MONARCH BUTTERFLY + OTHER POLLINATOR ONE-SHEET

6 Aug

BY KRISTEN MOORE

We’ve been able to gather quite a bit of information about pollinators, including Monarchs in the last few years. From raising rescued Monarch caterpillars, observing chrysalis and releasing butterflies we’ve moved to learning about pending legislations and how to help more! Please continue reading to learn basic facts about Monarch butterflies and other pollinators that may surprise you.

The Monarch butterfly seen above was experiencing the first few moments outside of it’s chrysalis. Raising butterflies is a wondrous activity, definitely good for mental health!

Worrying about butterflies and other pollinators is not good for our health, unless it drives us to action. There are many actions we can take to help other species, including pollinators.

New York State just stood up for pollinators by requiring special permits for use of neonicitinoids, nicotine based insecticides; as of January 2023. According to Dan Winter, President of the American Beekeeping Federation; New York is leading the nation with this protection. He is now looking with hope to the EPA to make the same stance on the federal level.

Molly Jacobson, native bee guru from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; developed an amazing pollinator garden webinar that you can utilize in planning your own native pollinator garden. Find Molly’s webinar here.

Between Molly Jacobson and Jim Norwalk of Butterfly Effect Plants in Waterloo, I’ve become quite the native plant nanny! Through Moore Dirty Boots we created/improved four native plant gardens in the Finger Lakes. Plants were welcomed by Earth Eden Farm in North Rose, the Waterloo Public Library, Lodi’s Community Garden and on the east side of Cayuga Lake. We’ve been involved in various conversations about pollinator pathways and various certifications. It is rejuvenating to think of these projects continuing to grow-pun intended!

Here are a few basic facts about Monarch butterflies courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation:

Diet:  Monarchs, like all butterflies, change their diet as they develop. During the caterpillar stage, they live exclusively on milkweed plants. Milkweeds are wildflowers in the genus Asclepias. Milkweeds contain glycoside toxins that are harmless to the monarch but poisonous to its predators. Monarch caterpillars feed on all the different parts of milkweed plants and store up the toxins in their body. The toxins remain in their system even after metamorphosis, thereby making adult monarchs poisonous as well.

Adult monarchs feed on nectar from a wide range of flowers, including milkweeds. 

Typical Lifespan:  Most monarch butterflies do not live more than a few weeks. There are about 3 to 5 generations born each spring and summer and most of the offspring do not live beyond 5 weeks. The lone exception is the last generation born at the end of the summer.

The last generation of each year is the over-wintering generation that must make the journey back to Mexico. Rather than breeding immediately, the over-wintering monarchs fly back to Mexico and stay there until the following spring. In the early spring, they fly north to the southern United States and breed. Over-wintering monarch butterflies can live upwards of 8 months.   

Our dedication to butterflies and pollinators led me to host a POLLINATOR PARTY! this year. All our favorite bee and native plant people and companies were there, including IDEA Collective. We had honey tastings, honey candy, cool educational information, native bees on display and being discovered. Children arriving dressed as bees and butterflies received a special prize-a kit from IDEA Collective! We were so glad to have such a turnout, even though rain was pouring down. We gave away signs the Girl Scouts had made to help support the NYS Pollinator Protection Plan requiring residents and highway departments to work together to protect pollinators beside roadways. These signs have prompted many smiles and it has been really fun to give them away. Two signs left currently!

In addition to sparing milkweed from mowers, one can help butterflies and other pollinators by limiting use of chemicals personally. Sharing your love of pollinators via visual art, social media, writing and more can make an incredible impact! Naturalist and author, Maria Sibylla Merian (4/26/1647-1/13/1717), opened the eyes of the world when she wrote in Latin about the metamorphosis of butterflies.

Two incredible places to view Monarch butterflies in a good year are the Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve and the Sterling Nature Center! When we held Butterfly Yoga and other Butterfly Walks in August and September at 1712 Black Brook Road in Seneca Falls, many of us were impressed with numerous butterflies and pollinator habitat. McIntyre Bluffs on the western edge of the Sterling Nature Center has often been a breathtaking stage for Monarch butterflies feeding in the goldenrod in early September.

Lake shore spaces with milkweed are critical for the migrating Monarch butterfly as it travels south from Canada. I’m looking forward to sharing a favorite book about the Monarch’s migration and perhaps a Monarch puzzle from IDEA Collective along the lake shore at the height of Monarch season. I do hope we see more of these amazing butterflies this year. Heat and water shortages affect these small creatures too. A small dish of fresh water can be just what many species need, even butterflies.

Many thanks to everyone who think about pollinators and join in to help however you can!

Kristen

PS A PDF of NYS 2020 Pollinator Protection Plan below: https://agriculture.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/02/pollinatorreport.pdf

Sterling Nature Center Yoga Hike a Success!

13 Sep

It’s always a pleasure to work with Karen Haas of Bayview Wellness Center in Fair Haven, NY.

After having a stunning day of scouting Thursday, we woke to uncertain skies yesterday. Though cloudy, rain didn’t fall and the breezes were calm and mild. Karen and I were really pleased with the turnout and response. Jim Deangelo held a Monarch butterfly program as we enjoyed our excursion. As Sterling Nature Center is incredible habitat for Monarch butterflies, is fitting to imagine our donations may go help support the purchase of butterfly nets or other materials for such programs.

My only complaint about yesterday was that it ended so quickly! As Karen’s studio is currently closed, we were thrilled to gather outside and experience one of her classes.

*Publisher’s note: Digital upgrades helped this sidelined post free. I’m glad to have access to better tools! Thank you for your support!

Fresh Market Success in Waterloo

20 Jun

By Kristen Moore

First day of Waterloo Rotary Farmer’s Market was certainly memorable. Meeting vendors and staff was fun!

In Costa Rica, I won an award for “Best Note-Taker in the Jungle” but somehow I failed to record the name of the young artist selling earrings. She has a remarkable style!

Before farmers’ tales, please let me explain my own background and interest in healthy local foods and communities. A self-designed major at Green Mountain College in Adventure Education and Media Arts prepared me to launch my website and begin designing and leading programs. Now, as Moore Dirty Boots, LLC, in addition to yoga hikes, guided paddles and interdisciplinary events; I’m initiating my own series of sustainable initiatives and created my own sustainability guide!

Though my goals are green, my kitchen habits have tremendous room for improvement. My advice and instructions in this realm are elementary, which I hope encourages others to be humble and to try and learn along with me.

Grace sold me baby yellow squash and raspberries from Cassim Farms on Yellow Tavern Rd. Grace said Cassim Farms has been operating 40 years!

Bridget and Sydney from “The Tyre Produce Stand” had rhubarb, lettuces, cherries and feverfew. (I first heard of the flower feverfew in an amazing book, Your Brain On Plants by Nicolette Perry, PhD and Elaine Perry, PhD.)

The Tyre Produce Stand is on Black Brook Rd., opening Friday, I believe. Find these farmers on Facebook and Instagram for their latest news.

Lynn Anderson showed characteristics of a successful market veteran. Colorful bouquets and healthy starts invited market patrons to visit. Bouquets in an array of prices adorned one table, while a third hosted house plants. Hanging baskets of cherry tomatoes and maple syrup were just some of her offerings. As I purchased many plants, Lynn advised me on their care, including sun preferences. I’m eager to get outside and rediscover my market purchases! Lynn had tomato and eggplants with fairytale names! I brought home, Juliet, a tomato plant but resisted the temptation of eggplants named Hansel and Gretl. Aren’t those names amazing?!

Strawberry shortcake ingredients were ready in my cooler. A jar of cream was going to quickly shaken into whipped cream for a fun demonstration but I was talking and shopping instead. Strawberry shortcake with biscuits from a bakery is such a treat! Local foods may matter more to some if they knew how flavorful and aromatic they can be. Basil butter on an english muffin became exciting and vivid.

“Lean Years, Happy Years” by Angelo M. Pellegrini is a favorite guide for planning food needs. Knowing what ingredients can transform dishes and what foods you adore, can help one choose what to plant or purchase. For a beginner like me, going to farmers can be an excellent way to secure quality food. Reducing the transportation of food is key to reducing carbon emissions.

Fresh asparagus called me, just like the raspberries and yellow squash from Cassim Farms. The raspberries-were perfect. Better than I have had in years. Tips for the asparagus next post!

Moore Dirty Boots at Waterloo Rotary Market! Let’s Encourage Sustainability

19 Jun

By Kristen Moore

We’ve been having fun preparing for market’s opening day tomorrow! A bit of rain may put a damper on the day, but working with fresh strawberries and basil is a treat for the senses!

My goal is to share some of the insights I’ve been gaining from personal research and my friend, Cindy. Cindy boasts she watched Julia Child as a little girl growing up in Chicago. She spent time beside her grandfather when he cooked and still cherishes his handwritten recipe book.

Cindy stocks up on fresh produce from the best growers at the peak of quality. She then prepares each vegetable or fruit in the best method, wether canning for jam, blanching and freezing for broccoli and beans or…? She is so knowledgable in regards to food preparation and preservation, that her family thrives and it is a fascinating learning experience to discover her processes.

Working in restaurants myself, but in the front of house-F.O.H., I have developed a keen palette without the culinary skills to produce consistently at home.

Using fresh ingredients for multiple dishes is an art in itself to me! Strawberries are an important food in upstate NY, so I’ve thought up four recipes for the quart of strawberries I purchased.

After photographing these beauties, I hulled the strawberries and rinsed them in a colander. At the height of freshness, tender care is necessary. After drying half of the berries, I lined a tray with parchment paper and placed the berries in rows. These berries went into the freezer to save, while the remaining berries were cut up for salad and shortcake.

While preparing the strawberries for use and for storage, I dreamt up a salad that I can’t wait to try! Tasty accompaniments and just the right beverage came to mind. Dessert too. Of course, that will have to be strawberry shortcake! Our strawberries are cut up nicely and chilling, ready to top shortbread biscuits from the local grocery store’s bakery! A BOGO deal on biscuits, meant 6 biscuits went into 2 freezer bags and into our large freezer.

Basil butter pats were a delicious treat I enjoyed last year for a week or so. Another friend and I got together specifically to process fresh basil for each of our households. We cleaned, dried and finely chopped the basil, mixing it into melted butter; some of the batches also had fresh garlic. These supplies did not last long in my house as I wanted to use the trifecta of basil, garlic and butter in everything!

Striking out on my own, I made a batch of basil butter this week; with basil I’ve been growing. Baked potatoes were timed to finish just before the basil butter was ready, allowing an incredible garnish for dinner and some prepared ingredients stored in the freezer. Portions of ingredients need to be researched, as this turned out to be a micro-batch, only making 6 pats!

Soon, I will be sharing the gourmet summer meal and wine pairing-featuring strawberries. Also, I have a classic strawberry dessert recipe to share from personal family archives. Simple to create, yet delicious and complex; it can impress the most discerning guest.

If you haven’t spotted wild strawberries yet this year there is still time. Their rounded, serrated leaves look romantic; while the vivid color of the berries can catch your eye. Discounted for lack of flavor by some, I found a berry at perfect ripeness and felt the original delight of exploring the same banks as a youth. Mmm.

Spring is Really Here! By Kristen Moore

7 Apr

Raindrops falling down, greening our grass. Birds busy at feeders. Phone ringing with home school groups looking to arrange trips. Kids and moms seeking to learn and serve, signing right up to help add native plants. Comments waiting approval, like: Hi! I planted some strawberries about eight years ago but they did not like the conditions and vanished from the small planted bed. Little did I know, they were making their way stealthily underground and via runners to a flower bed about twenty feet away – and emerged there this spring!! With lovely fruit!!!

A salve to a soul nearly battered by email and messaging. As the waves were to my psyche as they crashed at my favorite place. Too busy to visit, too busy to feel the calm of this land and the invitation to explore and linger.

We look to June 17 and 18th for the Ithaca Reggae Fest! Beyond often tedious planning, we radiate happiness that such a team has gathered to create a conscious celebration of Cayuga Lake. Information about various happenings will begin to be shared as festival time nears. How might you celebrate Cayuga Lake? Will it be through dance, observation, food, environmental education, art or yoga? We’re so glad to hear from people who already have their tickets and are stoked to attend! How might this goodness ripple out? It is a grand question to ponder. In the meantime, we try to see who flies or crawls beside us. Let our breath fill our bellies and our dreams our minds.

Busy Summer for Moore Dirty Boots!

8 Jun

During quarantine, I created the acronym L.O.V.E. for Lake Ontario’s Valued Ecosystems and launched Moore Dirty Boots, LLC. Our media and adventure education is now complemented with our Sustainability Innovation Department! I’m developing an illustrated sustainability guide and working with a fantastic team of marketing professionals, artists and graphic designers. Projects are in the works within each category and there will be feature articles and media.

Saturday, June 12 I will be cleaning a stream with Girl Scouts to support the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network with an “Embrace the Lake” event. We will continue south to Treman Marina on Cayuga Lake’s southern end to board The Teal, Discover Cayuga Lake’s research cruise vessel and Floating Classroom. After our seminar we will head back north for a stop at Cayuga Creamery to celebrate our day caring for and learning about Cayuga Lake.

Working with students to improve the watershed and share information presented in W.O.W.!, Women On Water is a great honor! W.O.W.! is a series I created for Audubon NY that may gain new life, even being presented in a Sunset Cruise later this summer upon the Discover Cayuga Lake boat.

This Thursday, I am registered for a writing workshop with Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass! As this book affected me profoundly, I’m thrilled to be attending! I’m so glad to be able to include her perspectives and insight-within my limited understanding, in my work. Reading about the author discovering and assessing wild strawberries as they ripened, was a retelling of my own memories. It was also a red maple which I swung from and read within. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s call to experience and nurture our surroundings, led me to incorporate celebration as a major component of outreach. In addition to energy, transport, food and waste; outreach is a fifth pathway for sustainability. Service, education and celebration can transform relationships among people and the relationships with our physical surroundings. I’m so eager to hear from this inspiring author and scientist!

August 14, I’m hosting Love Your Greats Day with a series of events on Lake Ontario, including a Butterfly Walk at 11 am at Alasa Farms/Cracker box Palace. Lunkenheimer’s Craft Brewing Co. is located right on the way to Chimney Bluffs where we will reconvene after lunch. East of NYS Park Chimney Bluffs, we will clean the beach at the NYS DEC Wildlife Management Area. The beach side forest is lined in fine pebbles and sand, as well as trash. We will improve and enjoy this space together. Susan Gateley will celebrate the release of “Natural History of Lake Ontario” on Arcadia Press, with a sunset bluffs/beach walk. Please mark your calendars and join in this special day however you can!

It seems butterfly season has begun, with milkweed popping up and casual walk & talks with little ones. My ten year old friend scored high marks when he told me viceroys pretend to be monarchs to be safe from predators.

I’ll be reading about butterflies at Sodus and Port Byron libraries, hopefully with caterpillars, chrysalis or butterflies in nursery!

September 12, Karen Haas of Bayview Wellness Center and I will co-lead a yoga hike at Sterling Nature Center. Our yoga hikes here were AWESOME, so I’m so glad we are co-hosting this yoga hike again. Donations to the Sterling Nature Center are encouraged!

These are the major highlights on the schedule thus far. Who knows what might be next? I look forward to seeing work along the pathways for sustainability. We all can do better, together!

Happy New Year! 2021, Here We Come!

31 Dec

Hello, everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t spent time writing here. I will, I promise.

I’ve talked to more friends and family today than all year long! How I miss you!

January 28 at 8 pm, I will be leading a snowshoe excursion for Audubon NY at the Owasco Flats Nature Reserve in Moravia, NY. I’m excited to help launch this non-profits educational programming in such a neat area. The president of “The Flats” and I will be spending some more time in the reserve this month, in preparation for our walk/snowshoe. Recently cleared trails, now allow visitors to walk from the northern kiosk off Fire Lane Rd. to the southern kiosk on Route 38. I’m hoping my friends who live nearby will be able to join us for this neat celebration.

I’ll be writing more about “The Flats”, the history of the land, the geography of the local hills and complexity of the watershed.

A bit far from my beloved lakeshore of Ontario, I do plan to spend more time concentrating on my home territory. The enormity of the lake can overwhelm with immensity of peace, beauty, ferocity, adventure and a sense of boundlessness. I suppose I need to tell this story more vividly as the pandemic limits our ability to lead in-person events. I do hope to host some events with all COVID precautions in place. I love to talk about the bluff mud! Not to be confused with ordinary mud, this can be reddish orange due to a high quantity of sandstone. If you haven’t hiked bluffs, peered out over the seemingly endless lake and marveled at our lake rocks-you are really missing out! “Mud and Wine” sounds divine, we’ll explore our glacial history, observe, discover and enjoy.

I realized I quit taking pictures a few years back that don’t tell a story for work. I’m trying to capture more fun, beautiful images. To work on my writing and photography and to get out there for fun! The “Hit the Trails Passport” from Wegmans has been getting me to different places. Though, I’ve stayed within 60 miles of my home since March, the hike I discovered today was interesting in many different ways. A first visit can captivate in ways a frequently visited place might not.

Pictures and much Moore in 2021! If you would like me to reserve a space for you January 28, please let me know as the month unfolds. Space is limited and we will be social distancing-quite bundled up too, I’m sure.

CHEERS!

Zora Neale Hurston and “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

25 Aug

It is fair to say I began a love affair with Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God long ago.  A wise teacher included this book in my Syracuse University Women’s Studies Reading and Writing Course. Like Janie, I stared up into the magnolia tree, intoxicated with their scent and full of dreams.

Published in 1937, long after Ms. Hurston had written her novel seen through the eyes of Janie, a young black woman in the southern United States. At first, the conversational dialect was impenetrable. As a class, we studied the book carefully.

Many readings later, Janie feels like a friend-or myself.

Ms. Hurston crafts a story with the focus upon the protagonist’s feelings. As life events affect her perspective, she learns to adapt and develop. She yearns for life and she lives it!

Ms. Hurston was also an anthropologist, collecting folklore around the South that may otherwise have vanished; authoring “Mules and Men” published in 1935.

Recently, I read how educators pursued publication of her works in the 60s as they were largely out of print. (Random House)

I’ve had conversations with others in the language of events from “Their Eyes.”  Janie’s specific feelings are intimately real.

One summer’s eve as I looked over a full bookcase, I noticed two copies of “Their Eyes.” I decided I should share and send a copy to my niece, Reagan. She was assigned it in school the next week!

The USPS honored Ms. Hurston with a beautiful stamp. I’m happy to have a sheet of these stamps tucked away. A postcard of Zora Neale Hurston beams from a frame in my living room.

Gathering my thoughts about “Their Eyes” and my evolving relationship with the work, as well as researching Ms. Hurston more, led me to her official website! Find it here to discover resources for teachers working with this book and others of this legend.

Read more about Ms. Hurston on her official site.  The more I learn about her, the more fascinated I become!

 

 

Roots of the Adventures

14 Aug

Books, dogs and the outdoors have always been central to my happiness. If all three are present, that is superb but two of the three is excellent as well. I’ve chosen to concentrate on environmental stewardship and conservation in this blog but the adventures have greater depth.

Clean water for my dog, Organic led me to learn about threats from hydrofracking. HABs (hydral algal blooms) are a more recent concern, threatening human health and our pets. I began organizing and leading beach cleanups, participating and coordinating water chestnut pulls. The Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and Williams Smith trained me as a watercraft steward and I worked at our boat launches. I’ve learned about and supported the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Discover Cayuga Lake and Mission eXXpedition’s Great Lakes 2016 project.

Now, a bright and cheerful book called “Where Does Your Water Shed?” captured my attention at the Montezuma Audubon Center. Published by the National Association of Conservation Districts, I’m planning to create a video with the story read aloud while near/on or in water. I’m excited to see which partners join me in this project!

My dog’s health is always a priority to me. I wonder when there may be HABs and if/how they can be avoided. I’m immensely hopeful for water quality in our area after attending the 2020 Finger Lakes Research Conference at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in January. Though the threats are enormous and persistent, over 200 dedicated professionals came together to share research at this most impressive occasion.

I’ve begun sharing insights from my bookcase and hope to learn more from our community on keeping our pets safe.

Dogs, books and the outdoors make for great adventures (with clean water!)!

L.O.V.E. = LAKE ONTARIO’S VALUED ECOSYSTEMS

14 Jun

L.O.V.E. = LAKE ONTARIO’S VALUED ECOSYSTEMS.

BY KRISTEN MOORE

Sun shines over Lake Ontario from Scott's Bluffs

A sunny afternoon glimmers from the eastern edge of Scott’s Bluffs.

When winter seemed like it would never end, this acronym came to me. Clean water has always been important to me, especially growing up beside Lake Ontario.

The lands along Lake Ontario’s southern shore are abundant with wildlife ranging from Bald Eagles, Ospreys and Great Blue Herons to turtles, trout and trillium. As an adventure educator, I hope experiential learning will captivate people and foster healthy behaviors including outdoor exercise, recreation and stewardship.

The Red Creek Marsh Unit is an area I’ve enjoyed exploring for years. Reading books in the shade of tall oaks, kayaking, picnicking, clearing litter and invasive species; I know it well. Mute swans and Canada geese rely upon these waters, as do turtles, beavers, raptors and others.

Still marsh waters foster huge reflection of sky and greenery

Still waters create a mirror of the sky, with a single lily pad showing off in the foreground.

Sunlight and white, puffy clouds reflect upon a marsh's waters beside the nose of a green kayak

White, puffy clouds and sunshine reflect from the waters of the Red Creek Marsh Unit.

Water chestnut is due to grow in here soon. Hydra algal blooms have been a problem in the past. Poison oak here has harmed me, along with wild parsnip? This wild area is a treasure to marvel and care for.

Sodus Bay, with Chimney Bluffs to the east and Crackerbox Palace/Alasa Farms to the south; the bay and lake have defined life in this area for quite a long time! Historic Huron and the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum both have artifacts and information about our local families and culture that demonstrate great richness of people and environment.

A black horse named "Double" looks over the fence at the photographer.

“Double” looks at the camera, perhaps wondering if baby carrots are to be enjoyed today.

Stone Bench and View at Alasa Farms

This stone bench sits beside the eastern pastures at Alasa Farms. An animal sanctuary and Genesee Land Trust property, Cracker Box Palace is a gift to many species.

What can we do for L.O.V.E.? We can participate in invasive species removal events. We can clean spaces of litter, take pictures & video-while posting on social media. We can conduct watershed education with events like kayaking with local historians and conservation leaders. We can explore the geology of our beaches and bluffs, igniting people to learn about our glacial history and earth sciences. We can help Randy maintain trails at Crackerbox Palace/Alasa Farms. We can raise pints from Lunkenheimer’s to support the Genesee Land Trust and Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum!

These spaces thrill me with their variety, rhythms and life. To me they are L.O.V.E., Lake Ontario’s Valued Ecosystems.