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There is another aspect of life on the land; while working in forest or garden a man has time for meditation and indeed his very act is devotion. He becomes in tune with the Infinite. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker
Black swallowtail on wild bergamot
Species at risk: Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo) butterfly depends on buckwheat host plant.
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) photo credit William Warby
“Entomology extends the limits of being in new directions, so that I walk in nature with a sense of greater space and freedom. It suggests, besides, that the universe is not rough-hewn, but perfect in its details. Nature will bear the closest inspection; she invites us to lay our eye level with the smallest leaf and take an insect view of its plane.”—Henry David Thoreau.
In popular esteem the butterflies among the insects are what the birds are among the higher animals—the most attractive and beautiful members of the great group to which they belong. Entomology happens to be the branch of zoology focussing on the study of insects. Butterflies are primarily day fliers (diurnal) and remarkable for the delicacy and beauty of their membranous wings, covered with myriads of tiny scales that overlap one another like the shingles on a house and show an infinite variety of hue through the coloring of the scales and their arrangement upon the translucent membrane running between the wing veins. It is this characteristic structure of the wings that gives to the great order of butterflies and moths its name “Lepidoptera”, meaning scale-winged.
Ronald R. Hooper states that 160 species of butterflies are known in Saskatchewan, in families known as skippers, swallowtails, whites, sulphurs, marbles, hairstreaks, harvester, metalmarks, brushfooted butterflies, meadow browns, and coppers (see bibliography for scientific nomenclature). Every fall the Monarchs journey from Canada to California or Mexico, and they return to Canada in the spring. During this migration phone Nature Saskatchewan’s toll-free line at 1-800-667-HOOT (4668) to report any Monarch Butterfly sightings. When you are out and about this season, keep an ear out, do tell if there is the slightest murmuration when the butterflies migrate past.
And, whereas, the Monarch is known to migrate, this is not the case with all butterflies. Most of the Swallowtails pass the winter as chrysalids while practically all the Angle-wings pass the winter as adults. The Graylings and the Fritillaries are typical examples of butterflies which hibernate as newly hatched larvae. Many species simply find such shelter as they may at or near the soil surface, others may hibernate under boards, stones, or tufts of grass. The Swallowtails, nearly all of which hibernate in the chrysalis stage. Other examples are the various Whites, the Orange-tips, and isolated species like the Wanderer, and the Spring Azure and the American Copper. Now, an adult butterfly seems a fragile creature to endure the long cold months of winter, however many of our most beautiful species habitually hibernate as adults, finding shelter in such situations as hollow trees, the crevices in rocks, the openings beneath loose bark or even the outer bark on the under side of a large branch.
The butterflies furnish the best known examples of insect transformations. The change from the egg to the caterpillar or larva, from the caterpillar to the pupa or chrysalis, and from the chrysalis to the butterfly or imago is doubtless the most generally known fact concerning the life histories of insects. If you do not know the name of the lepidoptera larva, butterfly or moth that you have found, try to take a photograph of it. Identify your sighting at this web site which features an image gallery. If you have a photo of a caterpillar send in information about the plant that the caterpillar was found upon to Butterflies and Moths of North America and help to grow the database.
“The study of butterflies,—creatures selected as the types of airiness and frivolity,—instead of being despised, will some day be valued as one of the most important branches of biological science.”—Bates, Naturalist on the Amazons.
“What hand would crush the silken-wingèd fly,
The youngest of inconstant April’s minions,
Because it cannot climb the purest sky,
Where the swan sings,
amid the sun’s dominions?
Percy Bysshe Shelley.
There is another aspect of life on the land; while working in forest or garden a man has time for meditation and indeed his very act is devotion. He becomes in tune with the Infinite. The miracle of growth and the seasons’ changes induce a sense of wonderment and call forth worship from his inner being and in this sense WORK becomes WORSHIP.~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.
Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)
Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!
I believe in oneness of mankind and of all living things and in the interdependence of each and all. I believe that unless we play fair to the Earth, we cannot exist physically on this planet. Unless we play fair to our neighbour, we cannot exist socially or internationally. Unless we play fair to better self, there is no individuality and no leadership. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker.
“Kind people have been expressing superlatives on my work. But I can assure you that anything which I have been able to achieve has been team work. We have a motto in the Men of the Trees. TWAHAMWE. It is an African word meaning ‘pull together’ and I pass this on to all those concerned with conservation in this country. I would like to call you to silence for a moment with the words of Mathew Arnold:
“Calm soul of all things, make it mine,
To feel amidst the City ‘s jar
That there abides a peace of thine
Men did not make and cannot mar. ”
~Richard St. Barbe Baker