmental education act that brings positive results to help the monarch butterfly.

Cindy Dyer, VP Marketing, Happy Tonics, will have a one woman art show at the Horticulture Center, Green Spring Gardens, in Alexandria, Virginia. The exhibit, “Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio,” will run February 28 – April 29, 2012. If you wish to take a sneak preview of Cindy’s extraordinary floral and insect photography visit http://www.gardenmuseshow.com  Her garden photography was also honored by Nikon camera in 2011. Here is a link to their Web page featuring Cindy’s garden photography tips at http://www.nikonusa.com/Learn-And-Explore/Photography-Techniques/gr35ffdt/all/How-To-Grow-Your-Garden-Photography-Skills.html

In summer 2011, Cindy photographed butterflies and native plants while visiting the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. We are working on a Field Guide – Monarch Butterfly Habitat. The publication will highlight the symbiotic relationship between native plants and pollinators including the monarch butterfly, birds and small animals.

 

 

 

 

Spring issue Butterflies and Gardens Hits the Press

Dear Insectamonarca friends,

B&G Cover Spring 2010

Cover to newsletter

  We hope you will enjoy the spring issue of Butterflies and Gardens at http://happytonics.wordpress.com/

 We are sad to report that the monarchs will be migrating back to the USA with the lowest numbers since the 1970s when they were first recorded.  Read all about the floods and mudslides in Mexico.  Chip Taylor, University of Kansas and Monarch Watch, points out that illegal deforestation has compromised the Mexican habitats for many years.  

 May we all pay attention to promoting biodiversity and reforestation for the monarch butterfly and pollinating species including native bees.

Happy Tonics attends conservation conference

Ray Powell and Mary Ellen Ryall

Ray Powell, Jane Goodall Institute and Mary Ellen Ryall, Happy Tonics.

Albuquerque, NM – Ray Powell, Jane Goodall Institute and former Land Commissioner of New Mexico, spoke about youth and that they are disconnected from nature at the Xeriscape Landscape and Water Conservation Conference held in Albuquerque, NM.  Mary Ellen Ryall, Shell Lake, of Happy Tonics, attended the conference.

Richard Louve wrote a book on this subject titled “The Last Child in the Woods.” Powell stated that the average youth spends 30 minutes outside each day. This time is not necessarily playtime but rather time it takes to walk to and from the car, bus or to ride a bike to and from school.

Youth environmental educators need to make a bridge for youth to grasp the message that it is their world that they are inheriting. Goodall says, “We have a choice to make use of our life and make the world a better place.” Considering that youth of today have become cynical, educators ned to understand the root causes, be compassionate, give hope and help youth feel empowered.

When communicating with youth, one needs to understand that 7 percent of what they understand is verbal, 38 percent is vocal tone and 55 percent is in body language. The message we are giving kids and they understand on an average of 50 percent is, “Do we care?”

Happy Tonics of Shell Lake plans to sponsor several youth environmental education opportunities this summer. Their goal is to change behavior from one of hopelessness to hope and to encourage youth to participate in healthy outdoor environmental education, activity, advocacy and action.

Eco Adventure in Wisconsin – day six

It’s Wednesday.

Wednesday is chore day.  I went outside only to nearly miss the garbage truck.  Luckily the driver saw me.  I dashed to the shed to get the garbage out for him.  We have to lock garbage up here because creatures from the woods would make a mess of it.

The fellow was friendly.  He asked, “Are you having a good time?”  I said, “I’m having a time of my life snowshoeing and I am so happy.”

Country road

A near miss and a friendly hello.

  The driver responded, “You make me feel like I should be out here doing the same thing.”  We talked about the forest and how it reminded us both of Upper New York State.  He told me, “I drove a truck till 1996.  That is the last time I saw Vermont and Upper New York State.”  I mentioned that I hadn’t been back since 1985. 

I explained that I came out here to be away from crowds and how that part of the country had grown dramatically.  I mentioned that out here, I could raise my own food and the heck with it.  He said, “I know and feel much like you do.”  Then we went our separate ways.

This is the land of self survival and there are more people who have a Pd H degree here and love this country simply because they want to live free.  New Hampshire has a motto “Live free or die.”  That’s how many of us feel in the Great North Woods.  We are self-sufficient and depend on ourselves. 

The wind is howling and it is a bitter cold today.  I did not snowshoe.  Instead I am studying a book MycoMedicinals by Paul Stamets.  Sandy Stein and I met him in 2008 at the Tesuque Pueblo Food Sovereignty Conference in New Mexico where Happy Tonics was invited to exhibit.  He was the keynote speaker.

This is when I seriously started to dive into learning about mushrooms.  I have always been fascinated by them and did an independent study in learning to identifying mushrooms and finding out which ones are edible.  Not having a teacher, I never did learn to properly identify them and knowing how dangerous they can be, I will wait till I have a teacher.

Lichen on oak tree

Lichen on oak tree.

I did notice tree and rock lichen and took some photographs.  Here is a good web reference that will educate about the role of lichen and air at http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/p429lichens.html

This is one of the things I noticed most out in these woods was the fresh air and I think the lichen may have a role in how pure the oxygen is here on this land. 

In the meantime, I order my mushrooms from Paul Stamets Company Fungi Perfectis because he is world-renowned for his knowledge about MycoMedicinals and mycelium.  I even coated some vegetable seed with mycelium last summer because it is reported to make roots stronger.  This summer I plan to scatter mushroom spawn in my straw laden garden.

I now want to grow mushrooms.  Here’s is Paul Stamets You Tube video on how 6 Mushrooms Can Save the World at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI5frPV58tY    

This discovery and research is very important.  So few of us understand the mycelium connection in its relationship to the earth and compared to the computer Internet.  We are hi tech now and perhaps because we are we are now able to grasp the importance of mycelium to save the world.

Be happy readers where ever you are.

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