Posted by: cindydyer | May 2, 2012

Butterfly Corner

by Mary Ellen Ryall

First week of April — The National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., has a Live Butterfly Pavilion. Deneen Stambone and I visited a large outdoor butterfly garden outside the museum. I saw large bumblebees on winter kale flowers. Outdoor signs near plants explain butterfly species life cycle, host, and nectar plants that support them. We missed photographing the famous cherry blossoms this year. Instead, we headed to the Tulip Library display gardens near the Tidal Basin just beyond the Mall. I am working on trying to get book into Natural History Museum gift shop. They have a live butterfly exhibit and a new extended butterfly garden along side the museum. Contact made with assistant area manager of the gift shop. The gift shop manager not available when I was there. I left behind a book and postcard. Visit the National Museum of Natural History at Tulip Library display garden on National Mall near Tidal Basin © Mary Ellen Ryall

Anna Marie Sculpture Garden, Solomons, MD, is near where I last lived. The 30 acre parcel is now home to a Smithsonian supported sculpture garden. The Art Gallery features art loans from the National Gallery of Art and Hirshhorn Museum. I met Caleb Clark, landscaping caretaker. Since 2009, he has been responsible for implementing a large butterfly garden next to the Arts Center. Early violets were in bloom. Violets are host plants of fritillary butterfly. I saw white cabbage butterflies. Clark reported that he had seen sulphur and fritillary butterflies so far. Anna Marie Sculpture Garden is a Smithsonian-supported sculpture garden. I spoke with shop owner, Kay, and caretaker Caleb Clark. I also networked with Curator of Public Programs, Jaimie Jeffrey, thanks to Caleb. Check out Website at Kay plans to order books for the gift shop this summer.

I recently received a call from Martha Canfield, Asbury Retirement Community at Martha runs the small gift shop. She will order a few books at wholesale price and stock the book in the limited book section. Dr. Carol Marcy, Joy Lane Healing Center, Hollywood, MD, will be ordering wholesale books for the gift shop.

Several friends, including artist Worth Cooley-Prost, Deneen Stambone, and I visited Green Spring Gardens, Alexandria, VA. Cindy Dyer met us and escorted us through her exhibit, Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio. The photography is vibrant and detailed with pollen and insects on many of the botanical pieces. You can see some images from the collection at I can’t think of a better way to spend time with friends than in the garden. This trip was all about networking with fellow artists who are creating a better world for tomorrow.

My book, My Name is Butterfly, will be offered at gift stores at some of these national sites. While at Green Spring Gardens, I spoke with Sandy Rittenhauser, director. She will place a wholesale order for the gift shop. Visit website at Left: Mary Ellen Ryall, Deneen Stambone and Worth Cooley-Prost stand in front of Cindy Dyer’s exhibit, Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio, which showcased March and April in the Horticulture Center. Photo by Cindy Dyer

I also visited with Holly Shimizu, the Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Holly asked that I help promote a new national gardening program, “Landscaping for Life.” The goal is to educate homeowners across the country to convert traditional gardening practices to sustainable landscaping. This ties right into what Happy Tonics created in Shell Lake with the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden. Planting native gardens has the potential to help clean air and water, reduce flooding, cool your town or city, protect pollinators, and combat climate change. Learn more at

In 2012, the U.S. Botanic Garden will feature butterfly gardens that will include host and nectar plants for several species of butterflies. Holly mentioned that butterflies will be released. Holly introduced me to education program specialist, Libby Rhoads. I gave them a book for their library. The Botanic Garden does not have a gift shop. I knew Holly years ago when she was assistant executive director. I wish you could see the outstanding work she is doing at the Botanic Garden. There is a butterfly garden that is expanding into a live exhibit of butterfly releases. Holly and staff have initiated the Landscaping for Life program that will go live in summer 2012. There will be a website to teach people how to garden for pollinators. Photo of Holly Shimizu by Cindy Dyer

April 13 Judy Ricci of Shell Lake, asked, “How are the butterflies doing?” Journey North reports the monarch migration has slowed down. The butterfly seems to be hovering at about Latitude 39th parallel north until warmer days arrive. The migration continued to advance eastward and a wave of first sightings hit Virginia last week. Hopefully, we can expect monarchs in Shell Lake and Washburn County near lilac bloom time, after the cold snap breaks. Buds have not opened yet. Be sure to call in your first monarch butterfly sighting into Happy Tonics for a free gift (715) 466-5349. We in turn report sightings to Journey North and Monarch Larva Project, University of Minnesota.

April 13 — Shell Lake Tech Ed Department created three signs from red pine trees that fell from the storm on July 1, 2011. Rod Wilcox, a saw mill owner in Minong, was gracious enough to donate wood and cut them to specification. Each sign has laser lettering and a monarch butterfly logo. They are natural looking and unique. I can hardly wait for the signs, Three Sisters Garden and Making a Difference for Pollinators, to be placed along the pathway at the habitat. Another sign, Happy Tonics, is going to LCO tribal farm for a medicinal herbs and native crop garden that Sandy Stein, Secretary, manages. Special thanks to teacher Bob Forsythe and the students who made the sign project possible.

April 18 — Minong Conference at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Pat Shields, Happy Tonics board member, initiated the conference. Representatives from Bad River Reservation, Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation, and Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, are speakers. Sid Keller, WOJB, is monitor of the conference. The conference will explore “Impacts of the Mining Proposal on Great Lakes Treaty Rights and Harvesting.” The conference will focus on legal, social-economic, environmental, and culture impacts on tribes.

April 25 — 4th Annual Sustainable Living Fair at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Happy Tonics will exhibit Pollinator Corridors and Butterfly Gardens across the USA. Keynote speaker: Dianne Jourdan, Oneida Nation, will discuss her experiences with tribal school gardening, composting, and recycling programs.

April 28 — 5th Annual Earth Day Event, in Shell Lake, at 1 p.m. Meet at Monarch Butterfly Habitat pergola for a Native American Ceremony. This year we will honor donors both living and deceased who made the Monarch Butterfly Habitat possible. Community will have the opportunity to put down cement feet in the path donated by Shell Lake Public Library and lay fundraiser memory brick pavers around the wild black cherry tree in the Memory Tree Grove. Pot luck follows at the Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue. Bring a dish to share. Community meeting follows, an informal meal, to discuss ways that citizens can participate in the nonprofit and help Happy Tonics grow into the future. The nonprofit needs new leadership. Mary Ellen Ryall will be retiring as Executive Director at the end of 2012.

Star Tribune provided the answer to how the butterfly is doing in a recent article, “Study ties GMO corn and soybean to butterfly losses,” by Josephine Marcotty. Karen Oberhauser, article. You can read the full story at Monarchs in the Classroom, Monarch Larva Project, University of Minnesota, and John Pleasants, a monarch researcher from Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, did the research behind the story.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: