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Nature isn’t just “out there” in some pristine or far-off location. It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Join us as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Continue Reading >>
Nature isn’t just “out there” in some pristine or far-off location. It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Join us as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. << Show Less
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5 Late Summer Blooming Native Plants I Love Late summer is often thought of as a challenging time for gardening. It’s hot, it’s humid, we may or may not be getting regular rainfall, and there are often lots of other summertime activities competing for our attention. But if our goal is to plant for pollinators and wildlife, then it is important to make sure we have plenty of plants blooming at this time of year too. In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, I share some of the native plants that I love and why I love them so you can decide if they are right for you. All of these plants bloom in the July / August time frame, attract lots of pollinators, and have a large native range that includes Kentucky. You’ll have to look up the plant to see if it is native to where you live. I’m not saying these are the “best native plants to plant,” because there is no way for me to know if these are the best plants for you without talking to you and learning more about your property and goals. These are simply some of the native plants I love and are in no particular order because my “favorite” has a tendency to change based on which one I’m looking at and what pollinators I’m thinking about. To make it easier for you to refer back to particular parts of the podcast, here are the plants and the time I start talking about each: Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): 3:22 Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta): 5:43 Mountain mints (Pycnanthemum sp.): 9:22 Goldenrods (Solidago sp.): 12:51 Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum): 17:22 Links Relevant Backyard Ecology blog articles about the plants I talk about: Purple Coneflower: https://www.backyardecology.net/purple-coneflower/ Black-eyed Susan: A favorite nectar source for butterflies: https://www.backyardecology.net/black-eyed-susan-a-favorite-nectar-source-for-butterflies/ Slender Mountain Mint: https://www.backyardecology.net/slender-mountain-mint/ Sweet Goldenrod: https://www.backyardecology.net/sweet-goldenrod/ Goldenrods: https://www.backyardecology.net/goldenrods/ Cup plant: https://www.backyardecology.net/cup-plant/ Wasps: Victims of an Often Undeserved Reputation: https://www.backyardecology.net/wasps-victims-of-an-often-undeserved-reputation/ Busy Bee Nursery and Consulting: https://busybeenurseryandconsulting.com/ Backyard Ecology Website: https://backyardecology.net Backyard Ecology YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/backyardecology Backyard Ecology Blog: https://www.backyardecology.net/blog/ Backyard Ecology Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/backyardecology Subscribe to Backyard Ecology emails: https://www.backyardecology.net/subscribe/ Episode image: Eastern tiger swallowtails on cup plant flowers Photo credit: Shannon Trimboli, all rights reserved
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5 Late Summer Blooming Native Plants I Love Late summer is often thought of as a challenging time for gardening. It’s hot, it’s humid, we may or may not be getting regular rainfall, and there are often lots of other summertime activities competing for our attention. But if our goal is to plant for pollinators and wildlife, then it is important to make sure we have plenty of plants blooming at this time of year too. In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, I share some of the native plants that I love and why I love them so you can decide if they are right for you. All of these plants bloom in the July / August time frame, attract lots of pollinators, and have a large native range that includes Kentucky. You’ll have to look up the plant to see if it is native to where you live. I’m not saying these are the “best native plants to plant,” because there is no way for me to know if these are the best plants for you without talking to you and learning more about your property and goals. These are simply some of the native plants I love and are in no particular order because my “favorite” has a tendency to change based on which one I’m looking at and what pollinators I’m thinking about. To make it easier for you to refer back to particular parts of the podcast, here are the plants and the time I start talking about each: Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): 3:22 Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta): 5:43 Mountain mints (Pycnanthemum sp.): 9:22 Goldenrods (Solidago sp.): 12:51 Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum): 17:22 Links Relevant Backyard Ecology blog articles about the plants I talk about: Purple Coneflower: https://www.backyardecology.net/purple-coneflower/ Black-eyed Susan: A favorite nectar source for butterflies: https://www.backyardecology.net/black-eyed-susan-a-favorite-nectar-source-for-butterflies/ Slender Mountain Mint: https://www.backyardecology.net/slender-mountain-mint/ Sweet Goldenrod: https://www.backyardecology.net/sweet-goldenrod/ Goldenrods: https://www.backyardecology.net/goldenrods/ Cup plant: https://www.backyardecology.net/cup-plant/ Wasps: Victims of an Often Undeserved Reputation: https://www.backyardecology.net/wasps-victims-of-an-often-undeserved-reputation/ Busy Bee Nursery and Consulting: https://busybeenurseryandconsulting.com/ Backyard Ecology Website: https://backyardecology.net Backyard Ecology YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/backyardecology Backyard Ecology Blog: https://www.backyardecology.net/blog/ Backyard Ecology Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/backyardecology Subscribe to Backyard Ecology emails: https://www.backyardecology.net/subscribe/ Episode image: Eastern tiger swallowtails on cup plant flowers Photo credit: Shannon Trimboli, all rights reserved
Getting the Community Involved in Creating Pollinator Habitat I often hear comments or questions such as, “I do what I can in my yard, but I wish more people in my community would plant pollinator gardens.” Or, “What can I do to get my community involved and to make my community more pollinator friendly?” It can feel overwhelming and like there isn’t anything we can do beyond our own individual space. But, sometimes all it takes is one person to step forward, raise their hand, and say “This is important. I can take the lead, but I can’t do it on my own. Who wants to help?” In many ways, that’s what happened in Bexley, Ohio. Today we are talking to Rebecca Ness. Rebecca is the Vice Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Council in Bexley, Ohio. She is also the Chair of Love Your Alley, which is a local program that encourages community involvement in creating pollinator habitat. Rebecca and I discuss how the pollinator habitat emphasis for the Love Your Alley program came about, program successes, challenges, and lessons learned. I love how the Love Your Alley Program is bringing the community of Bexley, Ohio together in so many different ways. The program seems like it is a win, not only for their local pollinators, but also for the people who participate in the program. I also think that the Love Your Alley program can serve as an example, or case study, for people who would like to do something similar in their own community or neighborhood. It is my hope that this conversation will help you gain insights on ways to get your community or neighborhood involved with creating pollinator habitat. Or, at least provide encouragement from knowing that it can be done and that there are others who are not only doing it but are willing to share their experiences. Links Love Your Alley Resources Webpage: https://bexley.org/loveyouralley/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LoveYourAlley Private Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1519015388490244 Bexley’s Mosquito Management Pilot Program: https://bexley.org/mosquitopilot/ Backyard Ecology Resources: Website: https://backyardecology.net YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/backyardecology Blog: https://www.backyardecology.net/blog/ Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/backyardecology Subscribe to Backyard Ecology emails: https://www.backyardecology.net/subscribe/ Episode image: Alley mural and pollinator garden in Bexley, OH Photo credit: Rebecca Ness, all rights reserved
The Fascinating World of Venus Flytraps Did you know that Venus flytraps are insect pollinated? Or that they are native to a very small part of eastern North and South Carolina? Or that they rarely eat flies? I didn’t either until I stumbled upon a research paper talking about the pollination of Venus flytraps. That paper led me down a rabbit hole of questions and fascinating discoveries about a plant that I had always been intrigued by, but had never taken the time to really learn about. In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we’re joined by Laurie Hamon. Laurie is an entomologist who recently completed her dissertation at North Carolina State University studying Venus fly traps and their pollination. She is also the author of the paper that I stumbled upon and which sent me on my own quest to learn more about Venus flytraps. Laurie and I began our conversation by talking about how the only place in the world that you can find Venus flytraps growing naturally is in a small region on the border of North and South Carolina. We also talked about the fact that Venus flytraps are insect pollinated and all the complicated questions that arise from the idea of a carnivorous plant being insect pollinated. Other topics of discussion included the feeding habits of Venus flytraps (which eat more ants and spiders than flies), the population status of Venus flytraps, where you can find them, and the threats that they face. We wrapped up the conversation by talking about how small populations of this rare and infinitely fascinating species can sometimes be found on private lands or along boggy roadsides. Laurie also provided us with a website where people who are lucky enough to have Venus flytraps on their property can go to learn more about how to care for and protect this charismatic little plant. Links Venus Flytrap Champions website: https://www.venusflytrapchampions.org/ Laurie’s dissertation: The Pollination Ecology of the Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and a Status Survey of its Native Populations: https://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/bitstream/handle/1840.20/39455/etd.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y Laurie’s email: lehamon@ncsu.edu Backyard Ecology Resources: Website: https://backyardecology.net YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRQSzkcCJzYK6cBVm66drQA Blog: https://www.backyardecology.net/blog/ Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/backyardecology Subscribe to Backyard Ecology emails: https://www.backyardecology.net/subscribe/ Episode image: Venus flytraps Photo credit: North Carolina Wetlands, public domain
Summertime Activities and an Exciting Backyard Ecology Announcement Summer brings with it butterflies, lightning bugs, caterpillars, hummingbirds, fawns, baby birds, and so much more. It can be a really fun time to just get outside and observe all of the fascinating plants and animals around us. There are also plenty of things that we can be doing at this time of year to help make our yards more attractive to pollinators and wildlife. My husband, Anthony Trimboli, joins us again for this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast. Anthony has been on the podcast a few times, so you may remember that, like me, he is a wildlife biologist and educator. He also frequently helps me with my nursery and habitat consulting. This is an episode that I have really been looking forward to sharing with you because we have an exciting announcement to share. We now have a Backyard Ecology YouTube channel! Anthony is taking the lead on it and in this podcast episode, we share some of our plans for the new YouTube channel. In addition to talking about the new YouTube channel, we share some of the many things that you can be doing or observing in your yards at this time of year. Links YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRQSzkcCJzYK6cBVm66drQA Spring Hole Trail Cam - 18 Species Critter Parade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAvdIlynBFU Other Backyard Ecology Resources Attracting Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds to Your Yard: https://www.backyardecology.net/attracting-ruby-throated-hummingbirds-to-your-yard/ Trail cameras: A fun way to watch wildlife in your yard: https://www.backyardecology.net/trail-cameras-a-fun-way-to-watch-wildlife-in-your-yard/ Attract Butterflies with Overripe Fruit and Melon Rinds: https://www.backyardecology.net/attract-butterflies-with-overripe-fruit-and-melon-rinds/ Lightning bugs and Fireflies: A conversation with Lynn Faust, Part 1: https://www.backyardecology.net/lightning-bugs-and-fireflies-a-conversation-with-lynn-faust-part-1/ Lightning bugs and Fireflies – A conversation with Lynn Faust, Part 2: https://www.backyardecology.net/lightning-bugs-and-fireflies-a-conversation-with-lynn-faust-part-2/ Make a Bee Waterer: https://www.backyardecology.net/make-a-bee-waterer/ Create Mudding Spots for Butterflies: https://www.backyardecology.net/create-mudding-spots-for-butterflies/ Other Resources: Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs: Identification and Natural History of the Fireflies of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada by Lynn Faust *: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0820348724/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0820348724&linkCode=as2&tag=backyardecolo-20&linkId=67cfaa76687d86421a5e0ca6d4c54ad8 Website: https://backyardecology.net Blog: https://www.backyardecology.net/blog/ Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/backyardecology Subscribe to Backyard Ecology emails: https://www.backyardecology.net/subscribe/ My email: shannon@backyardecology.net Episode image: White-tail deer and her fawn Photo credit: USFWS, Midwest Region, public domain
Ask a Bumble Bee: What Flowers Do Bumble Bees Prefer? I often get asked what people can plant for bees. I can give good general answers to those questions, because we have a good idea of what types of flowers tend to be attractive to bees in general. We can then use that information along with personal observations made by ourselves and others to fairly easy determine what we can plant in a given area for bees in general. However, we still have a lot to learn when it comes to knowing what types of flowers certain types of bees prefer or what we can plant for specific types of bees. This is especially true when it comes to our native bees. Ask a Bumble Bee, is a new community science, or citizen science, project that is striving to answer some of those questions specifically for bumble bees. Finding out what types of flowers bumble bees prefer and what we can plant for them is especially important, because many species of bumble bees appear to be declining in number. In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we talk with Jenan El-Hifnawi. Jenan is the Project Coordinator for Ask a Bumble Bee. Jenan joins us to talk about the project, the types of questions it hopes to answer, and how anyone who is interested can help out by observing bumble bees on flowers. Along the way we also share some of our own stories and experiences. Links Ask a Bumble Bee website: https://u.osu.edu/askabumble/ Jenan’s email: bumblebeecount@gmail.com Related Backyard Ecology episodes: Are Larger Patch Sizes Better When Planting for Pollinators?: https://www.backyardecology.net/are-larger-patch-sizes-better-when-planting-for-pollinators/ Factors that Make Pollinator Gardens More Attractive to Pollinators: https://www.backyardecology.net/factors-that-make-pollinator-gardens-more-attractive-to-pollinators/ Wasps: Victims of an Often Undeserved Reputation: https://www.backyardecology.net/wasps-victims-of-an-often-undeserved-reputation/ Checking In After 50 Episodes of the Backyard Ecology Podcast: https://www.backyardecology.net/checking-in-after-50-episodes-of-the-backyard-ecology-podcast/ Backyard Ecology’s website: https://backyardecology.net Backyard Ecology blog: https://www.backyardecology.net/blog/ Backyard Ecology’s Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/backyardecology Subscribe to Backyard Ecology emails: https://www.backyardecology.net/subscribe/ My email: shannon@backyardecology.net Episode image: Bumble bee on purple coneflower Photo credit: USDA, public domain
A Glimpse into the Fascinating World of Cedar Glades Glades are ecosystems where the soils are really shallow and rocky, often with patches of rock showing on the surface. They can be found all over the world, including multiple states within the eastern U.S. These ecosystems are unique areas that support some really interesting and sometimes highly specialized or rare organisms. Admittedly, they can also be frustrating for homeowners who may have one in their yard and be trying to force it to conform to the standards of a “normal” yard because they think something is wrong with it. However, sometimes all it takes is discovering that there isn’t anything wrong with that area, but instead it is something special and can be celebrated for its own uniqueness. In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we are talking with Dr. Kim Cleary Sadler. Kim is a professor of biology education at Middle Tennessee State University and co-director of the Center for Cedar Glade Studies. Glades are classified by the type of rock that is found there. So, you can have limestone glades, chert glades, sandstone glades, shale glades, etc. Much of Kim and my conversation focuses on limestone glades, or what in some areas are more commonly known as cedar glades. However, we also touch on a few other types of glades and the basic concepts that we talk about can be applied to pretty much any type of glade. In this episode, Kim and I discuss some of the characteristics of glades, some of the different types of organisms you can find there, ways homeowners can deal with glades on their properties, and much more. We also share numerous stories related to our experiences with glades. Links Center for Cedar Glade Studies: https://www.mtsu.edu/glade-center Kim’s email: kim.sadler@mtsu.edu Related Backyard Ecology episodes: Liking lichens: A Glimpse into the Fascinating World of Lichens: https://www.backyardecology.net/liking-lichens-a-glimpse-into-the-fascinating-world-of-lichens/ Checking In After 50 Episodes of the Backyard Ecology Podcast: https://www.backyardecology.net/checking-in-after-50-episodes-of-the-backyard-ecology-podcast/ Backyard Ecology’s website: https://backyardecology.net Backyard Ecology blog: https://www.backyardecology.net/blog/ Backyard Ecology’s Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/backyardecology Subscribe to Backyard Ecology emails: https://www.backyardecology.net/subscribe/ My email: shannon@backyardecology.net Episode image: Couchville Cedar Glade in spring Photo credit: Darel Hess, all rights reserved
Checking In After 50 Episodes of the Backyard Ecology Podcast I can’t believe that I’ve been podcasting for a year and a half and that this is my 50th episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast! I am truly honored and humbled that so many people enjoy hearing what I have to say and are following the podcast. Looking back, we’ve covered such a wide range of subjects including: crayfish, land snails (I still laugh every time I think about that episode), lightning bugs, hummingbirds, grassland ecosystems, all kinds of topics related to gardening for pollinators, probably just as many topics related to gardening with native plants, vernal pools, invasive species, habitat management, and much, much more. I’m eternally grateful for all of the scientists, educators, and resource managers who have taken the time to talk with us. I’ve had so much fun learning from and geeking out with each of them. I also appreciate each of you who have taken the time to email me and share your own thoughts, experiences, and discoveries. Those emails always bring a smile to my face. As this 50th episode approached, I kept trying to think of the “perfect” topic to cover. After all, isn’t 50 supposed to be a big milestone? Regardless of whether we’re talking birthdays, anniversaries, or podcast episodes. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really didn’t want to do a typical episode this time. Instead, I wanted to stop a second and check in with you. I wanted to find out your thoughts. After all, I don’t want to just be blabbering into the digital airwaves. I want the Backyard Ecology podcast to be valuable to you and that means I need to make sure it is meeting your needs. To allow me to more easily gather and distill everyone’s thoughts and feedback I’ve created a short survey. The link to the survey will be in the show notes and on the webpage for this episode. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey. Your answers will help guide me as I produce future episodes of the Backyard Ecology podcast. The survey will be available until June 12, 2022. As a thank you for sharing your thoughts with me, anyone who fills out the survey will have the option to enter a drawing to win 1 of 5 copies of my new book, Attract Pollinators and Wildlife to Your Yard: 15 Free and Easy Ways. Before I wrap up, I wanted to say once again how grateful I am to my Patrons on Patreon who help support this podcast, for everyone who listens to this podcast, and to the guests who have shared their knowledge and passion with us. Until next week, I encourage you to take some time to enjoy the nature in your own yard and community. Links: Survey: https://forms.gle/eh7mGD2wwx41g4SG6 Backyard Ecology’s website: https://backyardecology.net Backyard Ecology’s Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/backyardecology My email: shannon@backyardecology.net Survey about the Backyard Ecology podcast.
Gardening with Native Plants The interest in gardening with native plants has been growing steadily, and I am very excited about that fact. Growing native plants in our gardens and landscapes can have many benefits – both for us as the gardeners and for the pollinators and wildlife that also call our yards home. Plus, we have some absolutely gorgeous native plants that deserve to be recognized in their own right. In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we talk with Jennifer Ceska about gardening with native plants. Jennifer is a Conservation Coordinator with the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia, Athens. She and her colleagues are doing some amazing work and I am grateful for their efforts to help others learn about and grow native plants. Jennifer and I both love sharing our knowledge and passion of the natural world, as well as continuing to learn ourselves. We’ve just always been naturally curious and that is reflected in this very informal conversation. One of the many topics we discuss is growing regionally appropriate native plants. This is especially important because many plants are native to one part of the country, but not another. For example, I was recently surprised to learn that common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) isn’t native to Georgia and can actually become problematic there because it spreads so aggressively. Jennifer said that she was surprised as well when she first learned that common milkweed isn’t native to Georgia because so many resources and online maps show it as native across the eastern U.S. However, newer research has shown that it isn’t native to Georgia which is one of the reasons why the State Botanical Garden of Georgia has created a brochure discussing the best milkweeds to plant in Georgia and the ones to avoid. Other topics of conversation include some of our favorite native species to plant in smaller areas and cues to care for native plant gardens or even when growing native plants in fields and “wilder” areas. Jennifer also shares with us some of the fantastic native plant programs and resources available through the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. If you live in Georgia, then I encourage you to take a look at these valuable resources. Links: Jennifer’s email: jceska@uga.edu Brochure about what milkweeds to grow in Georgia gardens: https://botgarden.uga.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/milkweedinformation.pdf State Botanical Garden of Georgia: https://botgarden.uga.edu/ Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance: https://botgarden.uga.edu/conservation-science/georgia-plant-conservation-alliance/ Georgia Native Plant Initiative: https://botgarden.uga.edu/conservation-science/georgia-native-plant-initiative/ Connect to Protect: https://botgarden.uga.edu/conservation-science/connect-to-protect/ Georgia Pollinator Plants of the Year Program: https://botgarden.uga.edu/conservation-science/pollinator-plant-program/ Georgia Grasslands Initiative iNaturalist project: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/georgia-grasslands-initiative-ggi Backyard Ecology’s website: https://backyardecology.net My email: shannon@backyardecology.net Episode image: Purple coneflowers in a pollinator garden Photo credit: USFWS, public domain
Light Pollution and Its Impacts on Birds and Other Wildlife Once upon a time, the moon was the brightest object in the night sky followed by the stars. However, that’s no longer the case. Today the night sky is so brightly lit by artificial lights sources that the majority of people living in North America can no longer see the Milky Way from their yards. Even for those of us who can see the Milky Way, it is often greatly dimmed by nearby artificial light sources or sky glow caused by the closest city or town. Does it matter if our view of the stars is diminished? Actually, it does. All of that extra light that is obscuring the stars is called light pollution and it has significant impacts on a wide variety of wildlife species and can even affect us. In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we talk with Murry Burgess. Murry is an ornithologist, urban ecologist, and children’s author. She is also working on her PhD at North Carolina State University where she is studying the effects of light pollution on barn swallows. Murry and I start our conversation by defining light pollution and discussing some of its sources. We then talk about some of the different impacts it can have on birds, insects, and even us. During the conversation, Murry shares with us some of the findings from her research with barn swallows and how those results are likely to translate to other bird species. We also discuss some of the ways we can minimize light pollution, both at an individual scale and at larger community-wide scales. And while most of our conversation focuses on light pollution, we frequently interweave other stories and topics related to our mutual passions for wildlife and inspiring others to appreciate the nature around them. Links: Murry’s contact information: Email: mburges5@ncsu.edu Website: https://www.mlburgess.org/ Blog: http://notasnakedoctor.squarespace.com/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/murryloub/?hl=en Twitter: https://twitter.com/murryloub Backyard Ecology’s website: https://backyardecology.net Related Backyard Ecology episodes: Lightning bugs and Fireflies: A conversation with Lynn Faust, Part 1: https://www.backyardecology.net/lightning-bugs-and-fireflies-a-conversation-with-lynn-faust-part-1/ Lightning bugs and Fireflies – A conversation with Lynn Faust, Part 2: https://www.backyardecology.net/lightning-bugs-and-fireflies-a-conversation-with-lynn-faust-part-2/ Reconnecting with the Natural World at Night: https://www.backyardecology.net/reconnecting-with-the-natural-world-at-night/ My email: shannon@backyardecology.net Episode image: The Milky Way with sky glow on the horizon. Photo credit: EvgeniT, cc-0
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