Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home

In the days following my cancer diagnosis I recall a conversation with my husband. “Breast cancer just isn’t my cause,” I told him. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it worthy – of course it was. I’d sponsored friends in the famous 3-day walk, made contributions to Komen and supported a close friend who founded the Arizona Institute for Breast Health. I wore pink bows to honor my best friend, my coworkers, and others but my community involvement leaned in other directions and I wasn’t ready to abandon those due to an unwanted illness. I’m terribly thankful for the thousands who do crusade on behalf of the cure and I’ve enjoyed helping the Wellness Community of Arizona, an organization that was very helpful to me, but whatever the activity, I work hard to make certain that it is well aligned with me and my values.

Community activities are essential to my life and my job. When talking with others, I often meet parents looking for ways to involve their children – trying to model behaviors so they’ll grow up into life of community service but also so that they’ll have a greater appreciation for the blessings that they’ve been given. That can be difficult especially with young children. However a group of scientists in South Dakota is making it easier. It’s called The Lost Ladybug Project and it has important agricultural and environmental implications.

The project began in 2000 and is a quest to return several species of ladybugs from the brink of extinction. A healthy ladybug population helps to keep pests low and that protects many of our major crops such as corn and soybeans – plus it eliminates the need for insecticide. Those ladybugs are a huge tool for organic farmers and those who are committed to sustainable agriculture. The South Dakota lab works in conjunction with researchers from Cornell in order to create optimal ladybug reproduction conditions and then returns those insects to their native areas.

Children and their familites across the US are encouraged to spend time outdoors looking for ladybugs.  Thoses who find ladybugs are asked to enter descriptions and photos at the Project website LostLadyBug.org. To date, more than 1000 children under the age of 14 have participated in this work and it doesn’t matter where you live as ladybugs are found in all 50 states.

With magnifying glass in hand, you and your children or grandchildren can examine the intricacies of a flower garden or a baseball diamond or a wheat field and whether or not you find a ladybug, you’ll see the mysteries and miracles of creation. That’s not a bad thing to notice on Easter.

Easter Slaw
Serves four as a side
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 lb of beets, trimmed but raw
  • 1/3 lb of carrots
  • 1/3 lb of kohlrabi, thick skin removed
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Fresh dill, chopped
  • Few drops of hot sauce
Grate the beets and the carrots. (There’s no need to peel either) Grate the kohlrabi. Toss all of the ingredients together. Eat.
Leave a comment

24 Comments

  1. Your blog is very interesting (: I am sure I will be back again to enjoy some of the stories you share here. I love lady bugs!!

    Reply
  2. fitandfortysomething

     /  April 5, 2010

    what is kohlrabi?
    what a great cause for people to get involved in :)

    Reply
    • From wisegeek: “When is a root vegetable not a root vegetable? When it’s a small bulbous member of the cabbage family called kohlrabi, that’s when. For all intents and purposes, kohlrabi appears to be a root vegetable in the same company as turnips, radishes and rutabagas. However, the bulbous shape of kohlrabi is caused by a swelling of the plant’s stem near the ground. In that sense, kohlrabi is more of a tightly packed version of its cousin, cabbage. In fact, the name kohlrabi is derived from two German words: kohl meaning cabbage and rabi meaning turnip. It is not unusual to hear the term “turnip cabbage” to describe kohlrabi.”

      Reply
  3. I used to love searching for ladybugs in my grandparents’ backyard as a kid, so I love this idea. If only I had kids to encourage to participate in this… but alas, I don’t even have the fella yet :P

    Love the recipe too – hot sauce makes everything taste better, in my humble opinion. :)

    Reply
  4. Sounds like a great cause. I used to work for a natural history and research institution and learned a great deal about the importance of protecting native species. Love both your photographs.

    Reply
  5. Kimball Holt

     /  April 6, 2010

    A delightful blog, Tammy! I can’t wait to visit LostLadyBug.org! The recipe looks flavorful, especially with the hot sauce. I love the word “few”….

    Reply
  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog but I see your ladybug is much better. I am still fiddling with my new camera but I am getting there :D

    BTW, are you related to McLeod’s in MI? My grandmother was a McLeod.

    Reply
  7. This is a wonderful cause, bringing people together, giving kids and anyone really a way to look at the world through the camera while ladybugs are so great in helping organic farming, etc.

    I love ladybugs, and your photos are very nice :)

    You were asking of the Easter eggs on my blog, I replied and provided links. If you have any further questions, just let me know :)

    Keep up the great work with your blog, I really like it!

    Reply
  8. Lisa H

     /  April 6, 2010

    I am going to incorporate the lost lady bug project in my 4-H group.
    My kids love it when I bring home a couple bags of lady bugs for them to release into my garden. It’s a great way to keep them occupied for hours!

    Reply
    • Lisa,
      4-H groups are one of the main ways that the ladybug project has been working through kids. It’s such a natural fit!

      Reply
  9. Love the Ladybug Project! What a great idea! The more we can do to decrease pesticides and make our farming practices more sustainable, the better!

    Reply
  10. Love the blog, love the ladybugs. I am glad you are a survivor. You have some great posts here – I will be reading them over when I dont have to go work. :-) Nice greens too.

    Reply
  11. Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting, Tammy. I had posted about the lost ladybug project last year and still find it very worthy. I am not on my way to add another research The Great Sunflower Project http://www.greatsunflower.org/en/about-project Which is about saving bumble bees.

    Linda

    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

    Reply
  12. A Ladybug project, what a wonderful idea for all ! we call them “coccinelles, pronounced koxinel ;). They seem to be rarer these days unfortunately. I’ll have a closer look around the garden and take pictures for you. Thank you so much for all the wonderful posts you share. A real pleasure to visit you, Tammy.

    Reply
  13. You have a lovely blog & this is a lovely post!!

    Many greets from Brussels, belgium!

    Reply
  14. Tammy,

    In addition to our shared interest in cooking we also share other concerns. Yours is the ladybug community and mine is the growing concern for the honey bee population.

    And, while I have supported breast cancer survivors and personally attended Kormen events, I have attended as a two time NON-smoking lung cancer survivor. Educating women about the easily preventable and deadly disease has been a cause of mine since 1982 when I first dealt with the disease as a young mother.

    Thanks for such great info.

    Reply

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