Friday Film:: Bringing biodiversity back into cities

This video discussion took place at the recent ICLEI Urban Nature Forum in Belo Horizonte, Brazil this month and discusses the value of urban biodiversity and how to bring that diversity back to the cities. It’s presented by the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Oliver Hillel discusses how nature used to be in the cities and how we simply have to stop impeding it and let it back in. However, many of our systems are so changed that they now need to be managed to restore nature by bringing in new infrastructure. He also discusses how cities are laboratories for innovation and the importance of education by bringing nature back into cities so people are aware of biological processes and how dependent we are on them.

From the website::

Cities, ecosytems and biodiversity
Bringing biodiversity back into cities
Keith Tidball in conversation with Oliver…

Continue reading →

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


Continue reading →

Urban Species Profile:: Swifts

Swifts are one of the few birds that can draw crowds like rock stars. Their roosting is one of the greatest migration wonders of the natural world and they often choose to share it with us in the urban world. Several species of swifts are well known to roost in chimneys, often where many people have a chance to watch them. On the west coast of North and Central America Vaux’s Swifts roost in chimneys along their migration route. East of the Rockies, a similar species, the Chimney Swift does the same thing. They roost communally, often by the thousands and they all descend into their roost site at the same time creating a huge spectacle. At several urban sites people will gather numbering from the tens to the thousands to watch the swifts descent into a chimney. In Europe and Asia the Common Swift

Continue reading →

Pollinator Pathway: bringing pollinators to a Seattle neighborhood

The Pollinator Pathway is planned along a one-mile stretch in Seattle from Seattle University to Nora’s Woods replacing grass strips with pollinator gardens. The brainchild and creation of Sarah Bergmann, the Pollinator Pathway currently consists of two installed gardens with another 16 planned and has 20 total homeowners signed up to participate. I visited one of the gardens where Sarah was kind enough to meet me and tell me all about this fascinating project. The first garden was installed in July of 2008 after much planning and work and has been a great start with a lot learned. The gardens are created for the space between the sidewalk and the street and range in size from 4′ to 12′ wide and for the most part are currently grass.

At one end is Seattle University which has been a supporter of the project, themselves having a number…

Continue reading →

Urban Species Profile:: Common Nighthawk

NighthawkThe Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) is a small, highly camouflaged bird that is most active at dusk. They are not hawks, but are instead in the nightjar family. They breed throughout North and Central America and spend the rest of their time in South America. The Nighthawk is often also called a bull-bat while the Spanish name for it is añapero yanqui and it’s called bacuaru-americano in Portuguese. In recent years they have started vanishing from the cities and there has been a general decline in nighthawk populations throughout North America. The foremost explanation for this is a change in roof construction from gravel to a rubberized surface. The rubberized surface is considerably too hot for eggs, which also roll around on the flat surface and there is no camouflage from predators. Additional threats include the use of pesticides, habitat…

Continue reading →

Why? Ecosystem Services:: The Pollinators

The first question many people will ask when you tell them you want to create habitat is why, which often comes before the how. It’s important to formulate an educated response to the why whether it’s a homeowner or city planner asking. There are many answers to that question and I plan to address many of them in a series of posts starting with this one. Among the answers are ecological benefits, education, human benefit and many that fall in all categories.

Lets start by looking at ecosystem services which can be defined as environmental services provided by an ecosystem that renders benefits to the human population. Among some of the ecosystem services provided include air and water purification, timber supply, flood control, pest regulation, soil enrichment, pollution mitigation, pollination, seed dispersal and slowing the hydrological cycle.


Pollination is a major ecosystem service performed by a multitude of species including a…

Continue reading →