Butterfly Corner

May 9, 2012 published in Washburn County Register, Shell Lake, WI, USA

According to Scott Black, Xerces Society, Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Civil Rights Memorial, is asking people the world over to share a memory about environmental loss – and, at the same time, learn about what’s being done to stop it. Ms. Lin’s appeal is being made in collaboration with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and World Wildlife Fund to draw attention to Conservation in Action, the newest installment of What is Missing?, a global, multimedia artwork that serves as a memorial to our living planet. Part one can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/10990773What is Missing? This is a whole new way to experience the demise and plea to save threatened species due to habitat loss. Source: New York, NY (PRWEB)

May 2 – Xerces Society has included Happy Tonics on a new mailing list for the “International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Species Survival Commission (SSC), and Butterfly Specialist Group Survey, to assess global research and conservation needs of butterflies.” Xerces Society has published the analysis of survey results in a report, Assessment of Global Research and Conservation Needs for Butterflies: Analysis of Survey Results. Happy Tonics records butterfly species at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. The nonprofit documents butterfly findings to Xerces Society and Wisconsin Butterfly Organization.

May 3 – We have been noticing a surge of butterflies in Minong. The temperature reached an average of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a meadow full of pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta) growing next to my property. The little plant is host plant to painted lady butterfly. I haven’t seen the species yet. I bent down to take a closer look. There were lots of Milbert’s tortoiseshell butterflies enjoying nectar from the plant and dandelion. Some butterflies looked like they had recently emerged. They were bright in color. Others showed signs of age with faded and battered wings. Fast flying meadow fritillary butterflies were also seen. Common violet is their host plant. There are plenty of violets in my gardens in Minong. Violets are a sign of healthy soil. I have noticed a small colony of violets in the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake.

May 3 – Received a butterfly news update from Stephanie Ryall, Saratoga Springs, NY. “We had a big influx of Scarlett [red] Admirals yesterday. Have you heard of this phenomenon up your way? They fly very quickly and look like they are playing in pairs. Watching the sky in Saratoga.” Many of you know that my hometown is Saratoga Springs, NY. I will be there in August for racing season and book tour. Saratoga County protects the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Large tracks of land have been set aside for butterfly conservation. No development can occur near the butterfly reserves because Karner blue is protected. The DNR in Polk-Burnett County is marking habitat under power lines that has Karner blue host plant, native blue lupine. Unlike the monarch butterfly, which has endangered migration phenomena. Shell Lake is the seasonal home to the monarch and the butterfly does not threaten development.

Jo Stewart, St. Croix Writers; Boyd Sutton, Retired former Wisconsin Writers Association Officer

May 4 – 5 – Wisconsin Writers Association’s (WWA) spring conference was held at The Lodge, in Siren.

Mary Ellen Ryall copyright Anna Martineau Merritt

Mary Ellen Ryall copyright Anna Martineau Merritt

I had the opportunity to sell my book, My Name is Butterfly, and meet many butterfly friends. One individual stands out in my mind, Boyd Sutton. He devoted many years to reshaping WWA and was one of the organization’s driving force. Boyd retired this year. He was honored with an award and stand up resounding applause.

I was heartened to see more youth at the event this year, including talented Mikhaila Lampert. She is a high school age young lady who easily makes her way to outside the classroom learning experiences. Mikhaila earned a scholarship to WWA. It was a privilege to drive her to the conference and have the opportunity to get to know her a little. She lives on a farm near Spooner and loves butterflies. I expect we will see a lot more of her this summer at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, as a volunteer. Anthony Bukoski was one of the speakers. He is the author of many short story collections. Born in Superior, he writes about the surrounding area. I learned a long time ago that a person should write about what they know. Bukoski reiterated the importance of these words to many aspiring authors.

Butterfly Corner

Black swallowtail butterfly copyright Erin Pryor Pavlica

Black swallowtail butterfly copyright Erin Pryor Pavlica

January 3, 2012 – I received an email asking for help. A black swallowtail butterfly was born in a home in Saint Paul, MN. I could hardly believe it.  How was this possible? Erin Pryor Pavlica needed to know what nectar sources to offer the butterfly. The butterfly formed a chrysalis in November and Erin brought it inside. The butterfly emerged on January 3. Normally butterflies don’t need nectar for 24-48 hours after they emerge. I suggested she try sweet fruit such as an orange and sugar water. Butterflies taste with their feet. The next day, Erin reported that the butterfly did not taste the orange. She was going to try sugar water next.

Erin posted her story on Facebook. Many people around the country answered with suggestions and some had tried similar nectar for butterflies born out of season in their own homes. All agreed that it would be impossible to move the butterfly. There is an average of 560 species of swallowtails. Many are brilliant and live in the tropics. The Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake is home to the yellow Canadian Tiger swallowtail in season. Normally the butterfly overwinters outside in the pupal stage. Some swallowtails may spend more than a year like this. I imagine that the home, being heated, was too warm and triggered a different response. Perhaps this is why the butterfly emerged in winter. Surely the butterfly was out of its natural life cycle and habitat.

The black swallowtail is thriving. The butterfly has enjoyed sipping from a rotten old apple and an aged squashed banana. On Saturday, Erin said, “Yes, I have several cotton pads with sugar solution soaked into them. I put fresh solution out several times a day. The butterfly is usually active after eating!”

I would like to mention that Erin had a baby girl, Quinn Mae, on New Year’s Eve. She is thrilled that the black swallowtail butterfly arrived within days of the child’s birth. I invited the family to visit Shell Lake next summer. I look forward to celebrating the butterfly baby at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden. Quinn Mae won’t be the first butterfly baby to be remembered at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat.

January 24 – Environmental Film Fest, 12 Noon, Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Ojibwa Community College, 13466 W Trepania Road, Hayward. Film: WATERBUSTER. The film is about the effects of the Gannon Dam on the Missouri River and how a family, which is one of the WATERBUSTER clan, was torn apart and their journey back to wholeness again. Susan Menzel, Tribal collage intern, stated she watched the film and drew parallels about Lac Courte Oreilles history. There was a time when the tribe was flooded to create the Chippewa Flowage in 1924 and the Winter Dam was installed. The Dam was turned over to LCO in the 1970s.  Speaker to be announced.  The event is open to the community.

Mow it, pick it or replant it, please

Letters to the editor, Washburn County Register – September 8, 2010

by Lauralei Anderson, Shell Lake Alumni, Cumberland

This was the bad press received from a critic of natural habitat.

Over the last few years, I have to commend the city of Shell Lake for taking pride in the appearance of this little city. This has been accomplished by doing improvements such as the storefront renovations, the beautiful hanging baskets that adorn the light poles and the well-groomed lawns of the beach/pavilion walkways.

The last two  Registers have featured articles of two different area gardens. Two weeks ago featured the cut little village garden by te Washburn County Historical Society, with it beautifully weeded perennials, welcoming visitors from the south end of town. Last week’s feature was of the twilight garden at the Spooner Ag Station, with its sweet sitting benches and well-groomed plants. So, I was wondering if this week’s paper was going to feature the butterfly garden on the north end of town? However, I could probably answer my own question with a solid “No.” Why write a feature about an over-grown railroad bed?

So this brings me to the meat of my letter. Why do we keep seeing this unkempt, fence-in weed patch year after year? Yes, you I know that it was designed to attract butterflies, but on close inspection we see scant black-eyed Susan’s and nothing more than wild weeds and few bugs! Couldn’t we find some eye-appealing greenery that attracts butterflies as well as scenic onlookers, making it more welcoming than a back-40 field that needs to be hayed?

It amazes me that this has been allowed to go on for as long as it has. When looking at the area on the old railroad tracks, we see sitting benches that are longing to be sat on, a grown over walking path and a very nice pergola that is vacant. Mostly, I think, because of the lack of care and the uninviting appearance of the place.

So I ask whomever is in charge of this “Garden of Weed-en”…Could you mow it, pick it or replant it and make this sanctuary as welcoming to people as well as our six-legged, winged friends.

I am hoping that letter will spark those of you who agree with me, that have been quiet about this eyesore, to speak up and ask for a little more improvement to this pretty little city.

Happy Tonics officers and board of directors will address this article in this week’s paper if the Editor chooses to publish our response.

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