Cary Fowler: One seed at a time, protecting the future of food
Grasslands Field Trip
The Center for Conservation Landowners
Natural Lands Trust
Saturday, October 17, 2009
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Join Natural Lands Trust (NLT) staff and Dr. Roger Latham (Continental Conservation) as we visit three grassland/meadow sites in northern Delaware and eastern Chester Counties and learn how they are established and managed to benefit wildlife and people. The trip will begin at Natural Lands Trust’s Hildacy Farm Preserve in Media where NLT has managed warm-season grass meadows for nearly a decade. We will then drive to a newly-planted meadow in Newtown Square to learn about the early stages of meadow establishment. The last stop on the field trip will be Pink Hill at Tyler Arboretum (Media), where we will see what a truly native grassland (serpentine barrens) looks like.
The cost for the field trip will be $25.
Please register by calling Brenda at 610-353-5640, ext. 243.
We will begin and end the trip at NLT’s Headquarters at Hildacy Farm Preserve, 1031 Palmers Mill Road, Media, PA.
What wildlife have you seen lately in your own habitats?
ps - Thank you Peg for sharing the link above!
Thank you Craig!
Tree Tenders Training
Sign up now!
(Student’s, staff, faculty, Borough & Township residents)
Learn to plant & care for trees
9 hours of free training
April 7, 14, 21 (6-9PM)
113 Boucher Hall
Sponsored by the PA Horticulture Society and WCU
To register http://www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org
& choose “sign up for Free Tree Tenders Training
Contact: Gerry Hertel; 610-436-2722; email@example.com
(WCU sponsors: Grounds; Environmental Council; Gordon Natural Area)
bae.ncsu.edu, soil.ncsu.edu, ext.vt.edu
I don't even have a garden, at least not in Chester County. I have a postage stamp-size backyard garden in New York City. I planted it two years ago and planted all the wrong things. I didn't know that at the time. It's doing well, everything blooms and nothing has died. But I'll be pulling some of the plants up and replacing them because I want to do my part to save the world — the natural world, that is.
Edie Parnum & Barb Elliot
Co-Directors of Backyards for Nature
Valley Forge Audubon Society
3:00pm ~ 5:00pm
Crow’s Nest Preserve
201 Piersol Road
Elverson, PA 19520
A garden without birds is like a half finished picture - no matter how perfect, it's more enjoyable when it's filled with bird song. Plants and birds are a natural combination and now is a great time to plan for creating an oasis for birds in your garden. With a mission to inspire and teach people to create healthy habitats in their yards using native plants and providing the essentials for wildlife to thrive, Edie Parnum and Barb Elliot will share the how-to and rewards of attracting birds into your garden.
For registration or more information:
Habitat Resource Network of Southeast Pennsylvania
P.O. Box 274
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
- Don Shadow, nurseryman/owner of Shadow Nursery, www.shadownursery.com, has introduced many outstanding plants to the trade and will speak on new and unique plants useful in the garden of today.
- Rick Lewandowski, Director of Mt Cuba Center for Piedmont Flora, Environmentally responsible choice for garden practice.
- Jenny Carey, Director of the Landscape Arboretum, Temple Ambler, Creating a luxuriant Mid-Atlantic garden with no additional water.
- Gregg Tepper, Woods Path Gardener, Mt Cuba - Sensory appeal of native plants and their unique characteristics.
Download a registration form at the Hardy Plant Society web site, www.hardyplant.org.
These photos are from Rick W. capturing his backyard prairie garden in Downingtown, PA, which he began six years ago. His main herbaceous plants are:
- Big and Little Bluestem
- Purple Coneflower
- Rattlesnake Master
He also has some woody plants on the east side of the garden:
- New Jersey Tea
- Virginia sweetspire
- Smooth Sumac (volunteers)
He includes birdfeeders with black sunflower seed and thistle seed and a bird fountain.
Rick, your pictures are lovely and the gardens are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing these with the other members.
Everyone, continue sending in emails that you would like to see posted.
For those of you who had the opporunity to come out this past weekend, please do not hesitate to share your experience and your habitat plans here. You can even post pictures and get suggestions from other members!
Course topics include:
- How to restore and create wildlife habitat on your property by providing food, water, shelter and places to raise young.
- The importance of native plants to our local ecosystem, plant selection and sources
- How to design for people (including children) and wildlife
- Sustainable gardening practices that are good for the earth, people and wildlife
- The process of Wildlife Habitat Certification through the National Wildlife Federation and Audubon.
- Additional resources and information tailored to each homeowners’ landscape.
Lastly, the Invasive Species blog (which we follow) just recently posted a disturbing message for those of us in PA who have Ash trees on our properties!
Pictures from: http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/index.html
Wild Columbine is a native flower of Pennslyvania and grows in a variety of soil and light conditions that range from woodland edges to riverbanks, and gravelly shores and ridges. Columbine is a beautiful, native wildflower which blooms in the spring (April to July). Its drooping flowers are red and yellow, 1 to 2 inches long. Its pollen attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
Growing to a height of 1-2 feet’, columbine does best in partial shade to filtered sun. As the tiny black seeds ripen, they can be collected by hand over several days from August to October by gently tapping the follicle (old flower) into a container.
Picture © Thomas G. Barnes University of Tennessee Herbarium.
MEDIA — Across suburban landscapes a new movement is growing, one possibly as revolutionary as the first cry to save open space that went up at the end of the last century when land planners recognized the danger of urban sprawl.
Across the country and particularly in heavily suburban landscapes like Chester County, a new danger has been identified: It is the loss of biodiversity, the huge variety of animal life that is disappearing from the planet."If you walk down the street and ask somebody what is the major problem of the world, they will not say an extinction crisis," said Douglas Tallamy, professor and chairman of the entomology and wildlife ecology department at the University of Delaware, who addresseda crowd of 150 people at Penn State's Brandywine campus Sunday.
"It's not on their horizon. People don't believe it. They think nature is happy someplace else. It doesn't matter what we do to our local plants, there is always a bit of nature someplace else," Tallamy said.But increasingly that bit of nature someplace else is in as big a trouble as the nature closer to home.
Tallamy, the featured speaker at a lecture hosted by the Chester-Ridley-Crum Watershed Association and the Habitat Resource Network of Southeast Pennsylvania, is at the forefront of the movement to save local biodiversity. He urges residents to turn their backyards into wildlife sanctuaries chiefly through the vehicle of planting native species.
Research conducted by Tallamy and others reveal the close link between insects and plants they eat, he said. Because the two evolved together, to increase the number of birds, you have to give them something to eat and somewhere to live — both functions of native plant life.The problem is the proliferation of ornamental plants from Asia, Europe and even the Pacific Northwest. "Most of our native plant-eaters are not able to eat alien plants," Tallamy says in his book, "Bringing Nature Home."
"And we are replacing native plants with alien species at an alarming rate, especially in the suburban gardens on which our wildlife increasingly depends."But the good news is the trend can be reversed and is relatively easy to do by replacing alien plants with native plants.There are organizations available to help homeowners and municipalities such as Habitat Resource Network that train people to be habitat stewards.
Tallamy urged homeowner associations to plant native species on open-space land, in stormwater swales and around ponds that serve as detention basins. He advocated for planting native trees such as an oak tree that 517 different species of caterpillars can eat. The caterpillars will attract birds and other insect-loving species. He recommended that the size of lawns be reduced and allow areas to revert to meadow.
The ideas were interesting to Terry Woodman, East Whiteland township manager, who attended the event. Part of the township is in the Chester-Ridley-Crum watershed.The township mandates landscaping in connection with new land development projects.Woodman said she would look at the list of tree species that the township recommends to see if they are native species. Letting lawns revert back to a meadow is a concept that is a little problematic in East Whiteland because most lots are only a half-acre. Residents worry about what effect a house that doesn't mow its lawn would have on property values, she said."I can see it working in a township such as Willistown with much larger lot sizes," said Woodman.
To contact staff writer Anne Pickering,
send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy gardening and reading!
1. Protect native plant communities and minimize habitat destruction
The most important guideline is to conserve already existing areas of native vegetation as a whole, functioning unit. The easiest, least expensive, and best way to conserve Pennsylvania's plant heritage is to protect existing native plant communities from further disturbance. If disturbance is necessary, strive for minimum habitat destruction. In some cases ecological restoration may be necessary, which can include planting native species, removing invasive introduced species, controlling erosion and loosening soil compaction.
2. Landscape with native plants
Native plant communities have been destroyed in many areas and therefore landscaping is required; parks, yards, streets, and campuses, for example. Well-chosen native plants perform well in these landscapes. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)-Bureau of Forestry (BOF) recommends avoiding rare, endangered, and threatened plants and instead choosing native plant species which grow commonly throughout the state. These hardy and adaptable plants do well in a wide variety of conditions and have a much better chance of success in gardens. If you do not want all natives, plant adapted introduced plants suited for the site, colorful annuals, or flowering plants that will not escape and become environmental weeds.
3. Learn more about native plants
Learn what plants are native in your area. The Resources Page lists just a few of the resources for this region, but there are many more. Many field guides can get you started.
4. Buy nursery-propagated native plants
Most retail nurseries and mail-order catalogs now offer native plants. The more consumers request native plants, the more this supply will grow. If you want guaranteed ornamental characteristics, cultivars (named varieties) are available in some cases; for instance, New England Aster has a cultivar named 'Purple Dome', which was selected for shorter height and showier flowers. Cultivars should be predictable in attributes like height, color, blooming period, or absence of seed pods/thorns--qualities many gardeners want. If your goal is genetic diversity, however, ask for straight species, not cultivars, grown from local seed sources. Plants grown from seed have much more variety than cloned cultivars.
5. Do not remove native plants from the wild
Taking native plants from the wild depletes native populations. Also, many wild-collected plants do not survive transplanting. Prevent wild-collecting of plants by making sure that plants you buy are propagated at a nursery, or by starting plants yourself from a local seed supply (Collect seed only with the property owner's permission). Ask the DCNR-BOF for a list of native plant and seed sources in Pennsylvania.
6. Practice responsible landscaping techniques
The first rule of responsible landscaping is to plant the right plants in the right environment: never introduce invasive plants to your landscape that will aggressively spread off your property and invade native plant communities. They can drastically alter ecosystems and give you and your neighbors maintenance headaches for years to come. Ask the DCNR-BOF for the brochure "Invasive Plants in Pennsylvania." When landscaping with native plants it is important to choose plants that will grow well at the site: wet or dry, shade or sun, acid or neutral soil. A good trick is to notice which native plants are thriving nearby, and to use those clues to guide plant selection. Other information can be found from plant nurseries, catalogs, books, or the Internet. For soil fertility, compost and mulch of leaves or grass clippings provide slow release nutrients. Chemical fertilizers often provide too many nutrients too quickly for native plants, and this flush of nutrients gives weeds a competitive edge. Proper site preparation begins with a soil test before applying fertilizer. Try organic pest control. Keep the soil covered to prevent weeds. Remove invasive plants nearby. Take out severely diseased plants, or ones with insect infestations. Many native plants attract beneficial insects which help control pests, so try creating habitat for "good bugs."
Please share interesting tidbits that you stumble across as well.
• About national climate change policy,
• Forging a clean energy economy
• And the ways that green jobs and environmentally responsible industries can benefit Pennsylvania .
We invite you attend the “Pennsylvania Green Economy Forum” at West Chester University ’s Sykes Student Union Ballroom at 7 PM.
The sponsoring organizations for the event include: Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP), West Chester University ’s Environmental Council, PennEnvironment, National Audubon Society, Pew Environment Group, the Gordon Natural Area and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Kathleen McGinty, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (and who has recently joined Element Partners, a venture capital firm focused on clean technology) will deliver the keynote address. Panelists and guest speakers will include representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, organized labor and West Chester University . Guests will be invited to ask questions throughout the night’s program.
This forum will coincide with the “National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions,” which will bring together hundreds of universities, faith groups and community organizations around the country to discuss global climate change in a solutions-driven dialogue. In Washington , D.C. , national environmental leaders will also be meeting to discuss the potential impact of green jobs on our economy during this time.
We hope you will be able to join us for this unique and important discussion.
Habitat destruction is the leading cause of species decline, not only in the rainforests, but here in our own corner of Pennsylvania. As our land is used for human purposes, there is less undeveloped land to sustain birds, butterflies, frogs, insects and other wildlife. We can change how we landscape our individual properties to provide a home and sanctuary for wildlife, as well as for our human families.
The course topics include:
· How to restore and create wildlife habitat on your property by providing food, water, shelter and places to raise young.
· The importance of native plants to our local ecosystem, plant selection and sources
· How to design for people (including children) and wildlife
· Sustainable gardening practices that are good for the earth, people and wildlife
· The process of Wildlife Habitat Certification through the National Wildlife Federation and Audubon.
· Additional resources and information tailored to each homeowners’ landscape
The course will run from 8:30am to 3:00pm. The fee is $40 per person or $50 per couple. Course materials and lunch are included. For more information or to register, go to www.habitatresourcenetwork.org, email email@example.com or call 484-678-6200.
Connect your piece of the earth to the larger ecosystem, and nourish our local biodiversity!
The mission of the Habitat Resource Network of SEPA is to create a network of people, organizations and resources to support the restoration and maintenance of wildlife habitat and to promote sustainable landscape practices in Southeastern Pennsylvania (more info at www.habitatresourcenetwork.org). . Habitat Resource Network is a local chapter of Wild Ones, a national organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities (more info at www.for-wild.org).
Thank you for your input!
Project Orange Thumb
I stumbled across this opportunity within 5 minutes of reviewing the updated "Blogs We Follow" section on the right. Please feel free to forward any other links or blogs that you follow which we can add to our site to benefit our members.
All books listed in this article are available in the Scott Horticultural Library. Some links of interest:
Thank you Sue for sharing this wonderful article!