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Gleanings from Headline News – May 2021

Controlling Invasive Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed was probably introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s. It is found near water sources, such as along streams and rivers; in low-lying areas; waste places; utility rights-of-way; and around old homesites. It can quickly become an invasive pest in natural areas after escaping from cultivated gardens. Learn effective management options at CISMA.

No Mow May

The Pollinator Pathway wants you to take the challenge: let your lawn grow for the whole month of May. That’s right – Do Nothing! Leave your mower in the garage until June. Let your green lawn turn into a riot of color with buttercups, clover, dandelions, and daisies that will offer much-needed food for our beleaguered bees and butterflies who are starving after a long winter. Read more at Pollinator Pathway.

How and (Why) to Use Native plants

You know they support pollinators and native wildlife, but you may not have a meadow where they’ll feel at home. Learn how to create a pollinator garden no matter what your land or time constraints might be. Any native planting can help – at least in a small way – to bridge the gaps in our fragmented, overdeveloped habitat. Read more at New York Times.

Is There A Market for Blue Carbon

Seagrasses, mangrove forests, and coastal wetlands store vast amounts of carbon, and their preservation and restoration hold great potential to bank CO2 and keep it out of the atmosphere. But can the blue carbon market avoid the pitfalls that have plagued land-based programs? Read more at Yale Environment 360.

Significant Scale Restoration on Gulf Coast

After the BP oil disaster, Deepwater Horizon Trustees in charge of the Gulf Coast restoration announced nearly $100 million in new projects to ensure birds and other migratory wildlife are healthy and protected across the entire Gulf Coast. Fantastic news because bird species don’t obey state lines. Read more at National Audubon.

Lights, Camera, Action

The eighth annual Yale Environment 360 Video Contest is now accepting entries. The contest honors the year’s best environmental videos, especially work from around the globe that has not previously been widely seen. Read more at Yale Environment 360.

Dialogue Between Art and Nature

Yayoi Kusama’s work has been described as transformative for both the observer and her exhibit’s surroundings. The Japanese artist’s latest exhibition, postponed initially because of the pandemic, aptly uses a 250-acre landscape of the New York Botanic Garden as the setting for her exhibit “Cosmic Nature.” Read more at New York Times.

Massachusetts Bans the Use of Neonicotinoids

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) recently announced that the Massachusetts Pesticide Board Subcommittee passed a ruling in March regarding the registration and use of neonicotinoids in the Commonwealth. The ruling will ultimately eliminate access to neonicotinoids for non-agricultural outdoor applications by not licensed or certified people. Read more at UMass.

The Dirt Beneath Our Feet

The Xerces Society has been working for over a year on a project to focus more conservation attention on one of the darkest, most enigmatic ecosystems on our planet: the ground beneath our feet. Soils support the most biologically rich animal communities on earth, outside of our oceans. Read more at Xerces Society.

Coffee May Help Reforestation

Researchers dumped tons of coffee pulp on degraded lands. The reforestation jolt was dramatic. Using agricultural waste as fertilizer led to healthier soils, fewer invasives, and more tree canopy cover. Read more at Anthropocene Magazine.

Let Go of the Perfect Lawn Created By Fossil Fuels

The amount of pollution, from noise to air to water, created to maintain green carpets and immaculate yards is jarring. Instead of putting public health at risk and degrading the environment with a chemically treated lawn, create a yard with a diverse mix of native trees, shrubs, and plants; it is cheaper to maintain, easier to take care of, environmentally beneficial, and more attractive. Read more at EcoRI News.

Don’t Be Impulsive

There’s a reason the gardening industry fondly refers to this time of year as the “100 days of hell.” The pandemic has only made spring plant shopping more challenging. Before stepping into a garden center be prepared, make a list, and try to avoid impulse buys. Remember you need color all season, not just spring. Read more at New York Times.

Composting 101

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has developed a new “why to compost” infographic, presentation, and updated list of home compost bin distribution programs. All of these materials and more can be found online. Read more at Mass Gov.

Everything’s Comin Up Compost!

Food scraps and biodegradable utensils are standard fodder for compost, but in Colorado, human remains could soon be transformed into soil too. If Colorado Governor signs the bill into law, Colorado would be the second state to allow composting of human remains in lieu of traditional processes like burial and cremation. Read more at New York Times.

UConn Produces Native Plant Guide

The University of Connecticut introduces its new “Native Plant and Sustainable Landscaping Guide.” This is a new go-to, essential resource for planting in Connecticut. Find plant recommendations and information for attracting pollinators, tolerating deer, nursery list, and further resources. Read more at

Dark Skies Protect the Birds

In dozens of American cities, buildings, landmarks, and monuments are turning off lights to prevent fatal impacts as birds set off on spring migration. Read more at New York Times, Dark Sky, and National Audubon.

Gardens, Art and Activism Together

Between May and September, artists and activists Ekua Holmes (African American) and Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag) will create a “Garden for Boston” outside the MFA’s main entrance. The installations transform the MFA’s Huntington Avenue lawn into a growing, blooming summer garden representing the resilience, strength, and hope of both artists, their communities, and their ancestors. Read more at MFA Boston.