Friday, August 24, 2012

Homegrown National Park

 Have you ever wondered how you can make a difference in the world?  News of the world can be overwhelming and as individuals our efforts can appear insignificant or fruitless.  However, take a cue from nature.  An individual ant cannot move a large grasshopper or traverse a wide gap in the terrain, but working together by the thousands, ants can move the insect and create a bridge of ant bodies to span the gap.

Below is a citizen-science project where anyone of any means can become involved to help wildlife and plant communities across our country.  Efforts can range from the size of a flower box to entire tracts of varied habitat.  Here at the Francis Beidler Forest, we protect the old-growth, cypress-tupelo swamp, but we are also restoring grasslands and longleaf pine forests.  Your efforts might not match our scale, but they will be no less important!  See Richard Louv's proposal below for ideas on how you can become involved and create a Homegrown National Park.

Excerpts from:
The New Nature Movement
Field Notes from the Future: Tracking the Movement to Connect People and Nature
by Richard Louv

How to Create a Neighborhood Butterfly Zone — and a Homegrown National Park

Our goal was to revive our struggling yard by planting part of it with species native to the San Diego bioregion, and support native birds, butterflies and bees (especially the California species; honeybees are, in fact, not native) and other insects essential to pollination and migration routes. These, in turn, nurture and grow wild populations of animals and plants.
Gulf Fritillary - Ricky Covey
Tallamy, chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware and author of “Bringing Nature Home,” makes the case that everyday gardeners are the key to reviving urban biodiversity – maybe global biodiversity.

As I quoted him in “The Nature Principle,” Tallamy argues convincingly that it “is now in the power of individual gardeners to do something that we all dream of doing: to ‘make a difference.’ In this case, the ‘difference’ will be to the future of biodiversity, to the native plants and animals of North America and the ecosystems that sustain them.”

He’s not only referring to our gardens, but to your yards — a massive replacement of traditional lawns with attractive and productive native species.
But if we want to build our continent’s biodiversity, that information should be readily available to everyone, and part of a larger campaign to create, say, a Homegrown National Park made up of tens of thousands of miles of back yards that would serve as a new kind of wildlife corridor. That’s what Tallamy would like to see happen.
“The single most effective thing we can do is build biological corridors that connect isolated habitat fragments,” Tallamy wrote in his email. “That will take the collective effort of all the landowners in between any two fragments. At the level of the individual, if each person manages his or her property as a living entity instead of an ornament, we would be there.”

The suburbs have more lawns, but the goal could be pursued in urban neighborhoods, too, through portions of community gardens and public parks, window boxes and rooftop gardens.
But the act of creating a backyard wildlife habitat (as the National Wildlife Federation and Audubon have suggested for years) does capture my imagination, especially if our yard is part of a new nature movement that not only conserves but “creates” nature.

1 comment:

bennysmith said...

Like the butterfly, they are alluring!