This spring you will see countless butterfly garden articles using words like nectar, pollinator, and flowers. What you might not see in these documents are words like native, habitat, and caterpillar. While providing pollen is laudable, you are not being a very good host if you don’t provide food for the butterfly through all 4 stages of its life cycle: egg, larva, chrysalis, and adult.
The butterfly has been poetically called a flying flower. In reality, it is an insect, which, in its adult stage, lives 2-6 weeks. Nectar-rich plants like echinacea, coreopsis, and lantana attract the beautiful fluttering adult. However, the challenge is to provide specific foods for the caterpillar, the larval stage of the butterfly.
The caterpillar eats voraciously for 9 – 14 days in order to grow and molt 5 times before its attaches to a host plant where the pupa skin hardens to form the enclosure where metamorphosis takes place. Host plants to include in pots and beds this summer are parsley, dill, fennel, and passion vine.
The most important host plant to include is Asclepias or milkweed, which is absolutely critical to the survival of the monarch butterfly. It’s the ONLY plant the monarch larvae eat, and the ONLY plant they will lay their eggs on. As Southeasterners, we must plant milkweed to insure the survival of monarchs which travel from as far away as Canada through Georgia to overwinter in Mexico.
Make your garden monarch/butterfly-friendly by planting butterfly weed, A. tuberosa, common milkweed, A. syriaca; or swamp milkweed, A. incarnate, which can be grown from seed or purchased at nurseries. Join us this Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at 11:00 am, at the Roswell Adult Recreation Center, to make Milkweed Mud Pies to get started growing milkweed at your home. To register for this free program, either call the ARC @ 770-641-3950 or register on line by clicking here and choosing June 9 National Garden Week Topic.
Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants says, “Because life is fueled by the energy captured from the sun by plants, it will be the plants that we use in our gardens that determine what nature will be like 10, 20, and 50 years from now.”
Make your contribution to the future; plant native milkweed to help ensure the survival of the butterfly.
Get a good start by reading circular 975 at extension.uga.edu/publications.
This year EarthDay.org is collaborating with people around the world for three days of climate action. April 20 is the Global Youth Summit led by Earth Uprising & the We Shall Breathe Hip Hop Caucus; April 21 is Teach for the Planet led by Education International; and April 22 Earth Day Live starts streaming at 12:30. All of these events can be streamed on earthday.org. Earth Day also marks the start of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on the Climate.
While I was checking out what was going on for Earth Day, I came across earthday.org’s 51 Ways to Restore our Earth. As I was reading the tips, I realized it’s pretty simple to start making a difference every day. I picked out a few to start with, and I encourage you to try some, too. We only have one earth, and we need to stop trashing it right now. Here’s my plan:
- Take earthday.org’s zero-waste challenge: The first step is to commit yourself to logging each and every item of food for a whole day. Start with breakfast and include everything, even the snack you have in the middle of the night. Compile all of your packaging and food waste, and then take a hard look at what you have: Is there a lot of plastic? Are any of your food scraps compostable? Are your leftovers stored in plastic or glass containers? Once you know your food habits and the waste you produce, you can start making some adjustments. For example, you can swap out daily yogurt cups for one larger container to reduce the total plastic used. But don’t stop there — keep going! The folks at earthday.org have some recommendations to support your waste transformation.
- Take part in the Great Global Cleanup. You’ll find suggestions for individuals and groups on the earthday.org. I’d be interested in plogging (picking up plastic litter while jogging), but I don’t jog. I’ll have to stick to plalking (picking up plastic litter while walking)
- Try a foodprint calculator https://www.earthday.org/foodprints-calculators/ or foodprint quiz https://foodprint.org/quiz/ to see how the food you eat impacts the earth. I took the foodprint quiz and found out I’m not doing too bad, but I definitely have room for improvement–especially if I do everything I said I do when I took the quiz. After you take the quiz, you’ll see your general score and detailed suggestions for improvement. Here’s some improvements I’m jumping on:
- Meatless Monday…I’m in. And let’s add those Rosemary Beans to the menu
- Cut your meat serving-size in half
- Stop buying individually packaged items
- When my plastic storage containers wear out, replace them with glass
- No straws unless they are re-usable
I was going to say I have my work cut out for me, but really, all I need is a more informed, intentional approach to some everyday activities. Join me and let’s restore our earth!
BTW, the beautiful featured image for this post is from Share America. You can download it for free at https://share.america.gov/earth-day-2021-download-free-poster/
Capitol Conservation Day 2021 (Virtual)
WHEN: March 3, 2021
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Capitol Conservation Day 2021 will be a virtual event. Click here to register https://tinyurl.com/yav7yra8 Click here to become a sponsor or make a donation https://www.gawater.org/donate
Join us to get the information you need to make a difference for cleaner, more plentiful water in Georgia. We will virtually come together on March 3 using Zoom.
Experts from the Georgia Water Coalition will brief you on important legislative issues. Then you will put your new skills and information to work! Following the event, meet with your local legislators virtually to advocate in support of important legislation.
Register early so that GWC can match you with fellow constituents and assist in scheduling a group virtual meeting with your local legislator.
Please consider sponsoring Capitol Conservation Day for $150 or donate any dollar amount to the GWC to support our ongoing efforts to protect Georgia’s essential surface water and groundwater resources.
Sponsors will be recognized during the event.
As rising temperatures bring attention to the problem of global warming, society becomes more involved in ways that the carbon footprint may be reduced. Restaurants commonly choose not to provide straws, the vegan community has grown, and local produce is becoming more readily available, for example at the Roswell Farmer’s and Artisan Market. There are, of course, still the basic approaches, such as opting to walk or bike ride over drive, as well as recycling. The term “reduce, reuse, recycle” has been prevalent in society for some time, and has been taught to young ages. But what can happen when we go about this the wrong way?
Using recycled materials lowers a need for exerted energy on extraction of new material; this in turn lowers carbon footprint. Unfortunately, the emphasis on the need to recycle has clouded people’s judgement on what to recycle. Although your Friday night pizza may have come in a cardboard box, it is tainted by grease, which will affect the recycling process. Other items become contaminated, therefore making them no longer recyclable and increasing waste. Roswell could, however, create separate bins for composting the greasy parts, perhaps even located at various pizza chains so that they are easily accessible. Cut up your pizza box and recycle non-contaminated parts while bringing contaminated parts to pizza compost bins, which could be taken to compost piles help with decomposition of organic material.
Another common misconception surrounds recycling Styrofoam. Although the bottom of the egg carton may indicate that it is recyclable, many places, Roswell included, do not have the machinery to separate Styrofoam from all other materials. Styrofoam is a type 6 plastic, making it hard to break down. It is also very porous making it easily contaminated and not easily cleaned. As a solution, it can be overall reduced or simply reused. Opt for different methods of carry-out meals or use reusable insulated cups instead of Styrofoam to keep your drinks warm. Another option, similar to that of the pizza compost box, is to have stations where Styrofoam can be returned, as many manufacturing companies accept used material and turn it into packing peanuts.
Recycling reduces carbon footprint, however it must be done properly. Educate Roswell and create options for proper recycling in order to improve the world we live in before it is too late.
Is Styrofoam Recyclable?
Photo by: Unsplash
It’s needless to say that there’s no shortage of plastic in the Roswell area.
Between the sheer amount of straws given out at restaurants to the load of plastic bottles you can find on the side of the road, there’s no doubt that we need to make a change.
However, while some may struggle to see that we need to make changes in our lives to help the environment long term, others may find it difficult to actually make the change.
So, we’re throwing it back to elementary school and reminding everyone of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
I know, I know, it’s something we were taught at a very young age, right?
As we get older, the three R’s slowly slip into the back of our minds. I mean, we no longer do those big earth day projects anymore, do we? That’s why it’s important that we keep the three R’s in our heads at all times, as it’s one of the steps towards a greener future for us and generations to come.
So, let’s start off by talking about the most well-known R: Recycling.
For any of those unfamiliar with recycling, it means “the action or process of converting waste into reusable material”.
Here in Fulton County, we can recycle metals (aluminum, steel, tin), glass (bottles, jars), plastics 1, 2, 5 (including grocery bags, bubble wrap, and shrink wrap), and cardboard.
And, while it’s great that so many people in Fulton County recycle, we could take it a step further—which brings us to our next R: reusing.
For example, instead of recycling cardboard, you could find another use for it. You could use it for storage or as a way to mail gifts down to family and friends. As for plastics, you, too, could use it for storage (for cereal, snacks, etc.) and other household needs. And, for all those Pinterest lovers out there, Mason Jars have a variety of uses.
While reusing is another amazing way to help the environment, we could take it even further than that. How, you may ask?
We could reduce our use of single use items. Yes, I know, it seems impossible, doesn’t it? Well, it may be easier than it seems.
For those who haven’t heard of reducing, it means to “make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.”
If we were to stop purchasing one-use items, such as Q-tips, straws, and water bottles, we would be a few steps closer to being eco-friendly.
If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to make the switch (or worried about the cost of going eco-friendly)—you don’t have to worry. After all, you can make small switches along the way, rather than completely giving up everything at one time.
In order to make the switch, and help the earth in the long run, you need to go into it with an open mind and positive attitude. Instead of fearing the change, be open minded. Remember that you’re doing this for future generations, wildlife, and, most importantly, to save your earth.
You may be one person, and while that may not seem like a huge difference, one person is all we need to get more on board with the idea of a greener and brighter future.
Below, we’ve compiled a short list of links to eco-friendly switches you can make from your average, every day, one-use products. With your help, we can end climate change and lower our carbon footprint.
I want you to think about the question “Why I am helping the environment?”. For a lot of people this question is difficult to answer because they may not help the environment or not ever think about it, and if you are one of those people here is the answer. We need to help our environment so we as the entire humanity can have a better future. Remember that this is the place that you are going to invite
What is the point of destroying your home and not having another place to live in
your children. Remember that their future is located in their home, and I don’t think someone can have a future when it does not even have a home. You are choosing between letting the kids live and die. Trust I know that those words are really strong but this is the reality. Right now we can have the chance to repair some of our environments and if we don’t take this chance these kids may not have the best future in life. If you ask Why? Here is your answer if we don’t change the way global warming is going. These kids would not be able to stop it. It’s like writing with a pen you can not erase, and yes you can cover it but it is always going to be in there. So let’s stop covering these problems and let’s try to repair it. Remember that humanity is strong and we have changed the way we do things all the time. Let’s become more modern and not just use the thing in our home. Let’s also keep our home stable, and ready for the future that comes. So be ready to help the earth and be ready to give them the future that they deserved. Let everyone say “I pledge to protect and conserve the natural resources of the planet earth and promise to promote education so we may become caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.” And also let’s all find a better and more modern future for the good of our children, for the good of our home, and for the good of the entire humanity. I hope you help our generations to find a future.
Lets Learn how to protect the beauty around us
Now that we talk about why let’s talk about what we can do. Something that we can do is show care about it every time there is an election. Remember that the leaders would give us representation in the government. Which means that if we show care they would start to also show care about it. Let’s demand the care that this topic needs. Other activity that we can do is planting trees, but please do research to see if the tree belongs to your environment so you don’t create an invasive species. Other activity is recycling. This would help our future generation to have less starving communities because right now a lot of animals that we eat are dying because of contamination on water and earth. That is why after going into a park you need to remember to clean after yourself. Remember to stay safe and to help the future generations.