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USVLT Reads - June
Doug Tallamy, a professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, has asked us a poignant question and offered a solution all under one cover. "Worried about the planet? Change starts in your yard!" In Nature's Best Hope - A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard, Tallamy lays out the history of the lawn, how the lawn is considered a biodiversity desert, and the science behind how large swaths of lawns are an overall environmental nightmare.
Tallamy also inspires! He provides the tools to identify key species that can provide food and shelter to upwards of 400 species of 'good' insects, birds, and other species - from a single plant! He lured me in by telling me that I could plant one native, say a beach plum or black chokeberry, which both host over 400 species. And if I watch and wait, I will see native species return - like the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail or the beautiful azure-colored Banded Purple Admiral butterfly. I was moved by some of Doug's stories. He did get into some political rants. If you want to skip the rants and get right to the good stuff, you can read the new kids' version, Nature's Best Hope - How YOU Can Save the World in Your Own Yard, adapted by Sarah L. Thomson.
Here in the White Mountains, we are fortunate to live in one of the most forested regions in the United States. We have so much wildlife and nature around us that we are often underwhelmed when small plots are cleared here and there for the next house or much-needed business. However, we can suddenly realize that the cumulative area of clearing has resulted in some significant wildland loss. As climate change begins to impact communities around the globe, one action that has begun to spread as a positive solution is the rewilding of one's lawn. To some, a wild lawn may seem untidy, a sign of low standards, surely a lack of discipline! To others, it has become a sensible solution, a time and resource saver, a creative outlet, and something that has brought connection, a sense of belonging, and more joy than lawn mowing ever brought.
Even if you don't read the book, consider adding a new native or two to your plot of land, and see what lovely wildlife visits. I planted a couple of black chokeberries on my sandy soil, and I am watching daily. It brings me so much joy and I feel connected to the land in a new way.