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Gleanings from Headline News – May 2022

Saving the World’s Threatened Trees

The State of the World’s Trees, published in September 2021, shares the results of the Global Tree Assessment – the first conservation audit of most of the world’s nearly sixty thousand species. The results show that 30 percent of all tree species – more than 17,500 species – are threatened with extinction. Read more at Harvard Arnold Arboretum.

Skills for Bees in Scotland’s Cairngorms

A three-year project (November 2021 – October 2024), Skills for Bees: Scotland, will provide training opportunities and mentoring to communities in the Cairngorms, enabling them to contribute valuable data and help us understand how bumblebees are faring in a vast but traditionally under-recorded area of Scotland. Read more at Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Birds Inspire Art, Awe, and Action

The Aviary is an evolution of The Illustrated Aviary, which ran from 2013 to 2021 and invited artists to reinterpret John James Audubon’s original watercolors through their own unique style. In its new iteration, we’ve widened the series to include artists in any medium who are motivated to educate and inspire people to take action on behalf of birds. Read more at Audubon.

Noticing What’s Going On

We’ve grown up in a prairie-dismissive world, and to remedy the idea that not much happens in grasslands, we can get up close and see what’s happening beneath our very noses. But, as I often forget when exploring, there’s a world equally as vast and potentially even more mysterious beneath our feet. Read more at The Prairie Ecologist.

Navigating Nurseries this Spring

A significant challenge for local garden centers with regional horticultural experience is that big-box stores have cut their profit margins and have jumped into the market with cheap plants. Across the country, from the steamy South to the cool North and the arid West, the same mass-produced plants are offered for sale with no hint of their place of origin. Read more at Wild Seed Project.

For Gen Z, Climate Change Is a Heavy Emotional Burden

Britt Wray is a leading researcher on the mental health impact of climate change. In an e360 interview, she talks about the rise of climate anxiety in young people, how social media exacerbates this trend, and why distress about the climate crisis can spur positive change. Read more at Yale Environment 360.

No Mow May

Thousands of people participate in Plantlife’s annual Every Flower Counts (EFC) citizen science survey, the largest ever study of garden lawns in the UK. The charity says the results show a “radical shift in attitudes towards lawn management is underway.” It says 78.8% of 2,157 EFC participants last year did not mow for a month before taking part in the survey, an increase from 33.6% in 2019. Read more at The Guardian.

Superbloom in Tower of London

This summer, a visit to the Tower of London will be even more special as we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee year of HM The Queen. Over 20 million seeds have been sown in the famous moat which will develop and morph over the course of the summer. The Tower’s superbloom is the first stage of a legacy project that will turn the moat permanently into the biggest resource for bees and other pollinators in central London. Read more at Historic Royal Palaces.

Support Spring Pollinators: Think Big

How can you support pollinators in April and May? Think big. Plant native flowering shrubs or trees. In New England, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better forage for insects than these woody plants. Not only do these larger plants produce copious amounts of flowers, but they are often important host plants for caterpillars of moths and butterflies. Read more at Tufts Pollinator Initiative.

Improvements Still Needed in Lawn Care

Despite improving products and a growing ecological consciousness, Rhode Island lawns are still awash in fertilizer and chemicals. What harm this causes depends on who is asked, but it’s generally agreed that there have been quantum improvements since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring era when straight carcinogens were sloppily applied by the metric ton. Read more at Eco Rhode Island.

Bringing Controlled Burns

For millennia, North American ecosystems benefited from fire, set mainly by Indigenous people. Now, a movement is growing, particularly in the eastern U.S., to reintroduce controlled burns to forests and grasslands and restore the role of fire in creating biodiverse landscapes. Read more at Yale Environment 360.

Developer Buys 10,000 Suns Property

An empty parcel of land on the city’s East Side that has burst with sunflowers every August for the past six summers as part of an art project will remain fallow this year. The parcel of land that hosted 10,000 Suns has been sold to a developer with plans to build a mixed-use apartment building. Read more at Eco Rhode Island.

Are Nature-Based Solutions on Climate Being Overlooked?

Nature-based initiatives, such as planting mangroves and revitalizing wetlands, have proven effective in making communities more resilient to climate change. But international funding has shortchanged such solutions in favor of more costly and less efficient engineering projects. Read more at Yale Environment 360.

Shop Your Garden First

Instead of making a trip to the nursery, why not shop your yard first. Armed with a Japanese weeding knife and my favorite trowel, I’m currently shopping in my own garden, as I do each spring, carefully scouting for the raw material of more cohesive, eye-catching beds and borders – all at no charge. Read more at The New York Times.

Organic Farming Podcast

If you care about food, where it comes from, and how it’s grown, check out this podcast series on organic farming, sustainability, and equitable food systems. Brought to you by the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA/Mass). Read more at NOFA Podcast.