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Gleanings from Headline News – June 2022

Living Tree Bridges

They’re not the world’s tallest or longest bridges, but a string of humble river crossings sculpted from tree roots in India are engineering marvels that contain lessons for modern architects. The bridges stretch across rivers and ravines in India’s mountainous Meghalaya plateau, connecting villages and allowing farmers to access their land. Read more at NPR.

The Dark Side of Light Pollution

Governments, cities, companies, and communities worldwide are taking action to address a significant and growing threat to wildlife, including many species of migratory birds – light pollution. Artificial light alters natural patterns of light and dark within ecosystems and contributes to the deaths of millions of birds each year. Read more at Tired Earth.

Best Mulching Practices

Mulching is a practice that many gardeners learn to do by rote: an annual application, following rules with little regard to the various contexts. But ecological gardeners amend soils and mulch only in response to the garden’s needs. We must also consider newer research on the benefits of not mulching, such as making space for the many soil-dwelling organisms who can’t penetrate shredded woodchips. Read more at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

How to Manage Weeds on Your Farm

“Manage Weeds on Your Farm” is a definitive guide to understanding agricultural weeds and how to manage them efficiently, effectively, and ecologically – for organic and conventional farmers alike. The ecological approach to weed management seeks first to understand the biology and behavior of problem weeds and then to develop an integrated set of control strategies that exploit their weaknesses. Read more at Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Efforts to Save North America’s Most Endangered Bird Species Are Succeeding

Some good news! A captive breeding program has quickly turned around the precipitous decline of the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. On June 1, a tiny Florida Grasshopper Sparrow scurried out of an outdoor aviary and onto conservation lands south of Orlando, joining a fragile but recovering population of the most endangered birds on the continent. Read more at Audubon.

A Difficult Site Becomes a Lovely Garden

James Golden’s New Jersey garden, Federal Twist, taught him that a gardener must match the plants to the place – however difficult that seems. It had to be an ecological garden, almost by default,” he said. “I had to figure out what I could grow – plants that were adapted to this ecology.” Read more at The NY Times.

Amazon vs. Rusty Patch Bumblebee

A tiny bee became a big problem for an Amazon-fueled expansion in Illinois. The Chicago Rockford International Airport wants to grow. Standing in its way is an odd slice of remnant prairie, home to the rusty patched bumblebee. Read more at WBEZ Chicago.

USDA Kills Thousands of Native Species

An obscure division of the US government had a busy – and ruthless – year in 2021, killing more than 1.75 million animals across the country, at a rate of about 200 creatures every hour. Activists condemn Wildlife Services, a division of the USDA, which says deaths are necessary to protect farmers and public health. Read more at The Guardian.

Piet Oudolf Designs New Garden

All Oudolf’s designs start with the plants. Whichever site he’s working on – here it’s Hauser & Wirth’s new gallery in Minorca, Spain – he first learns about what palette of species will grow well in that climate and soil. A garden isn’t like an exhibition, which is installed for just a few months; the plantings must continue to evolve over the years. Read more at The NY Times.

Olmstead’s 200th Birthday

It’s Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th birthday this month, and many people are giving the father of American landscape architecture his due. “The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus, through the influence of the mind over the body gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigoration to the whole system.” – Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. Read more at The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Iconic Wildflower in Peril

Among North American wildflowers, few are as beloved and culturally relevant as Trillium. A new report led by the ABQ BioPark, Nature Serve, and Mt. Cuba Center analyzed risk factors to these plants and found that 32 percent of all North American Trillium species or varieties are threatened with extinction. Read More at Mt. Cuba Center.

Invasive Toxic Hammerhead Worm Found in Rhode Island

The one thing you don’t want to do if you find a hammerhead worm is touch it, or let your pets, including backyard chickens, eat it. Hammerhead worms produce a neurotoxin, tetrodotoxin, which is also found in puffer fish. Read more at Eco Rhode Island News.

Native Garden Tours MetroWest Boston

The Native Pollinator Task Force (NPTF) is hosting tours of public display Pollination Preservation Gardens (PPG) throughout the month of June. These tours are designed to demonstrate how MCA members and NPTF Ambassadors can design and install their own public display PPG’s and how to spread the word in their communities. The goal of the NPTF is to have at least one public display Pollination Preservation Garden in each of the 36 communities in the MCA region. Read more at Native Pollinator Task Force Garden Tours.