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Gleanings from Headline News – October 2020

What Is Rewilding?

The Wild Seed Project (WSP) begins a new initiative to help rewild not only suburban lawns but urban spaces as well. Rewilding begins with recognizing native plants as the basis for local food chains. WSP provides helpful renderings to illustrate what rewilding may look like in different settings. You can join the rewilding pledge to learn more helpful practices and receive guidance as you make your little bit of earth a diverse habitat. Read more at The Wild Seed Project.

Spotted Lanternfly: Calling All Citizen Scientists

Native to China, Japan, and Vietnam, the spotted lanternfly was first seen in this country in Pennsylvania in 2014. It is spread by people moving infected materials or items containing egg masses. The spread of this invasive insect throughout the US could significantly affect US orchards, grape, and logging industries. Read more from the US Department of Agriculture here and here.

In Massachusetts report sightings at Massachusetts Natural Resource Council. In Rhode Island report spotted lanternfly sightings at  Department of Environmental Management. Elsewhere, contact your local Extension service.

Time-Release Drugs Offer Solution for More Targeted Insect Control

Researchers have developed an alternative pest control that can reduce indiscriminate spraying of pesticides on farms. This new method uses insect pheromones to attract insects into traps instead of food crops and is considered more sustainable than conventional pesticides. Read more at Anthropocene Magazine.

Is There an Antidote to Shifting Baseline Syndrome?

What is “shifting baseline syndrome?” It is a term used to describe how generations lose what the world may have looked like even fifty years ago in terms of wildlife abundance. It may be hard to image that once there were bird flocks that could block out the sun or that the spring shad run was so plentiful the rivers appeared to be silver. The article talks not only about loss but has a hopeful message. When people have knowledge about species, they are more apt to protect those species. Read more at Anthropocene Magazine.

Seagrass Restoration Speeds Recovery of Ecosystems

Some good news. The reintroduction of seagrass along Virginia’s coastal bays is one of the most exciting and successful stories in marine restoration. Spanning two decades scientists and volunteers have broadcast over 70 million eelgrass seeds over previously barren seaside lagoons. These areas have now become the single largest eelgrass habitat between North Carolina and Long Island Sound. Read the summary at William & Mary News. Full article at Science Advances.

If you need more evidence to support leaving the leaves on your property, here’s the article for you. Not only are you saving yourself a lot of time and money by not removing fall leaves, you are also keeping more than 13 percent of solid waste out of our landfills. Read more at National Wildlife Federation.More Reasons to Leave Those Leaves

What’s Green and Soggy and Fights Climate Change?

In a European study, scientists found that protecting intact peat bogs and restoring degraded bogs could counter the effects of climate change. Peat bogs sequester large amounts of carbon though they only make up about three percent of global land area. These bogs could help the world achieve climate goals that are part of the 2015 Paris agreement. Read more at New York Times.

Scientists Fight Tree-Killing Beetles with Beetle-Killing Wasps

Without natural enemies in the US, the emerald ash borer has ravaged elm trees across the country. A release of parasitic wasps that prey on emerald ash borers shows promise. Read more in EcoRI News.

Natural Debate: Do Forests Grow Better With or Without Our Help?

Nations around the world are pledging to plant billions of trees to grown new forests. But a new study shows that the potential for natural forest regrowth to absorb carbon from the atmosphere and fight climate change is far greater than previously estimated. Read more in YaleEnvironment360.

Beech Leaf Disease Arrives in Rhode Island

The nematode that causes a leaf disease in beech trees was discovered in Rhode Island in June. The mechanism for disease transfer is not yet known, and no treatment is available. RI Department of Environmental Management asks those with a likely infected beech tree to file a report. Read more about beech leaf disease in RI in EcoRI News. Learn more about the disease in Science.

NOFA Accreditation Course Online for Fall

Northeast Organic Farming Association goes “virtual” with its accreditation course this year. Course offers full professional instruction, one-on-one office hours with instructors, and on-line exam to qualify participants as NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals. Learn more at