Posted by: cindydyer | February 12, 2012

Butterfly Corner

by Mary Ellen Ryall

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. Above: Monarch Butterfly on ‘Zowie’ Zinnia, photo by Cindy Dyer

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 and 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.

Garden Muse Photography Exhibit
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.

For a sneak preview of Cindy’s extraordinary floral and insect photography, visit http://www.gardenmuseshow.com. Her garden photography was featured on Nikon’s website, along with an interview, in August 2011. Here is a link to their site 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 for the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. The publication will highlight the symbiotic relationship between native plants and pollinators including the monarch butterfly, birds and small animals.

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