Conservation

Welcome to RGC Conservation. We hope to keep you updated on conservation issues both national and local, and to provide you with information that we find of interest in our effort to understand and improve our fabulous planet.

 

Conservation in the Garden
Now that fall is here, it is time to put away our gardens and get ready for the holidays.  There are two schools of thought about what to do with the garden for the winter: My husband’s and mine.  He likes everything raked up and all the plants trimmed back. I have learned that leaving the leaves down adds nutrients to the ground and that keeping the stalks on the native plants through the winter provides seed heads for the birds. Who will win this battle this year? I need to confess that I may leverage my husband’s love of birds to win the war. Stay tuned.

 

Ocean Pollution

The Democrat and Chronicle recently featured an article about the Washed Ashore artwork that is currently on display at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. Angela Haseltine Pozz, the artist behind this project, creates huge sculptures out of the plastic garbage in our oceans to educate the public about the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans.  Her sculptures are awe-inspiring. And I mean “awe” in the “Oh, my God, what have we done?” sense.  Please join me in reducing our use of plastics. You know the drill: cloth shopping bags, metal water bottles, metal or glass straws, reusable utensils, waxed cloth, etc.

 

Presents for the Environment
Think conservation when you are shopping for stocking stuffers or hostess presents. Shop locally or go on to Etsy is you want to personalize items or get them in assorted colors.

Reusable Item Replaced Item Local Source Internet Source
Metal straws Plastic straws Wegman’s Etsy.com
Glass straws Plastic straws Just Juice, 710 University Etsy.com
Metal thermoses Plastic bottles Parkleigh or Wegman’s Amazon.com
Waxed cloth Saran wrap Farmers’ Markets Amazon.com
Nano microfiber cloths Paper towels Not available locally Amazon.com
Shopping bags Plastic bags Wegman’s or Trader Joe’s Buy locally
Produce bags Plastic bags Target Amazon.com

 

Environmental Gifts
If you have some girls or women on your list who you give bigger presents to, think of Rothy’s (www.rothys.com). I have two pairs that I wore all summer and have just ordered a third. Not only are Rothy’s fashionable and comfortable but you can throw them in the washing machine. But the best thing is that they are made out of recycled plastic bottles.

 

Donations
And when you think about end-of-the-year donations, consider Washed Ashore, The Nature Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy of Central and Western New York, The World Wildlife Fund, etc.

 

 

Natural Tick Repellents:
1.  Plant your yard with plants that repel ticks include lavender, garlic, lemongrass, chrysanthemums (specifally the pyrethrum varieties), catnip, and beautyberry.
2.  Mow the grass frequently and very short.
3.  Use cedar chips.
4.  Use food grade diatomaceous earth to poison ticks. Apply it to pets. Use it diluted as a spray on yard and patio.
5.  Get chickens or guinea hens. They dine on ticks.

 

Environmentally Safe Weed Killer Recipe:
Mix in a sprayer:
1 gallon white vinegar
2 cups Epson salts
¼ cup blue Dawn detergent

 

Environmentally Safe Lawn Fertilizer:
Sprinkle granulated sugar on your lawn. It feeds the microbiomes in the soil so that grass thrives.

DEC Delivers –  Information to keep you connected an informed from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation:

NY State Expands Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

Departments of Environmental Conservation, Agriculture & Markets Expand Area Restricting Movement of Ash Wood to Slow Spread of Invasive Pest

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) today announced that eight existing Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Restricted Zones have been expanded and merged into a single Restricted Zone in order to strengthen the State’s efforts to slow the spread of this invasive pest.

The new EAB Restricted Zone includes part or all of Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chenango, Chemung, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Genesee, Greene, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Wayne, Westchester, Wyoming, and Yates counties. The EAB Restricted Zone prohibits the movement of EAB and potentially infested ash wood. The map is available on DEC’s website.

“The expanded Restricted Zone for the destructive pest Emerald Ash Borer will help to slow the spread of this tree-killing beetle, protecting millions of ash trees in New York,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC will continue our efforts to slow the spread of this beetle and do what we can to help communities prepare for EAB.”

“It’s critical that we continue to track the Emerald Ash Borer and adjust our efforts to combat and slow the spread of this invasive beetle that damages and kills ash trees in both our forested and urban settings,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “By expanding the Restricted Zone, we can ensure that EAB and potentially infested ash wood does not leave the quarantine areas.”

Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) or “EAB” is a serious invasive tree pest in the United States, killing hundreds of millions of ash trees in forests, yards, and neighborhoods. The beetles’ larvae feed in the cambium layer just below the bark, preventing the transport of water and nutrients into the crown and killing the tree. Emerging adult beetles leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inch long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. They may be present from late May through early September but are most common in June and July. Other signs of infestation include tree canopy dieback, yellowing, and browning of leaves.

EAB was first discovered in the U.S. in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. It was also found in Windsor, Ontario the same year. This Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash species (Fraxinus sp.) including green, white, black and blue ash. Thus, all native ash trees are susceptible.

EAB larvae can be moved long distances in firewood, logs, branches, and nursery stock, later emerging to infest new areas. These regulated articles may not leave the Restricted Zone without a compliance agreement or limited permit from the Department of Agriculture and Markets, applicable only during the non-flight season (September 1 – April 30). Regulated articles from outside of the Restricted Zone may travel through the Restricted Zone as long as the origin and the destination are listed on the waybill and the articles are moved without stopping, except for traffic conditions and refueling. Wood chips may not leave the Restricted Zone between April 15th and May 15th of each year when EAB is likely to emerge.

For more information about EAB or the emergency orders, please visit DEC’s website. If you see signs of EAB attack on ash trees outside of the Restrictive Zone, please report these occurrences to the DEC’s Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652.

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(Photo: Wendy Caldwell)

‘Monarch Butterfly Population Making A Comeback’
Dr. Oberhauser interviewed on KARE 11
Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 11:14 am in Monarch Conservation

The phenomenal boost in overwintering monarch butterflies has everyone optimistic about the recover of this insect icon. KARE 11 reached out to Dr. Oberhauser for her reaction to the good news released by the World Wildlife Fund last Friday.

Dr. Oberhauser cited ideal conditions in the monarchs breeding range as a major factor in the observed increase. The multitude of monarch conservation efforts by individuals and communities is sure to have played a role in the population rebound. However, as Dr. Oberhauser is points out, “we still haven’t reached the point where most scientists agree the population has long-term viability.” Continuing to increase habitat restoration efforts, especially on private lands and in marginalized areas like roadsides, will be crucial to monarch conservation in the near future.

 

‘Oasis Floral Foam: The Dark Side’
It turns out that the very thing we rely on to arrange flowers has a dark side. While none of us could imagine how to arrange flowers without Oasis Floral Foam, perhaps it is time we figured that out.

Oasis is made of non-biodegradable plastic and toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, carbon black, and other proprietary chemicals. The first two are known carcinogens! In fact, many floral arranging schools recommend that users wear gloves and wash thoroughly after handling Oasis. Breathing the dust is particularly dangerous.

Fortunately there is an alternative.  (Our Garden Club is not specifically endorsing this company, but we feel we should provide the company information and link in the interest of supporting conservation efforts, and letting everyone know alternatives exist.) Floral Soil™ is non-toxic and 100% plant based. It not only biodegrades, the components have been shown to improve soil. While I have not tried it, I do think we should look into it in an effort to save ourselves and our environment. For further information: www.floralsoilsolutions.com.

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Simply Natural
Floral Soil™ is a foam composite derived from renewable coconut husk waste.  There are no added colorants, preservatives, or fossil fuel based on chemical additives.