Certify Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat with Another Organization

With the recent announcement of the partnership of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and ScottsMiracle-Gro came a lot of disappointment among supporters, many became so upset they have returned their NWF backyard wildlife habitat signs which certify their backyards as wildlife habitats and meeting the requirements of the NWF. In response to that disappointment I've created a list of alternative options to the NWF certified backyard wildlife habitats that I know of that provide similar involvement from supporters who care deeply about the preservation of their communities and backyard w...
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National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Scotts: Disappointing and Disturbing News

National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Scotts: Disappointing and Disturbing News
This past week I became aware of some shocking news: both the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Scotts Miracle-Gro was proud to announce they were partnering. In their press release on January 18, 2012 stating, The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and ScottsMiracle-Gro are announcing a new partnership to advance NWF's nationwide Be Out There initiative to connect children with nature. As the national presenting sponsor, ScottsMiracle-Gro will enhance NWF's programs to create green spaces and attract wildlife to backyards and communities across the country. "During our support of the...
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Pollinators in Our Gardens: Butterflies and Moths

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and graceful of all pollinators. Through providing safe habitats we can also support the roles that butterflies play in pollination. Butterflies need flowers in full sun that are protected from wind, preferably away from roadways. About 75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators and over 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, about 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals. The rest are insects such as beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies, and moths. And, worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, b...
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Great News: Predator-Proof Fencing Helps Ground Nesting Birds in Hawaii

Formed entirely by volcanic action about 4,000 km (2,400 miles) from the nearest continental land mass, Hawai`i is the most isolated group of islands in the Pacific. Except for the Hawaiian bat, no terrestrial mammal naturally colonized the islands. Isolated from the enemies of their ancestors, Hawai`i's native plants and animals gradually lost their natural defenses against mammalian predators. With human settlement in Hawai`i many predator mammal species were introduced; mice and rats (carried on early sailing ships), cats (soon after Captain Cook), and the mongoose (intentionally introdu...
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Water Table and Runoff

Several years ago in front of our place the county brought in some heavy equipment to clean the ditches that run alongside the road. They brought in backhoes, dump trucks and a grader. Being a man I just watched them - not thinking too much about it because I had to go to work shortly. A few days later as I was mowing the lawn (we were renting at the time and that was part of the agreement - personally I don't want a lawn) in the waning light of evening it struck me that what they do to maintain these roadside ditches is really environmentally unsound. There had been some grass growing a...
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Using Tools: Digging a Trench with a Spade

Using Tools: Digging a Trench with a Spade
The other day I was digging a trench to run water into the new laundry here at Earthaven. The trench was to be at least 18" deep to get it below frostline and had to run about 25' to the main water line and remove enough earth to be able to tap into the main water line. All told I would remove over 37 cubic feet of earth (about a third of a ton) - mostly red clay. Fortunately, the red clay was soft and the spade could slice through it easily. It would take me three hours working at a moderate pace to accomplish. My spade blade is 9" wide by 12" long. It would take two blade lengths to g...
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Are Fungi Good for Plants and Trees?

Are Fungi Good for Plants and Trees?
Over the years, I've resigned myself to the fact that Mother Nature has an intelligence that far surpasses human intellect. For instance, what we think we know about good gardening practices goes entirely down the drain when we examine the interactions of micro-organisms in, or lacking, in our garden soil. Ignorance, or the absence of knowledge about soil organisms and their functions, is probably the most common condition among average people and gardeners. We know much more about NPK and which chemicals kill insect pests than we know about the beneficial organisms naturally occurring in s...
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The end of gardening… time to tend your nets

The end of gardening is here, at least for this year. It is time to clean up, let the earth rest and plan for next year. For us it was a pretty bountiful year and we had a little bit to clean up. With winter approaching it is time for us to tend our nets. Years ago there was a saying that when the fisherman couldn't fish they would tend their nets. The same applies here. We won't be able to garden any more so it is time to look to your tools, garden supplies, garden structures and other things. The reason you want to look after these things is that if not taken care of their life may be ...
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