Conservation Corner by Suzan Delozier
UPDATE ON MONARCHS
In Mexico, the wintering health of monarchs is measured by the area in hectares that they occupy (one hectare is approximately 1.47 acres). This winter the area occupied is 2.91 hectares, down 27% from the previous winter. It is likely that an extreme ice storm early in last year’s spring migration is at least partly the cause of the decline. However, the decline is not as severe as scientists feared. Monarch Joint Venture states that a minimum area needed for a stable population is 6 hectares and that an additional 1.6 billion milkweed stems are needed along with a diversity of nectar plants. Please consider putting common milkweed (Ascelpias syriaca), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and/or butterfly weed (Ascelpias tuberosa) in your garden along with some beautiful nectar plants. See http://monarchjointventure.org/get-involved/create-habitat-for-monarchs for help creating a habitat for monarchs.
Mid to late March is when the butterflies depart their winter sanctuary and begin their flight north. Both host and nectar plants are needed by monarchs and other butterflies and pollinators. The Monarch Watch web page http://monarchwatch.org/garden/plant-list-monarchwatch.pdf is an excellent source for identifying host and nectar plants that are suitable for northeast gardens. The Xerces Society has a plant list for the Mid-Atlantic States located at http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/MidAtlanticPlantList_web.pdf. Report your sightings of monarch butterflies, caterpillars and milkweed to Journey North at http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/monarch/SpringWatch.html .
WEBSITES FOR BIRDERS AND GARDENERS
Cornell offers websites to enhance the enjoyment of birds year-round. On www.yardmap.org you can map your garden and create a bird friendly habitat. www.ebird.org allows the birder to keep track of checklists while contributing to citizen science. During the fall and winter, you can record the birds at your backyard feeders with Project Feeder Watch located at http://feederwatch.org/ (the only site with an annual fee).
“Jersey-Friendly Yards – Landscaping for a Healthy Environment” (www.jerseyyards.org) is a project of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Barnegat Bay Partnership and Ocean County Soil Conservation District. The goal of Jersey-Friendly Yards is clean water for drinking, fishing, swimming as well as for wildlife and the environment. It has a Jersey friendly plant database, a Jersey friendly interactive yard tool, information on rain barrels, lawn care, pollinators, pest management, and much more.
A WEBSITE DEDICATED TO FORESTS
American Forests is an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring forests not only in wild places but in urban environments. Its website is www.americanforests.org/ and contains mounds of information on the relationship between forests and life on our planet. It has a question and answer page about tree care, a carbon footprint calculator, and an action center to enable citizens to become involved. And if someone says to you that planting trees does not benefit people and the planet consider these few points.
- A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and can sequester one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.
- One large tree can provide a supply of oxygen for two people.
- The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
- In one day, one large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air, thus providing a critical link in our weather patterns. And there are many more such facts on the website. THINK GREEN – PLANT A TREE!
Government Links: Unsure about how to contact your elected officials on those important conservation issues? Want to learn when the next election is? For answers to these and many other government-related questions, check out the New Jersey Citizens' Guide to Government here.
Also, you can view our list of local state senators and assembly people by clicking here.
10 simple things you can do to help the cause of Conservation:
The following 10 suggestions will help you to become a better steward of our natural resources and in most cases help you to save money as well. Each item on the list below is something that only requires a little effort on your part to make a big difference in the environment. Each of us can make a difference no matter how small you start.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs - They are more expensive to start but they will save you money and energy in the long run.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper - You are saving paper resources and have a better product.
- Mow your yard less - Instead of mowing every week, mow every other or plant grass that needs less mowing.
- Compost grass clippings and kitchen scraps - You can save valuable landfill space and provide valuable nutrients for your soil.
- Replace or fix leaky faucets - Water is expensive and more than a gallon of water a day can be lost from a leaky fixture.
- Plant a tree - You can help offset the CO2 emissions by simply adding a tree or two that will lower CO2 and increase oxygen.
- Buy recycled and recyclable products - Recycling uses less energy and saves CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Recycle!
- Buy used products or reuse old products - Yard sales or eBay can be great places to pickup used tools, dishware, etc.
- Go Green for Electricity - Switch to an electricity provider that uses renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal.
- Use Mass Transit - Even if you only use it one day a week or carpool one day a week you can save hundreds of pounds of CO2 per year.
Contact the Conservation Committee: If you would like to contact the club with suggestions, pictures (large files) or information about our endangered habitats and planet, please click on the following button.
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