Backyards and Mass Migrations

Cell phone snap shot of the upper pond at The Clifton Institute. Protecting and creating habitat for migrating species.

Last week I finished reading No Way Home by Dr. David S. Wilcove. In brief, this book is about the decline and extinction of the phenomena of mass migration. Plus much more.

I used a little over 19 page flags in various neon colors and every few pages I found myself looking around for the highlighter which I was always sitting on. I enjoyed the book and at the conclusion I felt I learned a great deal about places I have never been and can’t see myself ever going to, like the deserts of Africa or the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I conversed with friends who had also joined in this Clifton Institute Book Club read about my over all impression. Which was, that the book is wonderfully accessible to the interested layperson with out missing the opportunity to teach. It wasn’t until I watch Alison Zak’s interview of the author that I realized there was an even greater message. When I heard it, I got goose bumps and immediately knew I had to share.

Approximately 18 minutes into this 30 minute interview Dr. Wilcove pointed out that the individual can take action. I had not even thought to ask myself what can I do. The problem seemed so large, so global, unreachable for someone like me. I put the book down thinking I am glad I am a bit more educated. What I should have done was ask, “What can I as an individual do to help stave the loss of the mass migration phenomena?”

Dr. Wilcove’s answer, create places of respite in your yard by planting native plants!! I say to myself in a scolding voice, “Why did this not jump off the page as I read? How could I miss this?” Of course we as individuals can drive positive change by planting milkweed (Asclepias) for the Monarch, and filling our yards with woody shrubs like Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) producing berries that ripen just in time to fuel migrating song birds.

So as we go into this July 4th weekend of celebrating this great nation we live in. I encourage you to walk around your yard, no matter how big or small, find a naked spot that could use a plant, and head to your local native plant nursery. Buy five of the same species of plant. Set them in well dug holes (twice the size of the growing container) in a grouping of five, water deeply. Now sit back, enjoy, you just took action to improved this planet we call Earth!

And while you’re admiring your new plantings watch Alison’s interview. It’s wonderful, and informative even if you have not read the book, yet.

Interview by: Alison Zak of The Clifton Institute | Author: Dr. David S. Wilcove | Publication: No Way Home

Published by Ahimsa Native Plants & Design LLC

Creating habitat in the home landscape.

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