Have you #GotMilkweed?

David Suzuki Foundation
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Who’s got milkweed?

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By Jode Roberts, Team Lead, Homegrown National Park Project

The monarch butterfly has it bad. Fortunately, we have a solution. As part of our Toronto-based Homegrown National Park Project, we’ve #GotMilkweed.

This year the number of monarchs overwintering in Mexico hit an all-time low. Severe weather and the disappearance of milkweed (the plant they depend on) along their migratory path are making an already epic journey downright dangerous. There are even doubts that the monarchs will make it back to Canada!

That’s why we launched the #GotMilkweed earlier this month. We’re planting a milkweed corridor through the City of Toronto. And the response so far has been amazing!

Torontonians bought almost 1,000 milkweed plants in the first few days and are close to double that amount now. And hundreds of nice folks like you contributed $25 to buy plants for our volunteer Homegrown Park Rangers to plant in local schoolyards and parks. The Toronto Star even splashed the story on its front page.

Want to help?Torontonians can order milkweed now, while supplies last. When spring finally arrives, plant them in your yard or on your balcony. You can even become a butterfly “block captain” and inspire your neighbours, local schools, stores and churches to do the same.

Not from Toronto? No worries. You can check in with local conservation groups and nurseries in your community. Here is a good list of local nurseries. If they don’t stock milkweed species native to your region, politely ask them to start.

The monarch butterflies have it bad. Help us bring them back, one milkweed plant at a time.

Truly,

Jode Roberts
Team Lead, Homegrown National Park Project
David Suzuki Foundation

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Bundy’s an asshole and his supporters are morons

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Here’s everything you should know about #BundyRanch. He’s no patriot and no hero. pic.twitter.com/6ALKLsRyHm


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Invite pollinators to your neighborhood …

Invite pollinators to your neighborhood by planting a pollinator friendly habitat in your garden, farm, school, park or just about anywhere!

Starting on Page 16 of the planting guides you can find lists of plant names that will attract pollinators and help you build beautiful pollinator habitat!

Print these lists and bring them to your local native plant, garden center or nursery

These guides were funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the C.S. Fund, the Plant Conservation Alliance, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management with oversight by the Pollinator Partnership, in support of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. To learn more about why planting for pollinators is important, click here.

Selecting Plants for Pollinators http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm
Our ecoregional planting guides are tailored to specific areas of the U.S. You can find out which ecoregion you live in by entering your zip code at link above.

Wisconsin Historical Images for April 2014 Newsletter

Wisconsin Historical Images from the Wisconsin Historical Society
April 2014

FEATURED GALLERY
| Highlights from over three million photographs in our holdings

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Wisconsin Honey Farm label for trademark registration. WHI 90655


Bees and Beekeepers Since 1872

More than 200 images in this gallery show the rich history of beekeeping in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states, including developments in beehives, equipment, techniques and advertising. The beekeepers shown were both hobbyists and commercial honey producers. The images show beekeepers and their families, apiaries, beekeeping equipment, meetings of the Wisconsin Honey Producer Association, agricultural exhibitions, and Wisconsin and Minnesota “Honey Queens.” Printed ephemera includes illustrations and artwork, letterhead, pamphlets and advertisements. Most materials range in date from the late 1800s to the 1980s.

The documents come from several different collections at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The majority are from the Wisconsin Honey Producer Association records and date from 1875 to 1979. Others were found in the records of the Wisconsin Plant Industry Division, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Markets Photographs and the papers of Charles Dadant, a Frenchman who immigrated to Illinois in 1863 and established the bee supply firm Charles Dadant & Son in 1874.

Professionalization of Bee Culture

Many 19th-century farmers kept bees despite the fact that Wisconsin’s cold climate was a challenge to beekeepers. Advances in technology like box hives, movable “Langshroth” frames, honey extractors and other equipment increased production. By 1860 the Italian honey bee, considered superior to other varieties, had been introduced in Wisconsin. Another important step was agricultural diversification, which created more varieties of pollen and nectar, and further increased production. By 1900 more than 2.6 million pounds of honey were being produced in Wisconsin annually.

The Wisconsin Honey Producers Association (WHPA) was organized in 1864. Farmers had begun organizing into beekeeping associations to provide technical assistance, share scientific information, and define standards for honey quality. Today there are beekeeping organizations throughout Wisconsin, usually organized by county, in addition to the statewide Wisconsin Honey Producers Association. The WHPA’s purpose is “to form a strong bond and fellowship among commercial and hobby honey producers.”

The WHPA has advanced the interests of beekeepers through improving marketing of honey and bee products, running advertising campaigns, supporting scientific developments beneficial to honey producers, and disseminating scientific information among members. After World War II the association sponsored an annual “Honey Queen,” similar to the state’s Cranberry Queen and Alice in Dairyland marketing campaigns. All these activities are documented in the association’s large collection of photographs shown here.

View the Gallery >>

BROWSE THE COLLECTIONS | View nearly 60,000 digitized visual materials in our online database
cole_feature.jpg Harry Ellsworth ColeBaraboo, The Dells and Devil’s Lake

The Harry Ellsworth Cole collection reflects his lifelong love of nature and history through more than 200 photographs that document and preserve Sauk County’s and Wisconsin’s natural beauty and history.

View the Gallery >>

singer_feature.jpg Singer CompanyAdvertising Card Collection

This collection depicts people from around the world, dressed in traditional clothing and posing with Singer sewing machines. The cards offer perspective on popular depictions of race and ethnicity in the late 19th century.

View the Gallery >>

This monthly email newsletter from Wisconsin Historical Images features gallery exhibits from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s visual materials collections.
Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706Link to Society's website at wisconsinhistory.org

Collecting, Preserving and Sharing Stories Since 1846

Did you know? Nearly 60,000 historical photographs are available for purchase online as high-quality archival pigment prints or digital files.Browse dozens of topical galleries or search for specific people, places, topics or events. Proceeds benefit the Society’s image collections.

View more information about buying images online or email Lisa Marine.


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Red Wing, MN at Colvill Park 3/26/2014

David Suzuki – Citizen scientists can help monarch butterflies

David Suzuki Foundation

Citizen scientists can help monarch butterflies

Child with Monarch Butterfly
Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

From the age of five, Fred Urquhart was fascinated by monarch butterflies in his Toronto neighbourhood. Born in 1911, he spent hours watching the orange and black insects flutter about, wondering: Where did they go in winter? At school, he read voraciously about nature, especially monarchs and other insects.

He eventually became a zoology professor and married Norah Patterson, who shared his love of butterflies, as did their son, Doug. To answer the question that had nagged Fred since childhood, in 1940 they found a way to attach tiny labels to individual butterflies that read, “Send to Zoology University of Toronto Canada.” They started the Insect Migration Association, now known as Monarch Watch, enlisting “citizen scientists” to tag butterflies.

They finally solved the mystery in 1975 — with the help of two citizen scientists in Mexico. Ken Brugger and Catalina Aguado had come across millions of butterflies in the mountains west of Mexico City. The couple took the Urquharts there in 1976 and, miraculously, Fred found one of his tagged insects within hours. Their fascinating story is told in the documentary film Flight of the Butterflies and in an episode of CBC’s The Nature of Things, The Great Butterfly Hunt.

Now, monarchs are in trouble, their numbers drastically reduced from the days when the Urquharts pursued their passion. And once again, experts and others are calling on citizen scientists — and politicians — to help.

Monarch populations in Mexico plummeted to a record low of about 33.5 million this year from an annual average over the past 15 years of about 350 million and highs of more than one billion. Causes include illegal logging in Mexico, herbicide use on genetically modified crops in the U.S. and climate change.

In February, in response to a letter by Mexican poet Homero Aridjis, signed by more than 100 scientists, writers and environmentalists — including Canadians Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and John Ralston Saul — U.S. President Barack Obama, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to “establish a working group to ensure the conservation of the monarch butterfly, a species that symbolizes our association.”

The letter to leaders said, “As Mexico is addressing the logging issues, so now must the United States and Canada address the effects of our current agricultural policies.” Those problematic practices are mainly associated with large-scale planting of corn and soy genetically modified to resist the herbicide Roundup, or glyphosate. It doesn’t kill crops — just pretty much everything else, including the milkweed monarchs need to lay their eggs and that is their caterpillars’ main food.

We can only hope our leaders live up to their commitment, and we can speak up to hold them to it. But we can also become citizen scientists to help researchers better understand the butterfly’s breeding, migrating and overwintering cycles and help monarchs survive. Monarch Watch offers classroom resources, student-scientist research projects and information about building monarch way stations, raising your own monarchs and planting milkweed and butterfly gardens. The U.S. Monarch Joint Venture website offers resources for citizens to track migration, count butterflies and monitor larval populations and disease for monarchs — as well as other butterflies.

The David Suzuki Foundation website also offers a range of resources and activities to help protect these pollinating insects. And, as part of its Homegrown National Park Project, the foundation is launching a Toronto-based campaign in April to crowd-source a milkweed corridor through the city.

Helping monarch and other butterflies and insects is a fun way to get kids interested in nature’s wonders. Planting milkweed and nectar-producing native flowers on balconies and in gardens, parks and green spaces will beautify the area around your home and bring bees and butterflies to the neighbourhood.

Scientists still don’t know everything about monarchs and their migration, but we know they play an important role in ecosystems. And we know everything in nature is interconnected. When something that travels such long distances through a range of habitats is removed, it can have cascading effects on those environments.

The world wouldn’t know where North American monarchs travel if it weren’t for the Urquharts and the continent-wide battalion of citizen scientists they inspired. We can all help ensure monarch butterflies continue this wonderful journey every year.

By David Suzuki with contributions from with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

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my distance from the eagle :-)