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Won’t You Help the Bees, Please?

Posted by on Apr 14, 2018 in Education, Living in CT, Seasons | 0 comments

Bees are one of the most intriguing living creatures in the world. These colorful, flying insects are essential to the well-being of man and to the survival of countless plant and animal species. Read on for a few of the top reasons we need bees and what you can do to encourage these precocious pollinators to populate your principality.

Bees are important in the pollination process. As flowers bloom, bees collect nectar and pick up pollen on their feet and wings. This pollen is then spread from one flower to the next, encouraging reproduction. Without bees, we would not have many of the seeds, berries, fruits, and nuts that man has come to rely on. Fox News reports that oranges, onions, cucumbers, blueberries, and cherries are part of a list of more than a dozen crops that would disappear completely if the bees vanished today.

Honey has medicinal benefits. Honey is the golden, sweet, and sticky substance derived as bees digest and regurgitate plant nectar. But it isn’t simply an additive for tea when you have a cough or sore throat. Raw honey contains antioxidants and flavonoids that may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers and heart disease. Additionally, honey contains a bee-derived enzyme rendering it a natural antibacterial.The WOUNDS Peer Review Journal released a paper in 2015 stating that, “honey is a biologic wound dressing…” Diabetics may be able to use honey in place of sugar or artificial sweeteners as honey’s exact combination of glucose and fructose encourage healthy blood sugar levels.

Bee pollen is considered a natural superfood and contains all the essential components of life. Young bees rely on bee pollen – the combination of honey and pollen from flowers – for life. Pollen is approximately 40% protein and contains all the essential nutrients humans need to survive. Interestingly, bee pollen cannot be accurately reproduced in the laboratory. Studies have found that the pollen can aid in the recovery of chronic illness, reduce cravings and addictive behaviors, and prevent infectious diseases. Locally-derived bee pollen is also useful in preventing seasonal allergies.

As much as they do for us, we should be greatly concerned that bees have been dying off in record numbers since 2006. The University of Florida explains that colony collapse disorder (CCD) has no singular known cause and is typified by mass and sudden loss. Though CCD is a widespread problem, there are things you can do right in your own backyard to help revitalize your local bee population.

Know what bees are looking for. Bees are quite simple, really. They need two primary things to survive: nectar and pollen. Nectar is the sweet liquid that bees harvest from flowering plants. Pollen is the powdery substance bees pickup as they scavenge for nectar. Providing bees with everything they need to survive and thrive is a simple as planting a garden, or urban garden. Use a variety of colorful flowers – bees are particularly attracted to white, yellow, and shades of blue, purple, and violet.

Use native plants that are attractive to all pollinator insects. Bees, along with bats and butterflies, are attracted to fragrant and colorful blooms. The Royal Horticultural Society UK offers a list of plants that will that attract bees, many of which, including common yarrow, are also native to the United States and bring a touch of elegance to any landscape. Plant in clusters and provide a range of shapes, sizes, and heights throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

While you may not single-handedly save the entire bee population, making small changes, and encouraging the same within your community, will go a long way toward ensuring the survival of this beneficial insect.

Protect Wildlife and Their Habitat

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 in Animals, Living in CT, Planting, Recycling | 2 comments

You can protect wildlife and their habitat with these great tips from Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust:



IN YOUR COMMUNITY

  • Support local & regional efforts to protect natural habitats and wildlife corridors (like the Southington Land Trust!)
  • Teach children respect for wildlife and wildlife habitats
  • Volunteer at your local nature centers and wildlife sanctuaries
  • Watch for wildlife when driving, especially at dawn and dusk. Remember, when one animal crosses, another may follow closely behind
  • Pick up trash during hikes
  • Buy local foods and goods
  • Buy organically grown produce to reduce pesticide runoff

AT YOUR OFFICE

  • Use energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Carpool, ride your bike or walk
  • Recycle and re-use plastic bags, and keep re-usable canvas bags handy
  • Shut your computer and printer down overnight and when not in use for extended periods of time

Nature’s Good Neighbor Policy

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 in Living in CT, Planting | 0 comments

Some ideas for helping create and improve habitat for native plants and animals.

1. Lawns. How much lawn do you really want or need? Lawns are the highest maintenance item in the backyard. Lawns require a lot of time, attention and money. They also are heavy consumers of water, a precious and limited resource. Perhaps you can downsize the lawn to a size you really use for play and picnics and make butterfly and bird friendly flower and shrub beds with part of the yard. Use native plants, the birds and insects need them!

Rain gardens are another wonderful way to reduce turf area. A rain garden collects the water from your roof and purifies it instead of allowing to flow into the storm sewer system and into rivers and streams carrying chemical residue. You can use sustainable practices to care for the lawn such as:

  • Have the soil tested prior to applying lime or other amendments.
  • Use slow release organic fertilizers in the smallest possible amounts. You may find out that the 4 applications fertilizer companies recommend is about double what is really needed. Treat weeds and insects only as needed and only narrowly targeted areas. Why spread expensive, potentially hazardous stuff over the whole lawn if just one area has a problem? There are environmentally safe solutions for most problems.
  • Mulch grass clippings and leave them on the lawn.

2. Using Native Plants Increasingly native birds, insects and amphibians are becoming endangered and species are being lost. Besides using sustainable practices, planting native trees, shrubs and plants can help stem the tide. Native plants in general require very little care. They thrive here because they belong here! The back cover has links to lots more information.

3. Invasive Plants Invasive species are an ever worsening problem. Seems there is a new invader every year and the existing ones are spreading. Sometimes we don’t realize how serious a problem they are until they are out of control. Asiatic or oriental bittersweet can turn a forest into a patch of dead trees covered with vines in a matter of a few years, for example. If you doubt it, look at the town open space that was Novick’s Orchard. The full size apple trees are still there, but they are all dead, smothered by bittersweet. Another plant capable of destroying a wooded area is winged euonymus, also known as Burning Bush. It seeds itself all over the landscape. Japanese Barberry is another such invader. Besides being invasive it has the unpleasant characteristic of harboring the mice who carry deer ticks. Whenever native plants are displaced by these invaders the diversity of native birds, insects and animals may be decreased and the ecosystem functions may be affected.

You can make your property a haven for wildlife, birds, butterflies and other pollinators.

You can make your yard part of a green corridor connecting similar habitats. This will have a profound impact on the environment here in Southington.

Our goal is to help you make your property more sustainable, more enjoyable and more beautiful. Southington Land Trust members, local master gardeners and Coverts Cooperators are all anxious to help you plan and create sustainable spaces in your yard. To help you get started:

DEEP lawn care

Invasive plants guide

Remove Invasive Plants

In addition CT Master Gardeners has printed information on these topics available on request. They
will also answer phoned-in questions.
CT Master Gardeners
Hartford County Extension Center
1800 Asylum Avenue
Phone: (860) 570-9010
West Hartford, CT 06117-2600

 

Trash for Cash!

Posted by on Jun 15, 2017 in Living in CT, Recycling | 0 comments

Did you know that you can recycle Trash for Cash?

Shianne Cutler recently met with the SCLT to tell us about a great program called TerraCycle. TerraCycle is an “upcycling and recycling company that takes difficult-to recycle-packaging and turns it into affordable, innovative products.”

Recyle it

courtesy www.terracycle.com/

So many products that can be recycled get thrown into the trash today. Perhaps because people don’t immediately see the harm to not recycling or the benefits to recycle, they don’t care or don’t want to make the effort. But consider these facts from the EPA:
Benefits of Recycling

  • Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and combustion facilities
  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
  • Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
  • Saves energy
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
  • Helps sustain the environment for future generations
  • Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States

And TerraCycle is offering another reason: Raising money for charity. According to their website they have given $15,623,511 to charities!

TerraCycle is Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the “non-recyclable.” Whether it’s coffee capsules from your home, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste. We partner with individual collectors such as yourself, as well as major consumer product companies, retailers, manufacturers, municipalities, and small businesses across 20 different countries. With your help, we are able to divert millions of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators each month.

– terracycle.com

Shianne earns points for her MS Walk team by collecting these “non-recyclables” and sending them to Terra Cycle who then gives her team points for these items that they can turn in to cash. If you would like to help Shianne…and the earth…please email theinspiredsoles@yahoo.com.

Click here for a list of acceptable items.

If you want to learn more about the program head to http://www.terracycle.com/en-US/.

 

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Recognizing Burning Bush

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Nature of the Month, Planting | 0 comments

Burning bush are invasive species and home owners are encouraged to remove them from their property and wooded areas as they take over space needed for native plant species that support native animals.

The State of CT highway department no longer plants these along the highways after determination that these are invasive!

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has prohibited nurseries from selling burning bush in Massachusetts because of the invasive determination.

Water Conservation – what can I do?

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in Education, Living in CT, Planting | 0 comments

black-eyed-susans-and-grassesWater has entered my conversations a lot lately. It comes up when I walk at the West Hartford Reservoir with my best friend and we discuss the news of the MDC sale of water to the Niagara bottling company, it comes up when I catch up on another friend’s daughters, one in California and one in Texas both battling serious droughts and wildfires, it comes up when chatting with neighbors about their yellowing lawns. Water may be the next resource we begin to lose, and we should start now in our own backyards to use it wisely. (more…)

How Green is Your Yard?

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Planting, Seasons | 0 comments

How Green is Your Landscape?

Evergreens
Now is a good time to look around your yard to see how many evergreen plants you have growing. Evergreens not only provide food and shelter for wildlife but also provide color to brighten our winter days.
Click on this link to learn more: http://content.yardmap.org/learn/evergreens/

Contribute to the 2016 Town of Southington Plan of Conservation and Development

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Living in CT | 0 comments

You can contribute to the 2016 Town of Southington Plan of Conservation and Development. A meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 19th,  7 pm at the Municipal Center.  The draft plan is available for review online on the Town website. Click here to view. If you can, please attend! This is where you can make a contribution as to the direction Southington will move in  for the next  10 years.

Letter to the Editor: PZC chair urges public to stay involved in development plan

My Name is Jen Clock, I am currently serving on our Planning and zoning commission.


You may remember last year, around this time, our committee for the 2016 Plan of Conservation and Development held a public input meeting. The meeting was very well attended and valuable public input was taken.


Please read Jen Clock’s full Letter to the Editor here

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What are you doing with your leaves?

Posted by on Nov 7, 2015 in Living in CT, Seasons | 0 comments

leaves-wideAutumn leaves are everywhere.

The question is what are you doing with your leaves? Are you dumping them on the open space or pond behind or alongside your property?

Wrong. All leaves should be taken to the curb in front or along side of your home.

We, as Southington residents, are very fortunate to have free leaf pickup, and the schedule will be printed in the local paper.

If, for some reason, you do not make the deadline for leaf pickup in your neighborhood, leaves can be bagged and taken to the landfill on Old Turnpike Road.

Remember, you must empty the bags and take them home with you.

If you have a lawn service please let them know that your leaves should be put at the curb and not dumped behind or alongside your home.

There are no exceptions. You, as the homeowner, are responsible to advise those you employ.

Carol A. Langley,  Southington Resident/SLCT Member

Bursting with Color

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Living in CT | 0 comments

Autumn_Colours

Soon Connecticut will be bursting with color! Find out where the best views are in Connecticut, tips for leaf peepers and even learn why these beautiful colors show up each fall at the DEEP website

 

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