Help scientists by becoming a citizen scientist! A new citizen science program, Project BudBurst, asks citizens to collect data on when their plants first bud out or flower (details vary depending on the kind of plant being studied.) It’s free and easy to participate. For more info…
The gardener and global warming
The National Wildlife Federation has developed a guide and some fact sheets concerned your landscaping and global warming.
- Booklet: The Gardener’s Guide to Global Warming (a large .pdf file)
- Factsheet: Global Warming Grows Trouble for Gardeners
- Factsheet: Signs of Global Warming in Gardens
- Factsheet: Gardener’s Role in Reducing Global Warming
Your landscaping can reduce your energy needs
Trees counteract global warming in multiple ways. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the leading contributor to global warming, and as trees grow they remove CO2 from the atmosphere, storing the carbon and releasing oxygen. A single tree can remove more than a ton of CO2 over its lifetime.
You can reduce your energy use by the proper choices in landscaping. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of a building’s heating and cooling costs.
Shade provided by trees reduces summer air conditioning needs. According to the USDA, the cooling effect of a healthy tree is equal to 10 room-size air-conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
Trees reduce the “heat-island” effect in urban areas, where summer temperatures are generally warmer than the surrounding countryside.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, 50 million strategically placed shade trees could eliminate the need for seven 100-megawatt power plants. Additionally, trees around homes and in cities slow cold winter winds, reducing the need for winter heating. This relief on fuel consumption for heating and cooling helps reduce CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels.
Here’s some more information:
- Landscaping for Energy Efficiency from the US Department of Energy
- Energy Efficient Landscaping booklet from the Kansas State University
- Landscaping for Energy Efficiency from the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab
Lawn and landscape care
Reduce your lawn so that you need to use your lawn mower less: lawn mowers produce more pollution than even cars produce. Instead, plant native plants and bushes that provide important habitat for wildlife.
Leaf blowers are another source of pollution: leave the leaves as mulch in planting beds, and rake the leaves that fall on your (greatly-reduced!) lawn area.
Our yards are key to preserving biodiversity. Read more about Gardening for Life by Douglas Tallamy, then learn more by reading his book Bringing Nature Home.
Why not create a Certified Wildlife Habitat! In addition to conserving energy and preventing pollution, it will create much-needed habitat for birds, butterflies, toads, and other creatures.
And you can also help Monarch butterflies by creating a Monarch Waystation. Why is this important? Because of the rapidly increasing loss of their habitat, especially that special plant monarchs need: milkweeds. By providing milkweeds and nectar plants, and by eliminating insecticides you can not only experience the beauty of butterflies in your yard, but you can also preserve this beautiful creature for future generations. More info on monarchs and Monarch Waystations …
And don’t forget our pollinators! Not only are they responsible for much of our food, but they are the foundation of our ecosystems. Provide nectar plants, nesting spaces, and again – no pesticides. For more info, visit the Pollinator Partnership or Xerces Society. And you can download a FREE Ecoregional Planting Guide for Pollinators customized for your region!