Author Archive for Gary Nabhan

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Milkweeds are as good for crop-pollinating Native Bees, as they are for Monarchs

October 13, 2014By
Milkweeds are as good for crop-pollinating Native Bees, as they are for Monarchs

Recently, my orchard and garden “decided” that I needed more time in the wild to see how plants and animals really worked together, so they evicted me from cultivated ground of my own making, somehow giving me a concussion and a fractured rib on my way out.

However slow I usually am to get the picture, this time, I got the message loud and clear: if I were truly interested in seeing how to design farmscapes to harbor beneficial insects such as monarch butterflies and native bees, I needed to “apprentice myself” to a wild habitat where such healthy relationships are the norm, not the exception.

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How to Create a Plant Pollinator Habitat in the Era of Climate Uncertainty

October 9, 2014By
How to Create a Plant Pollinator Habitat in the Era of Climate Uncertainty

There is growing evidence that many pollinators and plants are being triggered into earlier but not necessarily synchronous activity by the same temperature shifts associated with global warming. Find out what strategies you can implement in your own garden, orchard, or farm to enhance your plant pollinator habitat.

With climatic uncertainty now “the new normal,” many farmers, gardeners, and orchardists in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt how they grow food in the face of climate change…

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Monarchs and Maize in Mexico: New Actions to Protect Threatened Butterflies and Corn Diversity Go Hand in Hand

September 30, 2014By
Monarchs and Maize in Mexico: New Actions to Protect Threatened Butterflies and Corn Diversity Go Hand in Hand

How is the decline of monarch butterflies and its relation to the management of corn seen from south of the Mexican border with the U.S.? Recently, we went to the cradle of origin of maize in Oaxaca not to do our own research, but to simply listen to Mexican researchers, farmers, artists and chefs.

Because both the monarch and maize have been iconic symbols of life in Mesoamerica for millennia, we wanted to hear how Mexicans perceived issues surrounding their conservation from scientific, cultural and political perspectives.

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Monarch butterflies and farmers

September 15, 2014By
Monarch butterflies and farmers

Many Americans were startled to learn recently that a butterfly once found in so many people’s backyards and fields is now being petitioned for federal listing as a threatened species. It will take months if not years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide whether the monarchs require this form of protection.

Rather than advocating for a particular outcome, I wish to focus on how any effective protection will need to positively engage both farmers and the rest of the food supply chain.

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Honey, Don’t Forget the Pollinators

September 11, 2014By
Honey, Don’t Forget the Pollinators

Go to the produce section in any Whole Foods, AJ’s, or Sprouts in the Tucson area, and at least 237 of the 453 fruits and vegetables found there were brought to you by a now-imperiled fleet of flying pollinators.

While scientists and farmers in Baja Arizona were among the first in the country to sound the alarm about pollinator declines…

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Traveling Mercies for Pollinators

July 23, 2014By
Traveling Mercies for Pollinators

Dearest Creator, please watch over all the pollinators in flight who help to bring us our daily bread from your Creation, and keep them safe from the many perils they face along the way.

I pray that we give special attention to your humble pilgrims the migratory pollinators, from imperiled monarch butterflies, to dozens of hummingbirds and nectar-feeding bats…

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The fifteen most significant initiatives positively affecting monarch butterflies since 2013’s National Pollinator Week

June 15, 2014By
The fifteen most significant initiatives positively affecting monarch butterflies since 2013’s National Pollinator Week

As 2014’s National Pollinator Week begins, it is time to think critically about what constitutes tangible actions and credible research on behalf of monarch conservation in the midst of a key moment in American conservation history. Many conservationists fear that green-washing and tokenism will distract the public from supporting the essential work…

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Field Notes from White House: Listening to an Unprecedented Alliance of Stakeholders for Bee and Monarch Butterfly Recovery

April 30, 2014By
Field Notes from White House: Listening to an Unprecedented Alliance of Stakeholders for Bee and Monarch Butterfly Recovery

It was a dark and stormy day in Washington DC when sixty thought leaders from the farm community, industry, government and non-profits met next to the White House grounds to discuss pollinators; we could hardly see First Lady Michelle Obama’s new pollinator garden through all the pouring rain.

Nevertheless, it was cause for celebration…

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