Conservation and good gardening practices are very important in a community such as ours bordering on a large important body of water. What we do in our own yards has an impact on our environment and especially on the health of Long Island Sound. And all this has an effect on our own health.
Check here for interesting conservation facts, information on Stamford recycling and links to other sites focused on preserving our natural world.
Nature.org’s blog, “Recovery: Bringing Back Bumble Bees”
North America could lose many of its roughly 4,000 Native bee species. For example …of the 46 indigenous bumble bee species in the U.S. and Canada, 28 percent are at some risk of extinction… On June 23, 2017, a bill to better regulate neonicotinoid use — Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2017 (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3040/text/ih?overview=closed&format=xml)— was introduced in the House by 30 cosponsors. While the feds aren’t doing much to recover native bees, there’s a great deal the public can do. Native bees need only three things — flowers, nesting sites and a pesticide-free environment. Provide these, and they will come. To learn what to plant for native bees check out the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Resource Center (https://xerces.org/pollinator-resource-center/).
The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, inc. conducts “The Living Earth” Environmental Studies School (ESS). It is composed of a minimum of forty hours of study of specific units divided into four courses. Each course of ten hours (which includes a two-hour field trip) is scheduled on two weekdays. The courses investigates AIR, LAND, AND WATER and the units are divided into Ecology, Environmental Science, Life on Earth, and Earth Stewardship. The courses may be taken in any order. The schools are open to the public as well as to garden club members. The next two-day course is Course II, Series 3, “The Living Earth-Land and Related Issues” at the Kellogg Environmental Center, September 28-30, 2016.
Bird Habitat Established by SPGC
The SPGC took on a project to establish a bird habitat located at the southernmost corner of West Beach Park on Shippan Point in Stamford, Connecticut. This site is located on one of three public beaches in Stamford, enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors yearly, and is part of the City of Stamford Public Park System. The restoration of this portion of the beach received approval from the Parks and Recreation Commission, as well as the adjacent private homeowners. The project, an area in excess of one acre, was overgrown with invasive species including, but not limited to, Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven), Artemesia vulgaris (mugwort) and Rosa multiflora. The SPGC manually removed the offending plants, avoiding use of chemicals because the property is within 50 feet of Long Island Sound.
The SPGC began the project with an initial clean-up day on Saturday, November 3, 2007, with more than 20% of our membership and two dozen Shippan Point residents participating.
REMINDER: Connecticut invasive plants and Connecticut endangered plants should not be planted in your garden. Invasive plants spread, often profusely. They can take over and destroy native plants that are most beneficial to wildlife and plant diversity in our State. While adding endangered plants to your garden might logically seem to increase their numbers, the problem is where they are sourced. Buying them encourages nurseries to sell them which may mean they have been taken from their native habitat.
What we’ve done and continue to do:
- Educate our members and the community about environmental issues.
- Created a bird habitat at West beach.
- Attend FGCCT sponsored Environmental Studies School.
What you can do:
In your garden:
- Grow and fertilize organically; chemicals end up in the Sound to its detriment.
- Use compost tea and natural fertilizers.
- Add plants that support bird and wildlife habitat.
- Invite lacewings and lady bugs, which eat destructive aphids, by planting bright flowers.
- Stop slugs with eggshells, grit or children-friendly pellets around plants.
- Plant native.
- Establish rain gardens to avoid runoff into the Sound.
- Install permeable hardscape (driveways, walkways, etc.) for less runoff.
- Do not put grease down the drain; it can cause clogs and backups that eventually inpact Long Island Sound.
- Reuse plastic. Large plastic bottles with the bottoms cut off make mini-greenhouses for seedlings.
- Recycle as much as possible; With mixed recycling, Stamford makes it easy!
- Buy locally; support farmers’ markets.
- Buy products with less packaging, especially plastic.
- Carry in reusable or paper bags.
Helpful Links and Articles
- Why Recycle
- What can be recycled in Stamford
- Article: BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag: A Growing Trend Around the Sound by Maureen Dolan Murphy
- Smart ways to reduce stormwater runoff into the Sound
- Save the Sound
- The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut
- National Audubon Society Bird Info and Web Cams
- Bird Guide, Sounds and Webcams at Cornell
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s YouTube Channel of all bird videos
- Audubon Greenwich