Covering Ground

NASA photo of western hemisphere at night Birds, Nights, and Lights

It's May 1st as I write this. Birds are flying north again, as they have for millennia. 

Japanese barberry Put Invasive Plants on a Starvation Diet This Year

It's March, and I'm back to the annual ritual of cutting woody invasive plants to the ground. March, April, and May are "prime time" for a technique called carbohydrate starvation (a.k.a. root depletion). My top target is Japanese barberry at a local state forest where I volunteer. Other bad actors include burning bush, privet, autumn olive, and multiflora rose. 

Shirley McCarthy Branford Forestry Commission While Pundits Ponder the Value of Trees, the Trees Quietly Do Their Important Work

When my kids were little, they delighted in catching my attention by surprise, and then shouting, “Made you look!”

Perhaps billionaire Bill Gates was playing that game at a September 2023 conference when he called tree planting for carbon capture “complete nonsense.” He also said, “I don’t plant trees,” at a Climate Forward event held by the New York Times.

Brian Stewart has catalog 725 insect species in his quarter-acre acre yard Where Are the Bees & Butterflies in 2023?

If you're part of the nature-loving crowd, perhaps you're used to hearing laments on the state of the insect world, the plant world, or other aspects of life's big web. This year, many comments seem to go like this: “I haven’t seen a monarch.” Or “Where did all the honeybees go?” Or “We didn’t see a single bumblebee this spring.”

Sunken garden Harkness State Park Waterford CT What's to Love About Public Gardens? Start With the Colors.

If you're ready to indulge in botanical eye candy, take a road trip to a public garden. Below, learn about five in the eastern Connecticut shoreline area. Don't forget to take a look at the much longer list of ideas at the end of this post. 

Great spangled fritillary butterfly Is Your Yard Part of the Homegrown National Park?

Millions of people flock to the national parks each summer, seeking magnificent scenery and interesting history. But what if, instead, millions of people discovered the parklike nature of their own backyards and community open spaces?  

Tagged monarch butterfly, photo by Katja Schulz Wikimedia Commons Small Changes Help Small Creatures in a Changing World

How much do you think global warming will harm plant and animal species?

A representative sample of Americans responded to that question in a 2022 survey. A whopping 70% said “a great deal” (52%) or “moderately” (18%). Only 11% responded that global warming will not harm plants and animals in any way. 

Rain barrels connected in serial. Spring: Time to Collect Summer's Extra Water Supply

Connecticut’s climate could hardly be described as arid. In fact, historical rainfall averages 45 to 50 inches each year. 

But averages are meaningless when your summer gardens are going brown, and there’s no rain in the forecast. Historical records show our summers are often dry and sometimes for many weeks.

Kip Bergstrom of Old Saybrook is walking all 280 open spaces in southeastern CT. Where Shall We Walk Today?

I've frequented the woodland trails of southeastern Connecticut for many years and become proficient at researching new walking opportunities. Despite all my searches, I have never found any single source for a complete list of woodland walks. After all, open spaces have many owners, including state, municipalities, land trusts, and more.

Spotted lanternfly eggs photo by Luke Hearon CC 2.0 Fighting the Spotted Lanternfly in Winter

The flying scourge called spotted lanternfly was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, less than a decade ago. The insect quickly made headlines as it ravaged forests, farms, orchards, and vineyards around the mid-Atlantic states.