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Host Plants for Butterflies

By Stacey Wildberger – January 2017

Everyone has heard about the decline of our most iconic butterfly, the Monarch due to loss of habitat, insecticide use, predation, climate change and a major decline in their host plant-milkweed due to wide spread herbicide use. Milkweed is the only plant a monarch can lay their eggs.  What many people don’t realize is that most butterflies require a specific plant to lay their eggs on. These plants are known as host plants and they provide food for the caterpillar.  While it is important to plant lots of nectar plants for the adult butterfly it is just as important to plant hosts plants for the babies!

Butterflies require several things to raise their young and survive as adults- host plants to lay their eggs, water source for puddling and receiving nutrients and finally nectar plants to sustain themselves in adulthood. We are going to look at the many plants you can add to your gardens to provide a nursery for our Lepidoptera. Read More

These are a Few of My Favorite Books

By: Stacey Wildberger – December 2016

The holidays are coming and you are probably trying to figure out what to get the ecologically-minded people on your list this year.  I have compiled a list of my favorite books for every nature loving conservationist on your list, and for those of you looking to be inspired to action!  Happy Holidays!!

  1. A Sand County Almanac by: Aldo Leopold – “There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot” – Aldo Leopold.  I am one who cannot.  As one of the cornerstones of modern conservation, this collection of essays is a must read for not just the conservation minded of us but everyone.  I believe it should be required reading for our young people.  It will truly inspire and ignite a passion for conservationism, a desire to protect that which is natural and a feeling of empowerment that our actions can make a difference.   Aldo Leopold is considered by most to be the father of wildlife management system of the U.S.  He was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer and outdoor enthusiast.  A Sand County Almanac shares stories, triumphs, and failures of the ecological restoration experiment his family embarked on when Leopold bought a worn out farm in Baraboo, Wisconsin: it examines the human relationship to the natural world.  One of the most telling examples of that relationship is the essay Thinking Like A Mountain-it tells of Leopold watching the ‘green fire’ die in the eyes of a wolf and how changed his perspective on wildlife management.  His original feeling was that fewer wolves meant more deer and more deer would be a hunter’s paradise but years later as he reflected on that day he realized that neither the wolf nor the mountain viewed it the same as he witnessed the destruction on the landscape by too many deer.  There should be a balance and harmony between man and nature.

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Oyster Habitat Interview with Larry Jennings

By: Stacey Wildberger – November 2016

Our community recently partnered with Biohabitats to come up with a plan to restore our beaches so that residents will be able to enjoy them for many years to come. We are fortunate to have water privileges such as community beaches, fishing piers, boat docks and the beautiful wildlife that comes with those areas. We have witnessed over the last 25 years erosion of our beaches from Lake Claire to Little Magothy to Main Beach. Now is the time to take action before the damage is irreversible.
Biohabitats presented concepts for all the sights in the community where action is needed—for a total of 7 project sites. The next step is for Biohabitats and the community to work with various state and county offices to see which of the concepts are feasible and what if any financial help we can expect to receive. The CSCIA board wants input form the community as well. The presentation from Biohabits was videotaped and is currently available for viewing on the CSCIA website.  CSCIA is asking for your comments and feedback.

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Backyard Birding

By: Stacey Wildberger – October 2016

There are many reasons people choose to feed birds and create bird-friendly habitats in their own backyards: from aesthetics, connecting children with nature, and conservation, or just personal enjoyment of birds. While placing a few feeders around your yard is a good start, birds require more than just seed provided in a feeder. They need food, water, shelter and “greening”.

Did you know that 96% of birds rely on insects to raise their young, and it takes more than 5,000 caterpillars to raise one clutch of chickadees?! By growing native plants you can provide the needed food for adults as well as baby birds. Where do all those caterpillars come from that are needed to feed birds’ young? There are many native trees that support hundreds of species of caterpillars and other insects. Oaks support over 500 species of caterpillars, cherries and willows support over 450 species of caterpillars, and birches support over 400 species. Many native shrubs produce fruits that birds love, including blueberries, viburnums, chokeberry, hollies and winterberries.

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Re-Thinking Your Fall Chores

By: Stacey Wildberger – September 2016

It seems like just yesterday I was anxiously waiting spring and the new growth of the garden, the buds bursting forth, and the beautiful blooms opening and now suddenly fall is right around the corner. What better time to start thinking about fall cleanup in the garden and around the yard, but STOP-not so fast on some of those traditional garden chores. If you want to create ecofriendly yards that sustain wildlife, support biodiversity and protect our pollinators there are some simple things you can do to help.

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