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Landscaping for Wildlife

Seeing and learning about wildlife is an enriching experience that anyone can enjoy. When landscapes provide food, shelter, water, and nesting areas for reproduction, a rich variety of life follows. The result is a healthier, more resilient ecosystem for all inhabitants.

Chicken of the Woods on an oak log. © Anna Fialkoff.
 

Think Like a Forest

By Anna Failkoff

Forest trees are not singular specimens but are interdependent players in a dynamic natural community. The tree canopy casts critical shade, moderates moisture and temperature, drops leaf litter to help build living soil, and provides sustenance for a diversity of life on roots, trunks, branches and leaves. Using forest ecosystems for inspiration, we can bring maximal biodiversity, resilience and biomass back into human landscapes. 

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Partridge_Pea_&_Bee_(5761053027) 

Lawn Murder

By Leslie Duthie

Americans love their lawns yet they provide minimal habitat or ecological value for anything other than humans. From an ecological standpoint, I started to rethink the importance of the “lawn” and to consider a smaller lawn and? or? lawn alternatives that do not require fertilizer, water, or much mowing. Ultimately, I decided the best solution would be to replace the lawn with new gardens. 

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pica large 

Echinacea Trials at Mt. Cuba Center

 By Sam Hoadley

Echinacea, commonly known as coneflower, is experiencing a horticultural renaissance thanks to plant breeders’ hybridization work resulting in the flood of new Echinacea cultivars to the horticultural market. While many of these plants look fantastic on paper, Mt. Cuba aimed to assess their actual garden performance and document their ability to attract insect pollinators.  

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<em>Cercis canadensis</em>( Eastern redbud) Photo credit Hoodedwarbler 12 Wikimedia Commons. 

Notable Natives: Large Shrubs and Small Trees

by Sarah Middeleer

Proponents of ecological gardening are urging gardeners to reduce lawn areas and add native plants. Native shrub borders are lower maintenance than perennial borders, making them an excellent solution to this challenge. These plants often provide multi-season interest, including showy flowers, fruit, and fall foliage. Perhaps their best feature is the habitats and food they offer birds and pollinators.

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Beauty in nature abounds, it is always present no manner how quickly we think the world is spinning.   

COVID’s Pendulum

By Trevor Smith

Goodbye 2020 and good riddance!!! Though we are not out of the woods yet, I couldn’t help but feel a weight lifted as the ball fell at the stroke of midnight. 2020 started like any other year, with hope and possibility. The anticipation of a new season combined with knowing how crazy things would be in spring felt like I was on a rollercoaster about to hit that big drop. All I could do was hold on as the world rushed past. Little did we know that drop would be less like a rollercoaster and more akin to Niagara Falls. 

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The variegated fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) may be found throughout the United States (except for the Pacific Northwest) and in a variety of open sunny habitats, including meadows, prairies, and roadsides. It can have as many as four generations in a year. (Photograph © Bryan E. Reynolds.)
 

Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change On Grassland Butterflies

By Angela Laws

Declining biodiversity has been making its way into the news more and more as researchers continue to record losses in plant and animal populations. Insects are no exception, and several recent studies that use long-term data sets show a marked reduction in insect abundance. A variety of factors contribute to these insect declines, including the loss of habitat, pesticides, invasive species, and, increasingly, climate change.

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<em>Aronia melanocarpa </em> (chokeberry)  

Small Native Shrubs to Replace Commonly Used Exotics

By Sarah W. Middeleer, ASLA

What do Japanese spirea, burning bush, boxwood, and forthysia all have in common? They are all non-native common garden plants that can be invasive and do not support native pollinators. Growing native plants helps foster biodiversity, feed bees, and other pollinators.  Many of our northeastern native shrubs are fantastic substitutes for commonly used exotics. 

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Monarch Butterfly on rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) Photo by Nick Novick 

North American Prairie Species of New England

By Neil Diboll

Many flowers and grasses commonly associated with Midwestern prairies also occur in the meadows of New England. Some species are widely distributed throughout the region, while others are only occasional or rare. Most are more common in the prairie region, but some are abundant in the Northeast.

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Forest Savers LLC from Woodstock, Vermont uses a custom-built tractor to uproot and shred invasive shrubs at the Oyster River Forest in Durham, NH as part of a 60-acre restoration project to restore a healthy native plant community to benefit pollinators, songbirds, and the state-endangered New England cottontail. 

Reducing Invasive Plants and Recovering a Healthy Plant Community

By Ellen Snyder

In southeastern New Hampshire, where I work with landowners and communities on land stewardship, managing invasive plants is a constant struggle. As the Land Stewardship Coordinator for the Town of Durham, I’m guiding three restoration projects on town conservation land. It was hard not to be overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of invasive plants on all three properties. To avoid invasive paralysis, I keep my focus on the goal: restoration of a place to a mostly self-sustaining, healthy plant community.  The reward is a restored landscape brimming with native plants and native beneficial insects. 

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