A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Monarch butterfly conservation’ Category

1267. The air is different today; the wind sings with a new tone sighing of changes coming as barbarous summer dies… ~Edited and adapted line by Rhawk


Our amazing Monarchs are migrating to Mexico. Only spotted four here at The Farmstead in Central Maine this July and August. October’s calling, “Collect those milkweed pods. Save the seeds to plant and feed next year’s amazing Monarchs.” ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Sacred Touches

“I grow old, I grow old,”
the garden says.
It’s nearly October.
~Robert Finch

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The gentian’s bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes’ sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days were here…
~Adapted part of a poem
by Helen Hunt Jackson

All things must come to an end and I can’t say I’m sorry to see summer finally go! We’ve had some lovely cool mornings of late and warm, honeyed afternoons, not hot but warm, and that is such a relief! I pray that as we welcome October tomorrow, this is the way we’ll continue be blessed in the coming days. And…

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SENSATIONAL SUMMER: A Monarch Butterfly Poem by Bette A. Stevens


Illustrations for Sensational Summer are from Bette's award-winning children's picure book, AMAZING MATILDA.

Illustrations for the poem “Sensational Summer” are from Bette’s award-winning children’s picture book, AMAZING MATILDA.

Much like a Monarch butterfly, the summer is quickly flying past us here at The Farmstead in Central Maine. In fact, it won’t be long before these amazing butterflies begin their great southern migration to Mexico, where they’ll aggregate (cluster in dense tree cover) to keep warm, enabling this generation of monarchs to winter over before they mate and begin the next generation’s migration north for the 2017 season.  Matilda (a Monarch butterfly and the main character in my picture book AMAZING MATILDA) and I wish you and yours a sensational summer! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator 

We invite you to take a look inside AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch’s Tale and check out other books by Bette A. Stevens

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Milkweed – It’s Not Just for Monarchs


GOT MILKWEED? Monarch butterflies and other amazing pollinators need it and we need them! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

The Natural Web

One of the most well knownassociations between an animal and plant species is the relationship between Monarch butterflies and Milkweed. Monarch butterflies may certainly be seen nectaringat various species of milkweeds…

Monarch nectaring on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) Monarch nectaringon Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Monarch nectaring on Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) Monarch nectaringon Butterflyweed(Asclepias tuberosa)

Monarch nectaring on Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) Monarch nectaringon Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

but this isn’t unique – they also drink at a wide variety of other flower species.

Monarch nectaring on New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) Monarch nectaringon New York Ironweed(Vernonianoveboracensis)

It’s the dependency that Monarchs have on Milkweedsas the only food source for their caterpillars that makes this relationship so noteworthy. Monarchs, like many species of insects, have evolved to specialize in their larval (in this case caterpillar) food source in order togain protection from predators through the chemicals they ingest from the plants they eat. Milkweedscontain cardiac glycosides, which are toxic to many species of birds and mammals. Plants have evolved these chemicals to protect themselves from being eaten, a strategy…

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A child is…


“Protect them, encourage them, love them… Children are like butterflies!” ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Sacred Touches

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**Watercolor image found on Pinterest; text box added by Natalie

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!


MOTHERS DAY 2016 Butterfly basWishing everyone a Happy & Blessed Mother’s Day.
~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

Author Bio

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens’s children’s book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO! was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012.  AMAZING MATILDA , Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England in a family whose poverty and alcoholism mark him as a target for bullying by young and old alike. This short story is a prequel to Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP released January 2015.

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Award-winning Monarch Butterfly Book only 99¢ thru April 26th—AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens


Celebrate Earth Month 

April is Earth Month. It’s a perfect time to celebrate with a copy of AMAZING MATILDA by Maine author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens’s award-winning children’s picture book for ONLY 99¢ through APRIL 26. Download this “Gem of a tale” at YOUR AMAZON today http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Matilda-ebook/dp/B00AU9ZISA/

AM EARTH MONTH 2 promo 99¢ Apr 20-26Words from a reviewer

“I immediately fell in love with Matilda, an amazing, sweet, curious character. What a lovely story with a subtle and yet deep and understandable message for young (and those who are not so young ) readers. This book is one of “must have” books in your library. I already purchased a Kindle version for myself and I ordered two more copies in print for my library.” ~ Vida Zuljevic

Already have your copy?

Matilda says “It would be great if you would share this post with your friends so that kids everywhere can find out about the life lessons my book has in store for readers ages 5-11. Kids will learn important lessons about the value of patience, persistence and friendship as they read Matilda’s amazing adventure again and again. Grownups love Matilda too!”

MATILDA for New Cover 2015About Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly conservation is in the news. AMAZING MATILDA is too! Her story line and illustrations follow the monarch life cycle and highlight milkweed, an environmentally threatened plant and a critical food source for monarch caterpillars.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Matilda doesn’t want to leap onto ledges or bound across fields. She only wants to fly. “How can a creature without wings every hope to fly?” Matilda’s friends wonder as they laugh at the tiny caterpillar who only wants to fly. Meanwhile, as Matilda munches and crunches on milkweed leaves and progresses from egg to butterfly, her friends begin to recall how they felt before they were able to do all of the things they had dreamed of doing. With a little help from her friends, Matilda learns that if she keeps trying, she can do anything that she really wants to do.

LITERARY AWARDSExcellence in Children’s Literature:

  • 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Picture Books 6+)
  • THE GITTLE LIST 2013 (Top 10 Self-published Children’s Picture Books)

AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch’s Tale by Bette A. Stevens is available in print ($9.49) and eBook ($3.99) versions
Grab a copy of the eBook (Don’t forget to tell your friends) and Celebrate Earth Day with the kids while this award-winning picture book is ONLY 99 CENTS April 20-26 at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Matilda-ebook/dp/B00AU9ZISA…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Inspired by human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle  school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies-an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource  incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a captivating Boomer’s coming of age novel.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Threats to Monarch Butterflies and How We Can Help


Monarch butterflies—find out more about these amazing pollinators! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator and advocate for Monarch butterflies http://www.4writersandreaders.com

La Paz Group

A Monarch butterfly caterpillar feeding on the leaves of a milkweed plant. Photographed at the Grapevine Botanical Gardens. Photo © TexasEagle/Flickr through a Creative Commons license, via TNC

We’ve covered monarch butterflies plenty of times in the past, whether it was reporting survey results showing that many households in the US would pay to help create habitat for the species, showcasing a citizen science project by the Xerces Society to count the winged invertebrates during their migration, or simply highlighting the needs of the orange butterfly in general and how to become involved. Now, given increased media coverage of the Monarch, the Cool Green Science blog for The Nature Conservancy is summarizing hazards and helpers of the species:

Twenty years ago, monarch butterflies occupied so much area in Mexico during the winter you could see it from space. It totaled about 20 hectares, or almost 50 acres, with…

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