Recent Articles

Environmental Engineer and Farmer Nancy Hayden Lives Her Ideals

March 15, 2015By
Environmental Engineer and Farmer Nancy Hayden Lives Her Ideals

Nancy Hayden filled many roles during the Northeast Organic Farming As¬sociation of Vermont’s (NOFA-VT) Winter Conference, on Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 14-16. Hayden has attended NOFA-VT’s annual gathering for 22 of its 33 years — as a farmer, workshop leader and artist.

This year, she was there as an exhibitor, for the first time. She prefers farming and painting over marketing.

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Marla Spivak: To grasp our bees’ plight and prospects, stay focused on food

March 15, 2015By
Marla Spivak: To grasp our bees’ plight and prospects, stay focused on food

As I listened to Marla Spivak discuss the plight and prospects of our honeybees on Monday evening, it occurred to me that I was watching a masterful application of Albert Einstein’s principle that complex matters should be made as simple as possible – but not simpler.

Most of us have grasped by now that honeybees are under pressure from multiple sources, with certain insecticides, habitat loss, parasites and disease in the leading roles.

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Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States

March 11, 2015By
Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States

North America forms the core of the monarch’s distribution but the overall range extends through Central America and the Caribbean to South America. Monarchs also occur in Hawaii, Australia, and several Pacific islands, as well as parts of Asia, Africa, and southern Europe (Zhan et al. 2014).

Several populations outside of the Americas appear to be nonnative, originating from introductions that are thought to have occurred in the 1800s (Vane-Wright 1993), but Zhan et al. (2014) suggests that introductions may have occurred much earlier.

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The Drought Fighter

March 9, 2015By
The Drought Fighter

One afternoon last March, on a small vegetable farm that Paul Kaiser runs in a particularly chilly valley in Sebastopol, California, a group of agriculture specialists gathered around a four-foot steel pole.

The experts had come to test the depth and quality of Kaiser’s top-soil, and one of them, a veteran farmer from the Central Valley named Tom Willey, leaned on the pole to push it into the dirt as far as he could.

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Reclaiming Broken Places: Introduction to Civic Ecology

March 9, 2015By
Reclaiming Broken Places: Introduction to Civic Ecology

The actions of ordinary people are often absent in studies of urban renewal and urban ecology. Around the world, people who are fed up with environmental degradation and the breakdown of their communities come together to transform blighted vacant lots, trashed-out stream corridors, polluted estuaries, and other “broken places.”

Civic ecology practices—such as community gardening, wetlands restoration, river cleanups, and tree planting…

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Planting a future for monarch butterflies

March 9, 2015By
Planting a future for monarch butterflies

I have a confession to make. A few years ago, on a farm I own in eastern Nebraska, I took 44 acres out of production, on purpose. That’s a lot.

Where corn and beans once grew, I planted tall, native grasses and wildflowers. Among area farmers, this was seen as nothing short of scandalous.

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4 Million People Demand Obama Administration to Protect Bees from Toxic Insecticides

March 9, 2015By
4 Million People Demand Obama Administration to Protect Bees from Toxic Insecticides

Today, a coalition of more than 125 conservation, beekeeping, food safety, religious and farming advocacy groups rallied in front of the White House and delivered more than four million petition signatures calling on the Obama administration to put forth strong protections for bees and other pollinators.

The rally coincided with both a D.C. metro ad campaign, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and John Conyers’ (D-MI) reintroduction of the Saving America’s Pollinators Act…

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Milkweed of human kindness

March 9, 2015By
Milkweed of human kindness

The migration of monarch butterflies is one of the natural world’s most epic journeys. Weighing only about as much as a paper clip, they fly up to 3,000 miles from their summer homes in America’s backyards and grasslands to wintering grounds in Mexico’s mountain forests.

But in recent years, the monarch butterfly populations have dwindled alarmingly.

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