Beginning tonight, at midnight, the first Seattle City Nature Challenge begins. Launched last year as an effort between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this year it’s expanded to 16 US cities, including Seattle, which I’m organizing.
The City Nature Challenge is a nationwide urban bioblitz for anyone and everyone to participate in. Together, we can help document the urban nature of Seattle for science. Anyone can be a citizen scientist from April 14-18 and it’s very easy:
- Download the iNaturalist app (available for Android and iOS)
- Get outside and take photos of everything in nature; moss/lichen/birds/insects/plants/sea life/etc.
- Record your photos as observations in the iNaturalist app
You do not know what it is you’re taking photos of, others on iNaturalist can help identify it.
If you do not have a smart phone, no problem. You can take photos and post them on…
This post was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.
This year I had the opportunity to read several excellent books ranging in topics from vampire squids to garden insects. Here are five of my favorites, some which are older, some newer, but all very interesting.
Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Little, Brown and Company
September 17, 2013
When I heard the author of one of my favorite books, Crow Planet had a new book in the works I was very excited. This new book was as fascinating and really fun read. It’s written in the form of the ancient bestiaries and features a great many urban animals that we admire, hate, see and don’t see. There is a great deal of information about each animal featured, some of which you will find very surprising. The author…
- Backyard Botanists – Naturalist program tills new generation of gardeners:: “The Cape Fear backyard naturalist program aims to promote environmental stewardship and educate residents of New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties about the plant and animal species in the Cape Fear region.”
- Why we must protect our local pollinators:: “The San Juan Islands are enjoying a relatively early spring green-up, flush with wildflowers such as blue camas and yellow buttercups, and all are abuzz with nectar–and pollen-loving insects. It is time to think about how colorless and tasteless our lives would be without pollinators.”
- Jo’s Mini Meadow 1 – How I transformed my lawn into a beautiful NearbyWild:: “It is early spring and my mini wildflower meadow looks much like the other lawns in this suburban neighbourhood: short grass! But look closer and you can see the leaves of Cowslips, some with flower heads, Common…
- Bees buzzing at city haven:: “A wildflower haven created earlier this year beside one of the city’s main roads is proving to be a blooming success for bees.”
- Richard Mabey: in defence of nature writing:: “Not since John Clare lambasted Keats for metropolitan sentimentality has there been such an unwarranted attack on the integrity of nature writers.”
- Urban Habitat Project at the Central Terminal:: “We can take urban spaces, make them beautiful, and at the same time help with stormwater runoff, protect pollinators and other valuable urban wildlife.”
- New Orleans already taking steps to use rainwater to help residents, the environment and the city, officials say:: “New Orleans already is taking steps to adopt or implement sustainable strategies to deal with the city’s surplus stormwater, including developing rainwater storage areas on abandoned lots and developing new zoning regulations…”
- Living Roof Research Blossoms At Melbourne University:: “The Biodiversity…
If you visit London, you may just notice trails of flowers winding through the city humming with pollinators. River of Flowers is the brainchild of Kathryn Lwin and while started in London, it now winds through much of the U.K. and is currently expanding into Europe and North America. The idea is simple and starts with the desire to create a connecting pathway of flowering plants for pollinators. Then you find and map three wild spaces in the area and finally partner with the local community to plant the areas in between with flowering plants.
In more detail however, they provide a number of guidelines on their websites which address the pollinators needs more than simply providing flowers. Among those are using “native, wild plants of known origin”, being pesticide free, connecting of wild spaces to urban spaces to food spaces and being properly maintained.
The most important objective in the management of the environment must the the maintenance of biodiversity and the habitats that support it, because without this we cannot survive.
When a book has a quote like this, it’s a must-have for me. Ecosystem Services Come to Town: Greening Cities by Working With Nature is a new book by Gary Grant, published last year by Wiley-Blackwell. It’s an excellent overview of urban design which features a topic near and dear to this blog, urban biodiversity. Too many books on urban design focus on solar power, alternative transportation, energy efficient buildings, zero waste and other buzz words but leave out the rest including habitat and plants. With the subheading of ‘Greening Requires Greenery’ in the conclusion, Grant illustrates perfectly something I’ve been trying to say for a long time:
Remember that a city, neighborhood or building…