Monitoring species at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat September 2010

 I am pleased to say that the metal and cement sculpture art is in the habitat now. Michell Carlisle, mother to intern Tabitha Brown, graciously donated a cement sculpture of Psyche with wire butterfly wings in glass and wood beads. This is the first art that visitors will see when they enter the habitat. The art looks contemporary and could be interpreted as modern or folk art. Psyche has been around from the time of classical Rome and is the only surviving full-length novel by Lucius Apuleius from that time period. The book Metamorphoses translates to butterfly metamorphoses. . Corrie Wolf’s father, Raymond “Duke” Wolf, donated a professional sign for the habitat. It says Happy Tonics Butterfly Garden. Tabitha not only arranged for the art she helped create both donations. She was a great help to us through the early parts of summer and all through the winter of 2010.

Tabitha Brown
Tabitha Brown

 Tabitha was our ambassador at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College and made sure that the 2009-2010 Environmental Film Fest was a success. I don’t know what I would have done without her. This year was extremely hard on me with my husband’s illness.  Through memorial donations from Pauline and Dennis McFadden, Ballston Spa, NY;  Ann Stambeck, Bobby and Bootsie Bailey and Diane Dryden of Shell Lake, WI, and Erica Hohos, Worcester, MA,  I was able to purchase a metal tulip by the artist William F. Colburn, Jr. of Fairhope, Alabama. This is a memorial to my husband, Willard H. DeJong. Will originally was from Holland and moved to the United States at age seven. The tulip is the famed flower of the Netherlands. The art is in the Memory Tree Grove on the far northern side of the habitat.

Our summer intern Brennan Harrington helped with building a wood frame for the sign. The wood used was cut and stripped from his own land in Stonebrook. He cemented the sculptures in the ground for permanence.  Brennan was also a great help at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in the summer of 2010. He took total charge of removing spotted knapweed, an invasive species, watering plants and making sure the path was maintained. It is a big job to maintain a ½ acre habitat and I appreciate everything he did for us.   

It was amazing to see the goldenrod. There were long lasting golden blooms at the habitat from September to end of October. I witnessed an abundance of small native bees including bumble bees on the plants when the heat of the sun starts to wane. They were seen in groups enjoying the last of the nectaring goldenrod. We have two species of goldenrod at the habitat one is stiff and the other is showy. Showy goldenrod has a cylindrical cluster of flowers.  Stiff goldenrod has a flattened inflorescence and broad thick basal leaves. I feel the stiff goldenrod is so pretty it should be called showy instead of stiff.

Bees appear to be like family in that they share and don’t compete for a food source. Bees just enjoy themselves. There is plenty for all. I saw up to twenty bees on just a few plants.

 An ethnobotany teacher, Leslie Ramsyck, told me that goldenrod does not cause allergies, although many people argue this fact. Don Engebretson and Don Williamson in Perennials for Michigan and Wisconsin state that goldenrod blooms at the same time when ragweed is out. Both species belong to the Ambrosia family. The difference between the two plants is that goldenrod does not cause allergies (183). There is actually a difference between ragweed also. The native ragweed does not cause llergies. It is the exotic ragweed that is the problem according to Ramsyck.

Goldenrods are resistant to pests. Some wasps prefer to make the stem a home. Eggs of the wasp are inserted into the stem which creates a stem gall.  The larva lives within and burst out at some point as wasps.   

Art in the Monarch Butterfly Habitat

 A new dimension has been added to the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden in Shell Lake. Thanks to a few special people, visitors will now have an opportunity to enjoy metal and cement sculptures as they walk on the butterfly winged shaped path throughout the habitat. 
Psyche with butterfly wings
Psyche with butterfly wings

  Area One – The artwork in area one is a donation from a folk artist Michell Carlisle. Tabitha Brown, former intern from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College (LCOOCC), asked her mother Michell if she would make a statue for the habitat. The cement form of Psyche with wire butterfly wings in glass and wood beads is the first art that visitors will see when they enter the habitat. The art looks contemporary and could be interpreted as modern. Psyche has been around from the time of classical Rome and is the only surviving full-length novel by Lucius Apuleius from that time period. The book Metamorphoses translates to butterfly metamorphoses.

Area two – Corrie Wolf’s father “Duke” Wolf from Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation is an artist and sign maker. Brown worked with her father-in-law and she designed the back of the sign. Wolf donated the colorful swallowtail butterfly sign which can be seen from Route 63. LCOOCC Intern Brennan Harrington made the peeled log frame from trees on his property in Stone Lake. 

Happy Tonics butterfly sign by Mr. Wolf and Tabitha Brown
Happy Tonics butterfly sign by Mr. Wolf and Tabitha Brown

Area two – Corey Wolf’s father from Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation is an artist and sign maker. Brown worked with her father-in-law and she designed the back of the sign. Wolf donated the colorful swallowtail butterfly sign which can be seen from Route 63. LCOOCC Intern Brennan Harrington made the peeled log frame from trees on his property in Stone Lake.

Sunflower Metal Art by Rochelle Becker
Sunflower Metal Art by Rochelle Becker

  A metal sculpture of a sunflower was placed in area two. Donor and artist Rochelle Becker had given the sculpture to Ryall when she was going through the difficult stages of her husband’s illness. The sculpture now resides in the habitat for all to enjoy.

Area three- A metal sculpture of a tulip by artist William F. Colburn, Jr. of Fairhope, Alabama, has been set in the Memory Tree Grove on the northern end of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. The art work is a memorial for Willard H. DeJong, late husband of Happy Tonics founder Mary Ellen Ryall. DeJong was originally from Holland and tulips are the country’s famed flower. The metal sculpture was made possible by donors Ann Stambek, Diane Dryden and Bobbie and Bootsie Bailey of Shell Lake, Nancy Herman of Yellow Rivers Advertising, McGregor, MN and Erica Hohos of Worcester, MA.

Memorial tulip
Memorial tulip

Happy Tonics, Inc. is grateful for the outpouring of kindness from members and friends near and far.