Posts

The Plight of the Bumblebee

How many of us were out in the garden last fall, watching the bumblebees nuzzling the aster and the goldenrod. “Other pollinators may be in trouble, we thought, but the bumblebees are doing just fine.” Well, they’re not.

Keep Our Native Plants Humming – Video Recording and Plant List

What you can do to support native bee pollinators in your landscape. Video recording of the October 2019 Lisa Loftland Gould Lecture by Dr. Gegear. Native Plant list by bee tongue length.

Native Bee Research at URI. You can help!

Thanks to Dr. Steve Alm, Professor, Department of Plant Sciences and Entomology, students are conducting important research on native bees. Most recently is the work to survey bumble bees in Rhode Island. They are looking for citizens scientists to help collect data. Please see the flyer.

Welcome to the Native Jungle, Where Local Birds and Bees Thrive

In her recent article in EcoRI, Welcome to the Native Jungle, Where Local Birds and Bees Thrive, RIWPS member Anne Raver, writes about why she chooses to plant natives.  Anne, a Warren, R.I., resident and longtime gardener, has written about landscape and the environment for more than 30 years.

May 26

When you stop thinking about plants as pretty outdoor furniture on a green rug, and see them as complex organisms that feed thousands of beneficial insects, birds and mammals, your garden becomes another universe.

My husband and I moved up from an old farm property in Maryland to a sunny corner lot in the middle of Warren, R.I., a few years ago, and decided to devote most of the space to a large kitchen garden, surrounded by plants that would feed and shelter wildlife.

We kept some of the old plants that were here: a gnarled cedar tree, purple lilacs, a magnolia, and two purple smoke trees that edged the yard, as well as the horse chestnut and craggy catalpa near the house.

But we took out almost everything else: a couple of Japanese maples and peonies, German irises, hybrid tea roses, burning bushes, and a severely clipped row of yews alongside the house.

We dug up a good part of the lawn for our vegetable garden, another swath for prairie flowers such as Joe Pye-weed, ironweed and rudbeckias, and another for what must look like a collection of weeds — goldenrods, little bluestem, river oats, milkweed — and sticks — native viburnums, birch, beach plum, staghorn fern, high bush blueberry — to our neighbors, because they are still too young to look like anything else.

They can’t see what we see in our mind’s eye: these plants as they develop and fill in over the years, providing a lush and beautiful habitat for insects, birds and animals.

It’s easy to get inured to the grim statistics: 95 percent of the wilderness that once lay across the continental United States is now covered with cities and suburbs, 30 million acres of lawn, highways and malls, industrial parks, landfills, and many forms of agriculture.

That leaves just 5 percent for wildlife. No wonder half the bird species of 40 years ago have disappeared. Or that more than one-third of North American birds, 432 species, are at risk of extinction.    Read more….

Events

How Native Plant Cultivars Affect Pollinators – Lisa Lofland Gould Lecture

How Native Plant Cultivars Affect Pollinators

Native plant species are often recommended to provide optimal foraging and nesting habitats for pollinators and other wildlife. The growing demand for native plants, coupled with the horticulture industry’s desire for plants with unique characteristics, has led to the increased breeding and availability of native cultivars or “nativars”. But do native cultivars provide the same valuable habitat as the straight native species? Annie White will share her field research on this topic and discuss the complex benefits and challenges of using both native species and native cultivars in landscape design.

Annie White is an Ecological Landscape Designer and the owner of Nectar Landscape Design Studio in Stowe, Vermont. She is also a full-time Lecturer of Sustainable Landscape Horticulture + Design at the University of Vermont.  Annie earned an MS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in 2005 and a PhD in Plant & Soil Science from The University of Vermont in 2016. She is passionate about designing cutting-edge and science-based ecological landscapes at all scales—from urban backyards to rural agricultural landscapes.

This lecture is underwritten by the Lisa Lofland Gould Native Plant Program Fund and cosponsored with the Rhode Island Natural History Survey and University of Rhode Island, Master Gardener Program. 

 

Registration for this webinar is through University of Rhode Island Webex system.  REGISTER NOW 

Workshop: Become a Citizen Scientist for the Bumblebees

Join Dr. Robert J. Gegear from UMASS Dartmouth for a workshop on what you can do to maximize biodiversity conservation in your own backyard by creating and sustaining pollination systems at risk of local extinction.

Dr. Gegear, who spoke at the Lisa Lofland Gould Lecture in the fall of 2019 about his research on the decline of bumblebees, and how citizen scientists can contribute to his Beecology Project, will lead this four-hour workshop on how to collect data on these species, take photos and/or videos of them, as they gather pollen from native plants, learn to identify them and note their behavior.

Participants will also learn how to assess the ecological value of pollinator and plant assemblages at different spatial scales, select native flowering plant species that maximize biodiversity, and hone their skills for contributing to the Beecology citizen science project.

The workshop will be in the meadow of long-time RIWPS member, Susan Marcus. Bring your lunch. We will provide iced tea, lemonade and water.

Rain Date. September 26, 2021 at the same time, 10 am to 2 pm.

Suggested resource: The Plight of the Bumblebee, article by Anne Raver about Dr. Gegear’s Lecture

Fee $25.00 RIWPS members, $33.00 for non members.  Not yet a member? JOIN NOW
Limit of 15 participants

Registration required.

 

 

A CONVERSATION WITH DOUG TALLAMY (Program for RIWPS Members)

Watch on Recording of Previous Programs/Events

Join a conversation with ecologist Doug Tallamy, as he discusses his latest research and most recent book, Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard. RIWPS member Anne Raver will lead off with some key questions about Tallamy’s work over the past 20 years, including his vision for a Homegrown National Park, which could grow to millions of acres, if individuals exchanged at least part of their lawns and many of their nonnative ornamentals, for native trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses and groundcovers. These native plantings provide crucial habitat for many endangered species, including pollinators and birds.

But that’s only part of Tallamy’s vision: imagine connecting your yard with your neighbor’s, and on down the street, planting natives in the green verges along the sidewalks, on the edges of public playgrounds, in parks and countless other spaces now occupied by privet, yews, Japanese maples and all the other nonnatives that native insects can’t eat.

RIWPS members will have a chance to submit their own questions to Tallamy, a tireless speaker and educator, and longtime professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.

Anne has followed Tallamy’s work, since she interviewed him about his first book, Bringing Nature Home, in 2008, during a visit to his 10-acre property in Oxford, PA, where he and his wife, Cindy were then battling invasive species and planting their first natives. (see interview)

Tallamy’s new website, www.homegrownnationalpark.com, summarizes much of his research, lists the most important native species to plant for wildlife, offers a collection of essays and videos, and includes an interactive map, in which you can register your own native habitat.

Register below to join A Conversation with Doug Tallamy. We ask that participants prepare for this conversation by  familiarizing themselves with Doug Tallamy’s work, his books, especially Nature’s Best Hope, and watching one or several of his videos, available on Homegrown National Park ,which bring

to life the fascinating relationships between particular insects and the plants they evolved with through the millennia. (Tallamy loves photographing these weird and wonderful caterpillars, moths and butterflies, and his love for them is contagious.) He also recounts gardeners around the country, who report astounding rebounds in insect and bird life, as they transform their yards for native species. (One woman, observed 103 species of birds, including a woodcock, on her one-tenth acre, adjacent to O’Hare Airport, in Chicago.) A recent webinar for Penn State, not on the website.

Sumbit your questions in advance to communications@RIWPS.org

• Not a member?  Join now
• Not sure if your membership is current. Contact office@RIWPS.org

IT IS NO LONGER POSSIBLE TO REGISTER FOR THIS PROGRAM