Stop illegal deforestation at Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries

   
Published by Mary Ellen Ryall on Dec 10, 2010
Category: Environment
Region: United States of America
Target: United States of America, Canada and Mexico
 
I thought this pupa was a jewel when I first saw it in the garden
I thought this pupa was a jewel when I first saw it in the garden
Background (Preamble):

The only host plant of the monarch butterfly (milkweed) is often a noxious weed in Canada. In the USA there is a loss of biodiverse agriculture and agricultural lands to urban sprawl and use of pesticides and herbicides.

In Mexico there is illegal logging of Oyamel fir trees within the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. In 2010 according to Monarch Watch over 50 percent of the monarchs died due to mudslides, freezing rains and floods within and around the sanctuaries.

 
Petition:
We the undersigned promise not to use pesticides or herbicides in gardening. We agree not to plant monoculture crops.

We promise to plant a variety of native crops and plants for pollinators and insect control. We promise to plant milkweed for the monarch butterfly to establish the next generation of butterflies.

 

Response to Letter to the Editor – Happy Tonics Board and Officers

The Editorial article by Lauralei Anderson in the paper September 8, 2010 was submitted to Happy Tonics, Inc. officers and board in OH, MA, VA and WI. We agreed to the following response to Lauralei Anderson’s Editorial.

Letter to the editor, Washburn County Register

In regards to the letter sent by Lauralei Anderson from Cumberland, we at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat would like to respond to her criticism calling the habitat “an overgrown railroad bed.”

A native habitat is completely different from a typical garden, park or planting. There are no tulips and marigolds in nice neat rows because all the plants in the habitat are native to Wisconsin. This is a prime example of a restored tall grass prairie whose plants are the same ones that covered Wisconsin when the Conestoga wagons passed through carrying the pioneers west.

It was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that not only helped pick out the native seeds, but donated over $500 worth of seeds to the habitat and the Land and Water Conservation Department had a huge hand in the project also.

Native plantings always start out with common plants like the little and big blue stems which you call weeds. If the garden is healthy, the first native flowers begin to appear the third year. You mentioned in your letter that you saw some ‘scant black-eyed Susan’s, they are right on time. Within the next 5 years, more native flower species, the seeds of which were planted by professionals, will appear. Some native plants take years for their seeds to germinate and grow into plants.

Even though the habitat idea is new to many here in Shell Lake and the surrounding residents, it’s familiar to those who are familiar with Saulk County’s favorite son, Also Leopold and sites like Brighter Planet. The habitat has received grants from both organizations as well as numerous others that believe that if we don’t save the native plants for the two most important pollinators, the bees and butterflies, commercial crops and public and personal gardens will fail due to a lack of pollination. We will be starting to be official Wisconsin native seed savers this year, sending them throughout the United States.

Shell Lake is also on the direct floral corroder that runs from Canada to Mexico that offers food and rest to the millions of butterflies heading to their winter home in Mexico and yes, the butterflies often follow the highways, another reason for this perfect habitat site.

It’s often easy to criticize what we don’t understand, and this habitat was never meant to look like a ‘cute little garden,’ it’s a teaching tool that has already tied into Eco Tourism and we have given many tours this summer to a local audience as well as visitors from across our nation. The Monarch Habitat also sponsors Earth Day activities each year which encourage locals to buy locally.

Articles about the habitat have not only been published nationally, the habitat is also part of the international world with blog responders from 72 different countries who understand why it exists.

If you watch television, you will see the habitat featured on Discover Wisconsin three times during the next two years, starting March 2011. The habitat is all over their website and print material and calendars as well as the official Wisconsin Tourism Site.

All the beautiful little gardens you mentioned in your letter require constant up-keep from weeding to watering to fertilizing, to the applying of pesticides and for some, mowing.

The habitat is ‘green’ in more ways than one because native plants live with or without our help. The habitat leaves absolutely no carbon footprint.

We would encourage you to take a tour of this amazing place; to step back in history for a bit and enjoy the many kinds of butterflies that already visit the habitat daily.

Mary Ellen Ryall, Executive Director

Response to Argumenative Article – Letter to the Editor

Last week the Monarch Butterfly Habitat received bad press from a woman who did not understand the purpose of the habitat. Here is a response from Tabitha Brown, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College, Hayward, Wisconsin, USA.

Letter to the Editor, Washburn County Register:

In regards to the letter sent by Laureli Anderson from Cumberland, I would like to say VOLUNTEER. Happy Tonics is run by volunteers. No one is paid and it is run off of donations and grants. If you want to make a difference do something about it that is constructive. Happy Tonics butterfly Garden is a nonprofit run by volunteers and if you want to make changes to it then volunteer time or make a donation. That “nice pergola” you mentioned was a donation, and so were those benches begging to be sat upon. As a volunteer I tried to find local artists to donate artwork to add to the sanctuary. Maybe you would be more successful?

Some of the grants used to run the gardens have strict guidelines. Grants by the DNR or the Forestry service have stipulations where only certain plants can be used at the sanctuary. Why is that you may ask? Because the plants used at the Garden are Indigenous to the area and these plants are what local wildlife need since people destroy their natural habitats by planting “cute little gardens.”

A natural habitat does not look like your manicured garden. It is wild and beautiful in its own way if you take the time to study and appreciate it. I volunteer at the Butterfly sanctuary. I study plants and wildlife at the Lac Courte Oreilles Community college. Prairie habitat has been reduced to 1% of what it once was less than 100 years ago. People mow it down for their gardens, homes, and farms. The wildlife that once called it home is being destroyed. Did you know the habitat of Palos Verdes blue butterfly was reduced to the size of a baseball field? Guess what that town did to the habitat? They turned it into a baseball field. Now that butterfly is extinct in the wild.

Shell Lake is taking huge steps towards environmental awareness. The Organization that supports the Butterfly Garden in Shell Lake also provides festivals, seminars, and education on environmental awareness issues. They promote sustainable living.  So next time you visit the habitat keep that in mind. You can also ask for a guided tour and learn about the plants and maybe once you know what they do you can appreciate them as much as I do.

Sincerely,

Tabitha Brown

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)!   

Day Nine – Teaching Importance of Native Crops through Brighter Planet Grant Proposal

A special thank you to Tim Reedy, State Farm Insurance, of Spooner, WI, for voting for our cause.  To the countless anonymous voters, we are grateful that you are supporting our grant proposal.  

Happy Tonics collaborates with Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College to teach that we need to grow local and native crops to support biodiversity of plants and pollinators during climate change.  Please Sign up and VOTE for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Gardens Shell Lake grant proposal at Brighter Planet at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100  Your votes may help decide if we are able to secure funding for the Morph Your Mind Environmental Education Program that reaches far and wide to bring Indigenous wisdom of sustainability to the public.  

Beautiful corn silks that add flavoring and nutrients to soup.

The Lac Courte Oreilles OJibwe Community College (LCOOCC) Sustainable Living Institute in partnership with the LCO Green Team, Happy Tonics Butterfly Sanctuary, and LCOOCC Library are bringing an Environmental Film Festival to LCO! 

 February 18th Event in the Auditorium includes: 

 Luncheon: Prepared by LCO Elders Association, Student Center $5 – serving starts at 11:30 a.m.
Noon:  Speaker:  Mary Ellen Ryall, Happy Tonics Butterfly Sanctuary Executive Director.
Topic: Role of biodiversity of native corn and reasons why native crops best survive climate change.
12:15pm Film:  “King Corn”
1:45pm Community Discussion:  Advocacy to Action! 

Native dent, flour, flint, popcorn and sweet corn

 Almost everything Americans eat contains corn: high fructose corn syrup, corn-fed meat, and corn-based processed foods are the staples of the modern diet.  Ready for an adventure and alarmed by signs of their generation’s bulging waistlines, college friends Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis know where to go investigate.

Eighty years ago, Ian and Curt’s great-grandfathers lived just a few miles apart, in the same rural county in northern Iowa.  Now their great-grandsons are returning with a mission:  they will plant an acre of corn, follow their harvest into the world, and attempt to understand what they—and all of us—are really made of.  Visit the movie link to learn more at http://www.kingcorn.net/ 

Good night dear voters where ever you are.

Brighter Planet Selects Happy Tonics Grant Proposal for February Voting

Brighter Planet
Brighter Planet Logo
The week of 18 January 2010, Matt Vaughan, of Brighter Planet, in Middlebury, Vermont, called to let Happy Tonics know that our grant proposal for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, was selected by Brighter Planet as a project for funding via the social media nonprofit organization.  We are honored that our project is being sponsored.

We need your VOTES in order to win a grant of $999.  Register at http://brighterplanet.com/ to VOTE on Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal between February 1 – 15.  There are not that many days before the VOTING begins.  Please get ready now.  We will remind you again starting next week. 

Conservation begins with action.  Thank you for playing a part in helping species besides ourselves survive in a world that is changing because of Climate Change. 

sign at Monarch Butterfly Habitat
Art work by Elaine DeAnn Brevitz Brown

Happy Tonics, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity in Shell lake, Wisconsin.   We ask that you tell all your friends to VOTE for us too.

United we can do anything from the Grass Roots movement upward.

Bee on liatris
Bumble bee on blazing star copyright Cindy Dyer

  Let’s make this world sustainabile from the earth up in the midst of climate change.  Future generations of people, plants, animals and pollinating insects will thank us.  Yes, even the bees can buzz their affection.

Thank you for your help.