Wednesday, June 30, 2010

July 2010 Atalas are back!

The atalas appeared at some locations in June right on "schedule", but they haven't appeared yet at other places where they have been stable for years. Reports are positive for Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach, Plantation home sites, Tree Tops County Park, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens and Crandon Park. They are negative for more sites than they are active this month, but the important thing is that they are back. This is a photo I took at Nova Southeastern University.
If you have a colony or wish to establish a colony, please feel free to contact me. Sooner or later, the hope is that the active colonies will be irrupting and will be 'volunteered' to participate in 'assisted re-location' to a new site....maybe yours! The
good news is that the host plants, coontie, are flourishing with bright green new growth.

Many friends met at Fern Forest Park on Saturday afternoon, June 26, 2010, to pay homage to the extraordinary life of Walter Johnston, who passed away in early June. He will be very missed by all of us: Master Gardeners, NABA members, American Orchid Society members, garden clubs, NatureScape people, the IFAS extension office, and National Wildlife Federation Habitat Stewards, as well as many others. Walter was an exemplar for environmental stewardship, butterfly gardening and just a wonderful, loving humane being. He is survived by his wife Mona, who has sent many of the photos that you have seen on this blog, including the "Butterfly Oracle 2010" posted in January. We feel that the Monarch Oracle was telling Walter that his transition was going toward a more spectacular future in another realm. He will be greatly missed, but we're sure that he's on to bigger and better projects.
The July Butterfly Count for the Broward County Butterfly Chapter (BCBC) of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) will be taking place in the North Circle on July 17th, 2010. We can always use extra help covering the areas. You can sign up at BCBC's website, or contact Barbara DeWitt (badewitt at comcast dot net) for Hugh Taylor Birch; Sandy Fernandes (sanav at comcast dot net) for Hillsboro Pinelands; Nancy Johns (blacktail07 at yahoo dot com) or myself (sandykoi2009 at gmail dot com) for Crystal Lake Preserve counts.

There is a $3 fee to participate, which supports national NABA; children are welcome~they often see things we adults miss! If you live by Tamarind Village, contact Mona Johnston (12banger at bellsouth dot net).

If you've never been to Hillsboro, here are some photos of what you've been missing. Although it is mostly pinelands, there are hammocks as well, and this little tree-lined lake in the north section is where you could see the Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly.
This gorgeous flower is called Feay's Palafox (Palafoxia feayi).

At Crystal Lake Preserve, a scrub ecosystem, you can see plant rarities such as Tallowwood, also known as Hog Plum (Ximenia americana), the delicate little yellow flowers of this Narrowleaf Silkgrass (Pityopsis graminfolia), and Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) with its beautiful pink inflorescence.
You just gotta love pink grass!

You can also participate as a 'garden watcher' if your garden is located within the count area! All you have to do is note the butterflies in your garden, the length of time you observed, have the GPS location of your home, and let one of us know what you saw. It's very easy. The North Circle count area can be found on BCBC's webpage. Garden watchers must also donate the $3 participant fee and the data is equally important because it allows scientists to locate the range of a species more precisely.
And sometimes, you may see a rare one, such as this Goatleaf Leafwing, taken by the late David Lysinger from the Miami Blue NABA Chapter.

On that note, please come to the next Broward County NABA meeting on August 12, 2010, at the Broward County IFAS Extension office located at 3245 College Avenue in Davie. The meeting will start at 7 PM, but come early for friendly conversation and a look at the plant raffle. It is always possible to find rare native butterfly plants and the price is right! I'll be presenting a PowerPoint titled "Endangered, Threatened, Vulnerable and Imperiled Butterflies: Citizen Science needs YOU!"

Learn how you can participate in some vitally important Citizen Science projects for Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) and the Imperiled Butterfly Working Group (IBWG). The Florida State-run organizations have the difficult job of tracking some extremely rare biota. FNAI tracks plants, animals, insects and even ecosystems. IBWG tracks imperiled butterflies. Both are tracking the atala, by the way, as well as other uncommon butterflies such as the Florida White. My friend Paola Hernandez took this photo at Castellow Hammock.

Come to the meeting to learn how to document the butterflies that are being tracked, where to look for them, and what to do when you find them. FNAI even has some perks, such as travel reimbursement, for serious watchers.

I will be leading a "Walk on the Wild Side" at John Williams Park, Sheridan Oak Forest, in Hollywood (6101 Sheridan Avenue, just west of St Rd 441), on July 5, 2010 from 9 AM to noon. This is one of the areas that FNAI would like more butterfly data about. I've documented 17 species of butterflies at the park, and one Io Moth, but more eyes means more sightings. If you'd like to help pull exotics in this "balmy" summer air, bring water, gloves and a trowel, too, for some work time. This is me explaining how important the Sabal Palmetto, our State Tree, was to our first inhabitants and early settlers.
Nova Southeastern University held an interesting in-depth seminar and public discussion about the Deepwater Horizon oil leak on June 16, 2010. You can find articles from most of the speakers and some videos of the lectures on the Nova website. The program helped participants understand the many aspects involved in the leak, the clean-up efforts, and our dependency on oil, for practically everything, not just your car!

You can also download a paper prepared by Robert Jarvis, Professor of Law at Shepard Broad Law Center, about the complex legalities surrounding the disaster. I found his information helpful in comprehending why President Obama (or anyone else) can't just 'crack the whip', so to speak, to get efforts moving along more quickly, as well as the complications surrounding the accountability of BP (or someone) for the massive impact on people and animals, economies and eco-systems.
You can also find the latest information on oiled birds being reported, including here on the eastern Florida coast, at Cornell's eBird site. Yet another example of how important Citizen Science is!

For another look at "Hands Across the Sands" last weekend, take a look at my friend Roberta Shaw's webpages, CritterTales! This wonderful site has pages of activities for kids (some of which I helped produce back 'in the day'), as well as Roberta's incredible photography of wildlife. Check out the "Walking the Ridge" pages, too, for stories about the Ridge Forest Preserve, located on the back side of Tree Tops Park in Davie. There is even a page with free wallpaper downloads of her beautiful photographs for your computer.
Although I don't usually promote my art on this blog, I would like to let you know that I am selling a unique silver pendant that I designed and silversmith friend Fran Davis produced. The Hebrew calligraphy around the perimeter of the pendant is the word "Shalom," which means 'peace' and 'wholeness.' The four Shaloms that circle the center represent the four corners of the earth. The Sanskrit word in the center is "Om," said to embody the Creation of the World. The "Om Shalom" pendant is a visual prayer for peace and wholeness encircling the world.
The pendants are $38 each, plus $2 shipping and handling. It is available in a domed or flat design (flat is shown here because it reproduces better in a photograph). The pendant is .925 g of Sterling Silver and 25mm (0.98 ") in diameter. Necklace cord is not included so that you can choose your own style. Call or email to order (954-449-5428 or sandykoi2009 at gmail dot com.)

Remember to keep Gaia-Earth in your prayers and meditations! Wishing you all a Sweet Summer Solstice & Shalom!

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