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Gleanings from Headline News – January 2021

Feds Delay Legal Protection for Monarchs

Federal officials on December 15 declared the monarch butterfly “a candidate” for threatened or endangered status but said no action would be taken for several years because of the many other species awaiting that designation. Read more at AP News.

Greening Pakistan with Seed Balls

Pakistan has one of the highest deforestation rates in Asia, but these residents are hoping to change that with a little bit of ingenuity — and a ball of fun. Read more at Temasek.

Books and Films to While Away the Winter Blues

Join the Garden Conservancy for their fall 2020 Literary Webinar Series. Books highlighted are filled with horticultural and design inspiration, stories of garden creation, and portraits of the people who are changing the way we think about the world of plants. Read more at The Garden Conservancy. Then be sure to check out their Gardens for a Changing World film series.

Is Plastic Changing the New England Coastline?

Forget about sharks. The real menace in marine waters is plastic. Southern New England, like the rest of the globe, has a plastic problem. Some local activists have ideas on how to solve it. Read more at EcoRI News.

Insomniac Bees

Insomnia weighs heavily on humans, and the same is true of bees. After just three days of low-level exposure to pesticides, bees became relative insomniacs, staying up late into the night. One result is that bees get tired and confused and lose their way back to the hive. Read more in Sierra.

Can Breeding Program Save North American Ash Tree?

The Asian emerald ash borer is the most devastating insect ever to strike a North American tree. Forest geneticist Jennifer Koch is working to create ash varieties that can fend off the emerald ash borer so that the species can reclaim its historic place in North American forests. Read more at Science Magazine.

A New Fertilizer, Can It Be Pee?

Manufacturing the fertilizer on which much of modern agriculture depends takes a heavy environmental toll. Commercial fertilizer consists of nitrogen and phosphorus, but there’s an endless stream of renewable phosphorus and nitrogen available: yes, we’re talking about urine. Read more at Anthropocene Magazine.

Urban Greening as Simple as Sowing Seeds

Many cities are working to create new green spaces, but success is mixed. A new study found the most effective and least expensive way of greening vacant urban lots is with broadcast seeding. Read more at Cary Institute.

RI Wild Plant Society Grant Opportunity

The Rhode Island Wild Plant Society offers an annual grant to aid individuals in the study of wild plants and their habitats. To qualify, you must be an educator, a member of a Rhode Island botanical or environmental association, or a student in a field related to botany or environmental studies. Read more at Rhode Island Wild Plant Society.

Does Climate Change Worry Drop During a Global Pandemic?

Apparently, humans have an infinite capacity to worry. Two new studies one in the UK and one in the US, showed that COVID-19 wasn’t reducing people’s climate concerns. This is good news for climate activists, but the question remains: How do we increase people’s concern about the climate crisis? Read more at Anthropocene Magazine.

Man’s Best Friend Sniffs Out Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternflies are an invasive insect that can devastate vineyards or destroy crops. Their eggs are odorless and hard for humans to spot, but dogs can be trained to find them. Read more at NPR.

Non-Native Plants are Contributing to Insect Decline

The impact of introduced plants on native biodiversity has emerged as a hot-button issue in ecology. But recent research provides new evidence that the displacement of native plant communities is a key cause of a collapse in insect populations and is affecting birds as well. Read more at Yale 360.

Photographer Captures Urban Birds of Prey

Rhode Island Photographer Peter Green sent hours photographing Providence, RI birds of prey, for his new book, which tells the stories of these urban birds and the people who work to protect them. Read more at EcoRI News.

Landscape Story Slam

Native Plant Trust presents Tales from the Field. Have a story to tell? Join fellow plant geeks as they share their most riveting and hilarious tales from the field, then cast your vote for the night’s best storyteller! Submit your story by January 20. Read more at Native Plant Trust.

Calling All Artists

Tower Hill Botanic Garden is soliciting proposals for Wild Hideaways: Designed for Adventure, a temporary outdoor exhibit showcasing artistic, interactive, outdoor structures, that bring joy, inspire imaginative play, and spark a curiosity for the natural world and its connections to the built environment. Wild Hideaways will run June 1-September 30, 2021. Read more at Tower Hill Botanic Garden.