Foragings:: The latest news, resources, designs and more

News

  • Urban biodiversity beyond the grave:: This story from the BBC features a look at a documentary by a student titled Beyond the Grave. The film aims to show the importance of cemeteries as habitat in urban areas. Included in the story is a short video clip.
  • Urban Ecology:: While not a new broadcast, still an interesting one from NPR’s Talk of the Nation.
  • From Bees to Coral Reefs: Mutualisms Might Be More Important to Global Ecosystem Than Previously Thought:: an article from Science Daily that discusses the importance of one species to another and how they’re interconnected.
  • Parks and Partners To Celebrate First City Wildlife Sanctuary:: Seattle now has it’s first urban wildlife sanctuary in the city at Kiwanis Ravine where a Blue Heron colony is located.
  • Shop-bought wildlife shelters are waste of money, says consumer watchdog:: An article from The Telegraph shows that during a recent study store-purchased shelters were found to be used little or not at all. In a year-long study on a butterfly house, not a single one was seen using it as was the same result for a lacewing house. They also found home-made solitary bee houses were more successful than the expensive, store-bought houses.
  • Power lines ‘invisible’ to birds:: This article from BBC Earth News shows a new study which has found that some species of birds have a blind spot in front of them while flying. This poses new challenges for high impact areas because they also found that reflective markers on power lines aren’t helping these species.
  • Britons ‘terrified’ of the countryside, National Trust warns:: In a disturbing article from The Guardian, the National Trust discusses a trend of people who spend all of their time in the city are increasingly scared of the countryside and out of touch with nature. The National Trust is now launching a six-month study to investigate this trend.
  • Soaring sights: filming nature’s fliers:: This interesting article from New Scientist talks about a program in the Netherlands that has sent out 21 high-speed cameras to the public to record bird flight. The goal of the researchers is to capture on film what hasn’t been captured before. See a video of the story below.

Resources

  • Year Round Wildlife Value:: If you have some experience with wildlife plants, contribute your knowledge to Ecosystem Gardening.
  • Beautiful Native Shrubs for Birds: Winter Holly:: This plant profile from Beautiful Wildlife Garden features a winter fruiting plant which robins, cedar waxwings and white-throated sparrows love.
  • Lost Ladybug Project:: Participate in citizen science by submitting your ladybug sightings and photos to this project.
  • ARKive:: This is a wonderful project in the U.K. that aims at “creating the ultimate multimedia guide to the world’s endangered species.”
  • Urban Neighbors:: Another wonderful project, this time in New York, that aims to bring awareness to the many species living in the five boroughs of New York City.

Design

  • A green and living roof for wildlife brightens the heart of Soho::: a case study from livingroofs.org features a green roof designed to create habitat for the black redstart and invertebrates. The building structure doesn’t allow for much weight so the base is a sedum mat, with flowers mixed in and other elements such as dead wood. Bulbs and wildflower seeds were chosen to provide interest to nectar-loving insects as well as rare beetles.
  • Urban Hedgerow:: This new project features a number of fascinating people including Dusty Gedge who have come together to create Urban Hedgerow in an attempt to replicate hedgerows in an urban environment using vertical forms of varying materials.
  • Rain Gardens:: This collection of posts is from Inspiration Wall, a website by Lisa Town, and features a number of interesting rain gardens in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Klaas Kuiken Tile Birdhouses:: This project from Klaas Kuiken is really interesting in taking traditional roof tiles and replacing them with built-in bird houses.
  • Josh Keyes Art:: I’m always a fan of artists who find ways to blend the natural world with the built world and many of these paintings do a beautiful job.
  • Global Headquarters for Wildlife Conservation Society Sits Lightly on the Earth:: A case study from inhabitat looks at the new building that sits on the edge of the Bronx Zoo and how it’s designed to fit into the surroundings and features a large living roof covered in native plants.
  • A new video from Springs Reserve about backyard habitat which discusses the benefits of habitat as well as documents the Springs Reserve habitat. See below

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of NATURE OBSCURA: A City’s Hidden Natural World, coming April 1, 2020 from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, Popular Science, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction.

Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.
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  1. Carter Hartz November 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm · · Reply

    I absolutely love your blog. I wish every urban development would provide some type of urban wildlife habitat. Perhaps you’ve covered this in your posts, but I’d be curious to know if you believe providing urban habitats could make much of a positive impact on the rapid loss of animal and plant species that is occurring? Do you think green roofs could play an important role in preserving bird and insect species? I suppose much more work needs to be done to improve the connectedness of habitat areas in urban areas for animal movement, as well as the improve the opportunities for animals to hide, etc.

    • Hi Carter, thank you for the comment! I do think that urban habitats could make a positive impact. Granted, they can’t replace large-scale wetlands or forests, but many types of urban habitat together could be effective. Combining green roofs, planters, green walls, parks, yards, rain gardens, river banks and other available spaces could really make an impact, especially if planned to connect green spaces via corridors.

      I do think green roofs could benefit birds and insects, and in fact they already are playing an important role. In London, many green roofs are designed for the rare black redstart and are already successfully being used for nesting. Insects could benefit greatly from green roofs and some studies have indicated good insect and spider populations on various green roofs. Good design is important, specific species have different needs and there is no magic system that will benefit all.

      You’re absolutely right about the need to connecting habitat areas for movement and improving cover and shelter. There are so many opportunities out there, hopefully we’ll see more good designs in the future.

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