Category Archives: Nature Notes

Nature Notes 10: Leave the leaves

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

December 2ndth, 2019

Leave the leaves!

As 2019 draws to a close, you can help birds and pollinators (and save yourself some yardwork!) with some simple actions.

  • In your yard:
    Leave the leaves — and everything else! Beneficial insects (those that eat garden pests, pollinate flowers and vegetables, and feed birds) need shelter through the winter just like people do. They hide in the soil under leaf litter, between layers of bark and wood, in rock piles. Many pollinators also spend the winter in hollow standing stalks of woody shrubs. Birds depend on these insects for food through the winter and into the spring. Help them survive by leaving your garden natural this winter!

  • On your balcony, porch, or window:
    Many people help winter birds with feeders, but did you know you can also ensure a good crop of wild fruit and seeds next season by raising mason bees? These efficient early spring pollinators are safe and easy to raise, and their shelters take up no more space than a bird house. This is the time of year to start — call your local nurseries and farm supply stores to see if they have mason bee cocoons and nest supplies in stock.

Nature Notes 9: Helping protect the environment one choice at a time

A pollen-covered bumble bee visits a native Tiger lily flower

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

July 1stth, 2019

Helping protect the environment one choice at a time

Summer and vacation season are in full swing! As we head to the beach though, we are also hearing story after story of an environment in trouble. The good news is that there is a lot we can do. From the plants in our yard to the type of sunscreen we wear, our daily choices really do matter.

Planting with native plants has a cascading effect that makes the urban environment healthier for wildlife. Non-native and invasive species mean less food for insects, which in turn means less food for birds and fish. Invasive species are everywhere, even on EMSWCD grounds. Last summer we fought a large tree of heaven infestation; this summer we have manually removed English ivy, nutsedge, mullein, white sweetclover, yellow oxalis and several other invasive plants. Removing weeds by hand whenever possible is both good exercise and far better for the environment than using chemicals.
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Nature Notes 8: Plant Sales, Cultivars and Neonicotinoids, oh my!

Red flowering currant

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

March 26thth, 2019

Plant Sales, Cultivars and Neonicotinoids, oh my!

Spring is here and it’s time to get those native plants in the ground! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for that perfect addition to your native plant garden. Read more

Nature Notes 7 – Leaves and snow

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

November 30th, 2018

Natural Leaf and Snow Management

Tempted to pull out that leaf-blower for one last fall clean-up? Please consider raking instead. Not only are leaf blowers noisy, they are also very bad for the environment and human health.


Did you know…

  • Two-stroke engines emit hundreds of times more air pollution than cars. This pollution contributes to global warming, smog and acid rain.
  • Air pollution also raises risks of cancer, heart disease and asthma, especially in children.
  • The forced hot air damages plants and soil organisms, and compacts soil which makes plants more vulnerable to summer drought.
  • Electric leaf blowers create less air pollution and are somewhat quieter, but raking is still a better alternative.

leaves with beads of water

Leaf cover is beneficial for the soil and also provides habitat for many pollinators and beneficial insects – leave those leaves!


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Nature Notes 6 – Winter gardening for birds and pollinators

Honey bees visit late-blooming Douglas asters

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

October 15th, 2018

Winter Gardening for Birds and Pollinators

The goldenrod has gone to seed, and honeybees are scouring the last of the fall asters. Here at EMSWCD, we employ a few simple practices to reduce the fall garden work and help birds and pollinators survive the winter. Read on to learn what you can do!


Did you know…

  • Birds feed on seeds and insects through the winter. In the spring they will need lots of insects to feed their young. You can help birds by leaving lots of habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects to shelter safely through the winter.
  • Adult butterflies, ladybugs, and many other beneficial insects overwinter in rock crevices, under bark, and in leaf litter. They lay their eggs in stems, on twigs, and under leaves. Pollinators and their larvae shelter in hollow standing stalks, and beetles take refuge in clumping grasses.
  • A natural winter garden is a healthy pollinator hotel!

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Nature Notes 5: National Pollinator Week!

honey bee visiting blanket flowers

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

June 18th, 2018

June 18th-23rd is National Pollinator Week!

This week, EMSWCD is celebrating all the things pollinators do for us, and all the things we can do for them.


Did you know…

  • One third to one quarter of our food – and nearly all our flowers – depend on pollinators! Do you want to live in a world without chocolate or coffee? Without roses or honeysuckle? Neither do we.
  • Wild pollinators are more efficient than honeybees, so many crops produce higher yields when wild bees are present.
  • Wild pollinators are generally less aggressive than honey bees, since most are solitary and don’t have a large hive or store of honey to defend.

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