No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in an autumnal face. John Donne
This adorable autumnal face belongs to an eastern screech owl, a resident of the Mobile County Public Schools System’s Environmental Studies Center. Serving as a greeter to the many visitors attending the fall open house at the Girby Road facility, this little beauty does not exemplify the reclusive behavior of its fellow screech owls. Most screech owls will be heard rather than seen. Click on the following link to identify the calls of this petite raptor.
I feel more confident than ever that the power to save the planet rests with the individual consumer. – Denis Hayes
Who would have thought clothing choice could have a profound effect upon the planet? But, it does! Synthetic fiber is responsible for 70% of microplastics found in the oceans. Take a deep breath — you’ve just inhaled microplastic fibers! So Mr. and Ms. Consumer, start making natural fiber choices such as cotton, linen, and wool. Organic choices would be even better. Your grandchildren will appreciate your efforts. Learn more about microplastics at the following link
Of all the seasons, autumn offers the most to man and requires the least of him. ~Hal Borland
While the beautiful fall foliage may attract many admirers, some foliage should be admired from a safe distance. Such is the case of the above vine. The changing colors are attractive, the rash is not. This vine is poison ivy, all parts of the plant contain a toxic oil. An in other seasons, cautionary behavior in the fall is still required. Learn more about the plant at the following link. Poison Ivy
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came,—
The Ashes, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And every thing was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing;
Professor Wind, the band….
The sight was like a rainbow
New-fallen from the sky….
~George Cooper (1840–1927), “October’s Party,” c.1887
A ruby-throat arrives at the “October Party” to partake of the party favors-cardinal spear flower nectar.
Learn more about ruby-throated hummingbirds at the following site.
The air potato vine, Dioscorea bulbifera, is an invasive species, native to Africa and Asia. A member of the yam family, this dense vine can grow 8 inches per day! It can be recognized by its heart shaped leaves and aerial tubers formed in the leaf axils. Vines can grow as long as 70 feet. The aerial tubers can sprout while quite small and the underground tubers can grow to a size of 6 inches. This invasive smothers native plants and trees and should be removed from the landscape. For more information about this plant, click on the following link. Dioscorea bulbifera
The Chinese tallow tree, or Triadica sebifera, is a fast growing, short lived tree brought to the United States in the 1700s to provide oil for the soap industry. It has become a common invasive in the Southern U.S. The green seeds are easily spread by birds and sprout easily. Pull up the sprouts!
To learn more about this invasive species click on the following link.
The common garden spider, Argiope aurantia, is a striking and welcome addition to the garden. This beneficial eats lots of insects. Females build large webs and will bite if harassed. The venom is harmless, but the bite may be painful. Learn more about this beautiful arachnid at the following link. Argiope aurantia
Global climate change has become entangled with the problem of invasive species. A warmer climate could allow some invaders to spread farther, while causing native organisms to go extinct in their traditional habitats and making room for invaders. – Richard Preston
According to the USDA ( United States Department of Agriculture), an invasive species is, “an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health” as per Executive Order 13112: Section1. Definitions. There are many invaders on the Gulf Coast, among them, Lygodium japonicum, Japanese climbing fern. At every opportunity, remove this invader from the local landscape.
Learn more about this unwelcome visitor at the following websites.
Why do we send valuable items like aluminium and food waste to landfill when we can turn them into new cans and renewable energy? Why use more resources than we need to in manufacturing? We must now work together to build a zero waste nation – where we reduce the resources we use, reuse and recycle all that we can and only landfill things that have absolutely no other use Hilary Benn
While our ancestors were familiar with the “waste not, want not” ethic, the concept of zero waste is something that current generations must learn how to put into practice. “Dirt under the fingernails” gardeners are already at the head of the class – reuse and recycle are part of the daily gardening routine, with composting, keeping the weeds at bay with cardboard and layers of newspaper, and reusing all sorts of containers for seeds and cuttings common examples. Quirky and creative green thumbs rise to the challenge of putting odd containers to use. The above picture demonstrates how a can of spray paint and a graceful skirt provided by an asparagus fern and volunteer sweet potato vine can transform a leaky swimming pool sand filter into a handsome garden urn.
The United States makes up only 5% of the world’s population, but produces 30% of the world’s waste. Refer to the following sites to learn more about personal ways to build a zero waste nation. Some day, your grandchildren will appreciate your efforts.