Helping Nature Take Its Course / September 21, 2021

Helping Nature Take Its Course
The natural world we encounter today is not the same world we would have encountered 500 years ago, 100 years ago, or even 20 years ago.
When I was a boy (60 yrs ago), I could count on finding a box turtle, a spotted turtle, and several species of salamanders any summer day on a walk through a nearby woodlot. I would have kicked up scores of grasshoppers in the meadow I crossed before I reached that woodlot, and I never worried about picking up a deer tick because I didn’t know what a deer tick was; I had explored those fields and woods for years without ever encountering one. If I saw a white-tailed deer, it would have been a very special day, for they were rare in north central New Jersey where I grew up. I didn’t know much about plants, but nearly all of the species I walked by in those days were native to North Jersey.

When politicians are facilitators in regenerating biodiversity

We think planting native is a luxury partially because we can take action without asking permission or needing legislation. Sometimes MAGIC happens when permission is sought and a public official, a volunteer conservation organization and landscape architect get together – and that is just what happened in Hastings-on-Hudson.

When Landscape Architects take the lead!

Landscape architects are in a powerful position to influence the use of native plants in public and private places. One such design firm used their talents to inspire a community based collaborative project in San Francisco. That lights us up!

Long Live Our Mighty Oaks!

A fun, easy-to-read summary of the many ways oak trees hold ecosystems together — with over a dozen links and resource about how we can support them. Perfect for introducing students, neighbors, friends and family to the importance of native oak trees.

Jon Koch

The Muscatine Pollinator Project took over acres of old unused farm land that had gone to weed to create a 55 acre Pollinator Park inside the City limits of Muscatine.

Prairie Strips*

Small changes Big Impacts. Prairie strips provide a win-win scenario for farmers and wildlife. Research shows that by converting 10% of a crop-field to diverse, native perennial vegetation, farmers and landowners can reduce sediment movement off their field by 95 percent and total phosphorous and nitrogen lost through runoff by 90 and 85 percent, respectively.

The Evolution of a Gardener

Does the following sound familiar? You go to the garden center to pick up some plants for your garden. The plant with big flashy flowers calls to you. You put it in your cart. Then you discover that it comes in several different colors! You put one of each color in your cart. You take them home to plant not really knowing where they will go…but you loved them and will find a place for them somewhere.

Beyond Parks and Preserves / June 23, 2021

In a recent NY Times article, Zoë Schlanger describes a policy shift in managing our national parks, from protecting all species within our parks to picking a choosing which ones we have the resources to save. Climate change is blamed as the culprit that has pushed park managers and budgets beyond their capacity, although most of the actual problems described in the article are caused by invasive species we have brought to this country and would be problematic even without climate change. Climate change is indeed serious management issue, though not the only issue, and it has shown us the limitations of restricting conservation to parks and preserves. Parks are fixed in location, but a changing climate demands flexible responses on the part of plants and animals they are designed to protect. When confined to a fixed space, they lose that flexibility.

Native Planting in Big Cities / by Banford Weissmann  

New York City is essentially a giant ecologic scar with hard, impermeable surfaces stretching out over hundreds of square miles. Natural green spaces are relegated to a few places here and there, and trees poking out of sidewalks struggle to survive. Can an Idea like Homegrown National Park™ even work in a place where habitat fragmentation is so extreme?

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