During a late summer walk, I noticed that the common milkweed in our back field is becoming not-so-common. Once vigorous patches of the milky green plants have dwindled, engulfed in a sea of Canada goldenrod. [Read more…] about Establishing Milkweed for Monarchs
This spring, we went the no-mow route on about a quarter-acre of our lawn, the last remaining groomed piece we hadn’t turned into vegetable garden or permanent meadow. What a relief! During the hottest, driest spells over the summer, the grass wasn’t growing anyway. The lawn we did mow during the drought – mostly pathways – turned unhappily brown. [Read more…] about Rethinking the Lawn: Cutting the Grass
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced plans to reclassify certain neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticide products as “Restricted Use” effective January 1st, 2023. [Read more…] about DEC’s Intent to Restrict Certain Neonicotinoid Pesticide Products
Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) begin their annual fall migration in mid-August. These butterflies are the great-great-grandchildren of the monarchs that migrated to Mexico last fall. [Read more…] about Help Monarch Butterflies on their Long Migration South
With their marvelous interpretive-dance routines, complex social life, and delicious honey, honeybees are widely respected, but they’re anything but sweet to wild pollinators. In fact, a surfeit of honeybees is a big threat to our native bees and butterflies. [Read more…] about Honey Bee Keepers, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Yes, it’s time for one more native species to take to the air. The great milkweed migration is on. [Read more…] about Other Important Uses for Milkweed
The September before my daughter was born, my husband and I went for our last pre-baby hike around Camel’s Hump in the Green Mountains of Vermont. We stopped for a snack on the ridgeline, and as we sat munching granola bars we were surprised to see a monarch butterfly flap past, battling the turbulence at this higher elevation.
We watched it disappear southwards, then turned to see a second monarch, then another, fly after the first. It felt like we had stumbled on an aerial herd path as we watched half a dozen orange butterflies flutter southwards along the mountain at treetop height. [Read more…] about Are Brighter Monarchs Better Flyers?
Located on the edge of Lake Ontario, this station is the first of five that are being installed on WMAs in New York this summer to track wildlife movement. [Read more…] about Tracking Animal Movement and Migration with Motus
I observed it through binoculars, so as not to scare it off, then slowly crept closer.
I watched as the butterfly unfurled its proboscis, a tube that functions like a straw, and inserted it into the flower. Then the fritillary sucked up nectar by rhythmically contracting muscles in its head. Sugars in the nectar provide energy for flight, defense, reproduction, and the butterfly’s other daily activities. [Read more…] about Butterflies Sip Sweet Nectar
June 22-28 is National Pollinator Week and one of New York State’s important pollinator friendly species is Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium spp.), a native essential for any garden seeking to attract and help pollinators.
According to legend, Joe Pye was a Native American herbalist who used local plants to cure a variety of illnesses including typhoid fever. For years, it was unknown if Joe Pye was a real person or a botanical myth, that is until research confirmed the plant’s name originated from the nickname of Joseph Shauquethqueat, a Mohican chief who lived in Massachusetts and New York in the 18th and early 19th centuries. [Read more…] about NY Natives: Joseph Shauquethqueat’s Joe Pye Weed