Tag Archives: Butterflies

Thank you to Our Sweet Friend and GMG Contributor Catherine Ryan

I met Catherine initially through my work designing the HarborWalk gardens as she was very much involved with making the wonderful granite story markers placed throughout the HarborWalk (she also had a hand in many aspects of the HarborWalk’s creation). Catherine is a regular contributor to Good Morning Gloucester and her posts most often feature the work of Gloucester artists, along with covering a wide range of art and cultural related events.

I am so appreciative of our friendship, and also want to highlight some of the valuable volunteer pro bono work she does as the Mayor’s Representative on Gloucester’s Committee for the Arts. In that capacity, she works with the steering committee for the Gloucester Harbortown Cultural District,  provides on-going expertise for the Gloucester HarborWalk, and works on countless other statewide and New England regional outreach projects, coordinating with many cultural districts beyond our own.

As you may or may not be aware, Catherine created the interactive Google map with over 100 sites and images by Edward Hopper from his many visits to Gloucester: See Edward Hopper All Around Gloucester here.

image001Gloucester to Berkshires Map by Catherine Ryan. Click to view larger.

I was so touched by Catherine that she made the above map for my participation in the Berkshire Museum’s exhibit “Butterflies” and for my upcoming film screenings there. On Friday I learned that the Museum has scheduled a showing of Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly to air on Sunday, July 13th. We are planning additional activities around the event and I will keep you posted. So many thanks to Catherine for making this helpful map and providing a handy visual for GMG readers planning to make the trek out to Pittsfield and the Berkshires. 

Catherine writes ~

“I am SO HAPPY for you! Here’s a visual map to Western MA and proximity of some of the major Berkshire art & cultural highlights including 5 nearby Cultural Districts.

Gloucester to Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA 169 miles
Berkshire Museum to Mass MoCA 35 miles
Berkshire Museum to newly re-opened Clark 31 miles
Berkshire Museum to Tanglewood 14 minutes
Berkshire Museum to Amherst (many museums in this area, too) approx. 1 hour and twenty minutes

*Gloucester has 2 Cultural Districts and Pittsfield has one also. There are 4 other cultural districts in western MA (3 are within the Amherst vicinity): Springfield, Northampton, Easthampton + Shelburne.”

FOB Ann Kennedy Shares a Beautiful Vintage Photo

My beautiful pictureAnn Kennedy writes:

Hi Kim,

I’ve been looking at old slides and the one attached reminds me of your wonderful work. Bob took this photo of me peering through the butterfly panel at the Museum of Natural History in London, 1971. And although we’d much rather see butterflies in the wild, this display was quite memorable.

Hope you’re having a great summer with lots of successful planting and growing, documenting and filming! As always, we enjoy your GMG and G+ posts.

Best wishes,

Ann Kennedy

Thank you so much for sending Ann–what a neat vintage photo!

Ginormous Moth and Live Butterflies at the Berkshire Museum!

In the above Vine from the Berkshire Museum exhibit “Butterflies,” you can catch a glimpse of the ginormous Attacus atlas, the world’s largest moth. Atlas Moths are found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia and are common across the Malay archipelago. The female Atlas Moth, which is appreciably larger than the male, may have a wingspan of up to ten inches-imagine, nearly a foot! Attacus atlas is a member of the Saturn Family of moths, as are the North American Luna and Cecropia Moths. For comparison sake, our gorgeous Cecropia Moth has a wingspan of up to six inches.

Attacus atlas1280px-Atlas_Seidenspinne_Park_Uslar_5Images courtesy of wikicommons

Butterflies! at the Berkshire Museum

Paul Villinski Arcus ©Kim Smith 2014Detail of Paul Villinski’s “Arcus,” made from recycled cans

Berkshire Museum ©Kim Smith 2014 Sam JaffeMy friend Sam Jaffe talking about caterpillars.

Friday night I had the joy to attend the fabulous new exhibit at the Berkshire Museum titled “Butterflies!” The galleries are filled with hands on art and science activities, contemporary butterfly sculpture, artifacts from the museum’s collections, live caterpillars, and mixed media of photography and film, including an audio track from Dr. Lincoln Brower discussing what happens within a chrysalis. And, as part of the exhibit, one of the galleries houses a large butterfly pavilion with over 200 live tropical butterflies from around the world!

Blue Morpho Butterfly ©Kim Smith 2014Underwings of the Blue Morpho Butterfly from the live butterfly pavillion. 

“Butterflies” was curated by Maria Mingalone, the museum’s director of interpretation, and she deftly and beautifully combines science, art, and nature in an exhibit that is sure to inspire and delight the very youngest to the most senior of citizens, and every age in between! Butterflies Berkshire Museum ©Kim Smith 2014  copy The opening was very joyful and buoyant—I most certainly felt that way and, judging from the expressions on visitor’s faces, wasn’t alone. I am convinced that butterflies bring out the happy in people! Kim Smith film Berkshire Museum Butterflies ©Kim Smith 2014JPG The audience for my short film “Flight of the Monarchs”—I watched as many people watched my film many times over, despite the case that because the galleries were so crowded you couldn’t hear the beautiful music. I think there were several thousand people at the event.

The music that I set my film to is “Fields of Blue,” written  and performed by Jesse Cook. I wrote the artist and sent him a copy of my film and the most amazing thing happened where, within only the few day whirlwind to create this little film, we were granted permission to use his song!!!!!!!!

My film opens with a clip of a Monarch flying in front of Eastern Point Lighthouse (you can see our Lighthouse in the above photo). Most of the footage that I used for the movie was of butterflies in flight, shot on Cape Ann, and the audience was stunned at how beautiful the migration is through Gloucester. That opening clip of the Lighthouse and the Monarch took several days to capture the exact shot that I wanted. Butterflies don’t take direction! Berkshire Museum ©Kim Smith 2014 -2Berkshire Museum Kim Smith 2014 1JPGSome of my photos were used to illustrate Dr. Brower’s audio recording explaining what happens inside a chyrsalis

 Sam Jaffe Kathy©Kim Smith 2014 copySam and his fiance Kathy, also a graduate student in environmental studies.

Berkshire Museum © Kim Smith 2014JPG

If you have never been to the Berkshire Museum, their website description reads as follows: “The Berkshire Museum offers a unique array of exhibitions, activities, and attractions for visitors of all ages. From fine art and ancient objects to fossils; from an aquarium of native and exotic creatures to the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, we are your community museum: a place where everyone, from toddlers to elders, can learn, play, explore, innovate, be engaged and inspired.”

I arrived early, before “Butterflies” opened its door, and explored the galleries. It’s really a very engaging museum and especially while the exhibit is running, would be a wonderfully fun and interesting day trip with children.

Sam Jaffe ©Kim Smith 2014Sam Jaffe making final adjustments to the chrysalis and cocoon display. To see some of Sam’s stunning photography, click on his website here: Sam Jaffee

Olive Ridley skeleton ©Kim Smith 2014Olive Ridley Skeleton at the Berkshire Museum

See more photos from the Berkshire Museum galleries Read more

Exciting New Film Assignment for the Berkshire Museum and Milkweed Seed Mailing Update

Dear Friends,

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I hope today finds you with friends and family and enjoying beautiful weather!

I have wonderful news to share about an upcoming exhibit at the Berkshire Museum in which I have been hired to create a film about butterflies in flight. The title of the exhibit is, what else—Butterflies! They have also purchased 26 of my butterfly photographs. Additionally, during the exhibit, my interview film with Tom Emmel will be running on a continuous loop, as will the new short film about butterflies in flight. And best of all, screenings of my full-length Black Swallowtail film and Monarch film will be shown during meet the filmmaker events. This is a fantastic educational project, with a 5,000 square foot exhibit space, which will also house live butterflies. It’s a truly hands-on exhibit, designed with children and adults in mind!

“Butterflies” is scheduled to run through August and will most probably be extended though September. I am attending the opening this coming Friday, May 30th and will take photos and bring you more information about the Berkshire Museum and the exhibit.

Our Cape Ann Milkweed Project went without a hitch and was lots of fun. Most picked up their seeds and if you sent a self-addressed stamped envelope, your package is ready to mail Tuesday morning. So many thanks to Joey for sponsoring the Cape Ann Milkweed Project at Captain Joe and Sons. Thank you so much to everyone that participated, and most importantly, the Monarchs (and myriad other species of pollinators) thank you!!!

Happy Spring Planting!

DSCF3768Monarch Butterfly and Hellenium

How Attracting Wild Bees and Butterflies to Farms Can Save Farmers Money

Bee Pollinating Squash Blossom ©Kim smith 2013Well written and interesting article from author Richard Conniff ~

“Luring local pollinators to farms can pay for itself in four short years, according to a new study.

Right now in Washington and Oregon, 380,000 honeybee hives are at work pollinating cherry, pear, and apple orchards. Last month, a million hives—three-quarters of the nation’s entire stock of commercial honeybees—were pollinating almonds in the Central Valley of California. Pollination by insects is an essential service, necessary for 71 percent of the top 100 crops worldwide. But it has also become alarmingly expensive and uncertain, as colony collapse disorder and other problems have doubled or tripled the cost of renting honeybee hives.

Why not let native pollinators do the same work for free?

That might be a good idea, except that populations of wild pollinators have also collapsed, largely because intensive agriculture has eaten up huge swaths of former habitat, with no end in sight. When researchers in Utah and Illinois recently looked at four North American bumblebee species, they found that their geographic range had shrunk by as much as 87 percent, and their population by as much as 96 percent, with a significant share of the loss having occurred within the past 20 years.

The developing concern over a different kind of national security—pollinator security—recently led the White House for the first time to include a pollinator garden in its plantings, with the aim of supporting bees and monarch butterflies and drawing attention to their crucial role in food production. A group called Make Way for Monarchs is lobbying for large-scale federal action ahead of National Pollinator Week in June. (It has also called on Americans to “join us in a day of action and contemplation for imperiled pollinators” today.)

Of potentially more lasting impact is that some farmers have begun to ask whether introducing flower strips, hedgerows, and other forms of habitat in the margins of their farms might bring back wild pollinators—and ensure that their crops will get the pollen they need to bear fruit. A new study in the Journal of Applied Ecology adds to the growing evidence that it can work.”

Read the complete article here.

Rainbows and Butterflies and Unicorns, Oh My

I was thinking, instead of the rubber duck race for charity maybe we could instead get together and make rainbow cakes.

I found this wonderful pinterest board that specializes in todays wonderful kinder gentler Good Morning Gloucester Theme-

Rainbows and Butterflies and Unicorns, Oh My

Check out this wonderful wonderful pinterest board-

image

So wonderful.  I love rainbows.  They make me happy.

The Latest From Kim Smith- Butterflies of Massachusetts

I wanted to share with you a fabulous new resource—the Butterflies of Massachusetts website. Created by Sharon Stichter, Butterflies of Massachusetts “offers a comprehensive review of the current status of butterflies in the state. It is designed as a resource for all those interested in these charismatic insects, including butterfly enthusiasts, conservationists, biologists, land managers, and wildlife professionals.”  I find the Species List particularly useful for learning more about the earliest recorded sightings of Massachusetts’s butterflies, frequency and distribution, and caterpillar hostplants. My readers residing outside of Massachusetts but along the East Coast will find the information on the Butterflies of Massachusetts website nearly equally as valuable. Ecologically speaking, the Appalachian Mountains and Atlantic coastal plain are largely self-contained, allowing unrestricted north-south movement of individual butterflies and migratory populations. The information found on the new Butterflies of Massachusetts website represents many years of data compiled by Sharon Stichter and the Massachusetts Butterfly Club.

Check Out Kim’s Blog Here For The Full Post

Chickity Check It! Kim Smith Updates With The Great Spangled Fritillary

Dear Gardening Friends,

Events and projects have kept me from writing these past few weeks. Design work and the start of the new school year have played a part, however, what has really kept me away is that I am working like mad to complete the Monarch book illustrations. The glorious weather and warmth, light and air have exhilarated and inspired (along with the caterpillars and butterflies that have taken over our kitchen!). With writing and photographing, I can work around design projects and my family’s schedule, but with painting I need long stretches of time. As soon as the illustrations are completed i will turn my full attention to the tv show. I take breaks from painting at around the peak time of day when the pollinators are on the wing and have been gathering tons and tons of footage.

Renovating our little apartment has kept me away as well. Our wonderful tenant of ten years purchased her own home and moved out this past month. Ten years is a long time and we miss her terribly. My husband and i have been scouring and scrubbing and painting, and with several fresh coats, the place is sparkling. The apartment is charming and sunny, with hardwood floors, private entrance through the garden, and would make a great artist’s or writer’s studio, office space, pied-à-terre, or modest home. It is within walking distance of Good Harbor Beach, Niles Beach, Rocky Neck, Gloucester Stage Company, and several fabulous restaurants (Duckworth’s Bistro!). Please pass along this information if you know of an interested person.

Great Spangleds are on the wing at this time of year. They adore fresh blossoms of butterfly bushes. With this year’s drought I realize it has been particularly difficult, but try to keep your butterfly bushes well-hydrated so that they will continue to produce new blossoms during the remaining weeks of late summer, while there are still myriad species of pollinators needing fortification. Additional photos of Great Spangled Fritillaries and Monarchs are on the blog at www.kimsmithdesigns.wordpress.com.

Warmest wishes,

Kim

Welcome Oh Great Spangled Fritillary!

image

Singularly beautiful—large and rounded with tawny orange wings checkered with black dots and dashes—when observed from above. When wings are folded, this fritillary shows a striking underwing pattern of spangled spots, bordered by a wide yellow band and outlined in iridescent crescents. Perhaps the Great Spangled Fritillary has graced your garden. I had never encountered this creature of extraordinary beauty until the summer after we planted violets dug from a wildly unkempt cemetery. They were common violets (Viola sororia). I don’t recommend the common violet for a small garden, unless you desire a garden composed entirely of common violets. Please don’t misunderstand; I do not regret planting V. sororia because otherwise I may never have encountered the Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele). No, I am glad to have welcomed this beauty to our garden. There are, however, far better behaved violets that are of equal importance to the fritillary caterpillars and they would be a far better choice for the garden. Both native wildflowers Labrador violet (Viola labradorica) and Canada violet (Viola canadensis) naturalize readily, making rulier groundcovers than common violets, and are lovely when in bloom and when not in flower.

For the Rest Of Kim’s Post Including Her Fantastic Butterfly Photos Click Here!

Red-spotted Admiral Butterflies

Kim Smith Writes In-

Kim Smith must have the patience of an angel because her butterfly photos are astounding and beautiful.

She writes and has many more pictures of the current butterflies chilling in her garden at her blog- http://kimsmithdesigns.wordpress.com/

Here is just a sample- Red-spotted Purple (Ventral)

The average wingspan of the Red-spotted Admiral is approximately three inches. The White Admiral has a distinctive wide white band on both the forward and hind wings, and on both the dorsal (upperwing) and ventral (underwing) surface. In the Red-spotted Purple, the white band is replaced with a band of iridescent lapis lazuli blue scales. It has evolved to mimic the highly distasteful Pipevine Swallowtail. Red-spotted Purples are found in greater numbers than White Admirals in the eastern part of Massachusetts. The opposite holds true for the western part of the state.

Purportedly, Red-spotted Purples are seen feeding primarily on rotting fruit, sap, and dung— infrequently at flowers—however, I see them nectaring often, and for long periods of time, at flowers. They are particularly fond of butterfly bushes, meadowsweet, Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and Joe Pye-weed.

Hostplants for the Red-spotted Admirals are extremely varied. Both races use cherries, including Chokecherry (Prunus virginiaina), Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), Pin Cherry (Prunus pennsylvanica), plum (Prunus), apple (Malus), poplars, cottonwood, aspens, willows (Salix), birches, (Betula), hawthorn (Cratageous), basswood (Tilia), Deerberry (Vaccinium stamineum), and serviceberry (Amelanchier). The female oviposits a single egg on the upper surface at the tip of a fresh hostplant leaf. Our postage-tamp of a garden is much too small for the aforementioned larger trees, and too shady to grow healthy Prunus and Malus, so I am experimenting with a multi-stemmed Shadbush (Amelanchier canadensis), which I plan to keep pruned to a manageable shrub-size.

Here is one of her videos

Be sure to check out Cape Ann TV where Kim will be appearing on the Cape Ann Report with Heidi Dallin on Wednesday, August 4th at 6:00 pm to talk about her garden and design firm.

Swatting Imaginary Butterflies

The Bean had her first Swatting at Imaginary Butterflies lesson yesterday.

I’d call it a tennis lesson but she probably inadvertantly hit more imaginary butterflies than tennis balls.

I call ‘em like I see ‘em.  Hopefully I’ll never be one of those parents that walks away from something like that and tell all my friends and relatives how my children are really advanced for their age.

I like to joke with people that my girls are 150th percentile at stuff and then look for the reactions as they try to figure out what that means.

Like after a doctors visit my mom will ask how it went and I’ll tell her that the Bean is 150th percentile for math reasoning.   I’m not sure if she knows if I’m kidding or not, but it’s really just a jab at all those obnoxious parents that blabber on and on about their average children as if they were superstars.