Leave the Leaves, Turn Out the Lights

Most people are aware of the global biodiversity crisis, the shocking declines of insects, birds, and other animals, yet many don’t connect it with life in our comfortable suburbs. Because everything is connected, what we do at home is more important than you might think. Anyone with a house and yard can take two actions that will immediately increase biodiversity by helping the creatures that share our neighborhoods: leave the leaves and turn out the lights.  I’ve never understood why sensible people would remove autumn leaves from under their trees and bushes, only to then pay good money to add mulch and fertilizer. Fallen leaves are nature’s combination fertilizer and mulch, full of exactly the nutrients trees and shrubs need. And regarding “messiness,” nobody walks through the forest preserves in autumn wishing someone would clear out all those darn fallen leaves. Those leaves are what make the outdoors comfortable for many animals, providing shelter, food, and habitat. Fireflies d

Do Your Backyard Plants and Animals Display Phenophases?


Of course they do. This is a blatant come-on for the USA National Phenology Network. As I wrote in Something New to Do With Your Lilacs, USA NPN is looking for citizen scientists to record observations of common plants at their website. The observations will be put in a database that will track the effects of global warming on these species. How will plants and animals adapt? Will they bloom earlier? Show up in our area earlier? This will be one way we'll find out.

I was just over at the site and they've redesigned it to make it easier to use, and have added selected animals to the species you can monitor. I've added bumblebees to my lilacs, but the Illinois list includes herps, birds and even white-tailed deer (hard to miss in my neck of the woods!).

I urge anyone in the U.S. with a concern about global warming and a garden or access to an outdoor area, wild or not, to take part in this effort.

BTW, my lilacs have leafed out. How are yours doing?

Comments

Martha Upshaw said…
Wow, Adrian! Enjoying reading your blog as I contemplate planting my flowerboxes on the balcony of our 18th floor highrise. I don't actually plant until after Mother's Day, but I like to think about ways I might make changes.
africanaussie said…
Thanks for visiting my blog Adrian, you have brought up some interesting topics, and I enjoy your quotes as well!
Martha,

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to know what you plant up there. Do you grow herbs as well as flowers?

africanaussie,

I'll visit again soon.