Posted by: cindydyer | December 2, 2011

Butterfly Corner

Monarch cluster at Mexican Monarch Butterfly Biosphere © Learner Organization, University of Kansas.

by Mary Ellen Ryall

November 7, 2011—Felipe Martinez Meza, Assistant at Biosphere Monarch Butterfly, Zitacuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, confirmed that monarch butterflies had arrived at their overwintering sites in Mexico. He performed field work at the sanctuary the first week of November. His research was reported back to Learner Organization.

True to their encounter with nature and pre-Hispanic tradition, monarch arrival coincided with the Day of the Dead in Mexico on November 1. There were butterflies in their wintering sites in historic sites: The first colony in Ejido El Rosario had occupancy of approximately 50 trees while a second group on November 2 was detected in 10 trees. It is too soon to say what this means as far as monarch concentrations are concerned. Are they doing better or worse this year? Have the migration numbers increased or decreased?

In December, scientists from Learner Organization at the University of Kansas, will travel to Mexico to determine the health and vulnerability of the Mexican butterfly population and the overwintering sites. We can only hope that the butterflies have increased in number especially since their numbers have been dwindling due to climate change, habitat loss and environmental fires, floods, oil contamination and other risks along their 2,000 mile migration route.

Happy Tonics noticed record numbers of monarch butterflies in Shell Lake in 2011 at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. The last butterflies were seen on October 12, which is very late. Many people called to let us know they too saw many monarchs this year. It could be that the abundant rains increased milkweed growth and enabled the monarchs to propagate beyond normal numbers.

Happy Tonics Open House
Get ready for holiday on Saturday, December 3. Happy Tonics is having an open house at the Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue, 10 a.m. — 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served. We invite parents and grandparents to come in and view the book My Name is Butterfly. The illustrated children’s book features the artwork of Stevie Marie Aubuchon-Medoza and is written by Mary Ellen Ryall, CEO of Happy Tonics and the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the holidays and honor youth in their home town. The book is available on Amazon. A limited number of copies will be available on December 3 for those who wish to see the book and obtain autographed copies for their families. My Name is Butterfly © Salt of the Earth Press

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