The Herbs Place :: A Touch of Nature - 9/1/04

A Touch of Nature - 9/1/04

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A Touch Of Nature
Donna L. Watkins, Editor
September 1, 2004 Issue

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What's Happening Here at Bluebird Cove

Welcome New Subscribers! We now have over 5,000 on this mailing list. We were over that a year ago but we had a program that didn't dump bad addresses. When we got the new program, we cleaned up the lists and lost a few hundred. We keep growing thanks to you wonderful people sharing with others!

We had Japanese Beetle problems this year, and had been praying for some natural predators and they began to arrive. The most interesting discovery was a most unusual bug. With a field guide, I discovered it was a Wheel Bug and part of their diet is Japanese Beetle larvae.

It's so exciting to see nature do its work if you allow it free reign. I know it's hard when you have something eating up favorite plants, but there's nothing more fun in your habitat than to see a natural order of things. A couple weeks ago Soldier Bugs started coming and we see them all the time now and they love Japanese Beetle larvae also.

Here's a link for the wheel bug. I chose the one with the best photo.

We're heading for West Virginia tomorrow morning. It's my birthday weekend and I'm excited to be headed for 'heavy duty' nature. West Virginia is Wild! It's not too far away since we live in VA, and on the way there we're going to stop at one of The Nature Conservancy's preserves to hike one of their new trails. We'll be visiting Warm Springs, VA. If you'd like to see what TNC has done for nature at this spot, here's a link.

Autumn is on it's way!
Plan outdoor family time today!

Critter Facts

Wildlife and Forestry Conservation Career

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Orangutans Could Become Extinct

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Orangutans could disappear within the next 10 to 20 years if illegal logging that is destroying their habitat is not stopped, according to a report.

Orangutans, close kin to humans, live only on Borneo and the nearby island of Sumatra. By some estimates, more than 80 percent of their original habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia has been destroyed, and deforestation has escalated with political and economic turmoil.

Anthropologist Cheryl Knott of Harvard University said loggers have infringed on the apes' habitat in Gunung Palung National Park, on the Indonesian island of Borneo. Some 2,500 orangutans -- about 10 percent of the world's remaining wild population of the apes -- live in the park." At the current rate of habitat destruction, orangutans could be extinct in the wild in 10 to 20 years. We must stop this trend -- the alternative is unthinkable," Knott, who has studied the park's apes, wrote in the October issue of National Geographic.

Those Amazing Birds!

Are Woodpeckers Rapping On Your Home?

Researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are studying damage inflicted on property by woodpeckers. Learn more about this problem, including the reasons why they may have selected your house, and find out about some possible deterrents at this website.

In many states bluebirds winter over if they have cover and enough food supply. If you want bluebirds in the Spring, why not get some nest boxes up now for the ones who are going to stay around?

These fellows like open country and tend to shun deep forests. They like roadside trees and orchards. We live in a wooded area and in the front where it's more open, they've nested in some of our boxes. Face the opening towards the south away from winds. This also keeps the box warmer in winter and for the babies in early Spring.

They begin to nest early. Here in Virginia we see nesting activity in February. Nest boxes should be placed 8-12 feet from the ground in an open area. They prefer a large territory so don't place the boxes too close. Four to six eggs are laid which are incubated for 12 days by the female.

The male takes charge of teaching the fledglings how to feed while the female renovates the nursery or builds a new one for a second brood. Food preferences include grasshopper, beetles, flying insects, caterpillars, berries and fruit.

Nature's Bounty For Us

Have You Heard the News on the Paw Paw Tree?

The Pawpaw made some headlines in 1992 when it was reported that a Purdue University researcher had isolated a powerful anti- cancer drug, as well as a safe natural pesticide from the Pawpaw tree. The substances are said to be primarily found in the twigs and small branches. The researcher, Jerry McLaughlin, revealed that it was because of some childhood experiences with eating the fruit that he had a feeling that there was something biologically active in the plant. Read more about this health-enhancing tree.

Nature's Sunshine has the exclusive right to distribute this patented product. Read more and/or purchase Paw Paw Extract

Gardening For Wildlife - Restoring the Balance

Wildlife Needs Dead Trees

We have some raccoons nesting in our front yard in a dead tree. I used to be so sad to see trees die and now I realize how much they mean to so many species that are living! I know that all things die, so I now look at the purpose of dead trees and can enjoy them as much as living ones. We leave ours standing. They are called "SNAGS."

Snags develop cavities which naturally or they are excavated by birds and mammals. Over 85 species of North American birds use cavities in dead or deteriorating trees. Snags also provide essential habitat requirements for cavity-using amphibians, reptiles and mammals, being used for nesting, shelter and feeding sites.

The removal of snags can negatively impact wildlife populations that are dependent on them as essential habitat components. Cavity nesters evolved in unmanaged forest stands where snags developed naturally. Snag and den trees are becoming short in supply as forests are being intensively managed and even in home landscaping. Many people don't realize the value of a dead tree in their yard.

Insectivorous birds such as woodpeckers and nuthatches depend heavily on snags as a source of food. These birds are also very beneficial to landowners since they help control unwanted insect pests in our yards. You can help these types of wildlife with these recommendations from the Department of Environmental Protection:

* Discontinue removal of dead, dying and decayed trees for use as firewood in areas where nest cavity sites are limited.

* Provide artificial nest cavities (nest boxes) if you don't have any snags.

* Set aside a percentage of your acreage to remain unmanaged.

* Bore holes in suitable-sized trees (at least 12" in diameter) where cavity availability is limited.

Nature Around the World

Jolts of Electricity Reviving Coral Reef

Covering a total length of nearly 1,000 feet, the Karang Lestari Project (" coral preservation" in Indonesian) is the world's largest coral nursery ever built using this technology.

Indonesia is home to 581 of the world's 793 known coral reef-building species, and most thrive in Pemuteran Bay. The area has long been a favorite among scuba divers, who will go elsewhere, affecting tourism, if the reef dies.

within days of receiving their first jolts of electricity, the bars grew a white limestone film. This covering provides the necessary substrate for coral growth. The grids were then seeded with small fragments of live coral, which begin to grow "between five and 10 times faster than normal, with much brighter colors and more resilience to hot weather and pollution," said a co-owner of the Taman Sari Cottages, an American who goes by the single name Naryana.

Vibrant colors and growth up to nearly a half inch in less than a month have been recorded. Grids that suffered power failures saw less vigorous development and duller colors.

" Today, the fish are back, including deep-water fish which come into the reef to rest during the daytime," Naryana said. The regenerated reef has attracted mobiel squid, cuttle fish, sea urchins and starfish. Batfish, damsel fish and cleaning fish also have clustered in the area, along with dense schools of snappers. Read the entire story

" Green" Info - Making It a Way of Life!

Hybrid Car Rental

EV Rental Cars opened its doors in December 1998 as the first and only rental company in the United States to rent environmental vehicles to the public. Currently they offer electric, natural gas and hybrid-electric vehicles.

EV Rental Cars' fleet has grown to more than 400 cars at twelve locations throughout the country. Airport locations include Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Ontario, Palm Springs, Burbank, San Jose, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, and Washington, DC.

EV Rental Cars' mission is to provide the most technologically advanced environmental vehicles to the general public as soon as they are available, to raise the awareness of the benefits of driving clean-fuel cars, and create a market for clean car technology. The company has prevented more than 40 tons of air pollution. Get more information

Sunshine Concentrate - Detoxify Your Cleaning!

This environmentally-friendly cleaning and washing concentrate is nothing less than wonderful!! We've used this for 15 years and love it for laundry, hand soap, pet baths, soaking produce, dishwasher, cleaning, and a multitude of other uses. This product has saved us hundreds of dollars over the years. Makes life much simpler and takes away the "itch" of chemical soaps. Read more

Musings Of Nature

" Nature never did betray the heart that loved her."
-William Wordsworth

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The content, suggestions, and web links in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not necessarily endorsed by our sponsor "The Herbs" This is a personal publication by Donna Watkins. The ideas and information expressed in it have not been approved or authorized by anyone either explicitly or impliedly. In no event shall Donna Watkins or" The Herbs" be liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from any action arising in connection with the use of this information or its publication, including any action for infringement of copyright or defamation.


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