Recent Articles

Congress Wants to Save Honeybees by Banning Some Pesticides

June 6, 2014By
Congress Wants to Save Honeybees by Banning Some Pesticides

They’re small and operate behind the scenes, but they’re critical to agriculture — and Congress is starting to notice. Honeybees are responsible for pollinating everything from apple orchards to vegetable patches, contributing as much as $30 billion a year to U.S. agriculture. About a third of U.S. crop production relies on bees for pollination.

But these workhorses of agriculture are dying at unsustainable rates, triggering concerns in farming circles and beyond. Bees are considered an indicator species, and their decline signals broader systemic problems, environmental scientists say.

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Iconic monarch butterflies under threat from rising herbicide use

June 6, 2014By
Iconic monarch butterflies under threat from rising herbicide use

Monarch butterflies are known for their striking flame-orange and black appearance, and especially for their mass migration in their millions to spend winters in the mountain forests of Mexico. But despite growing problems with deforestation in Mexico, their struggle begins at home in the United States and Canada.

The butterflies that fly to Mexico are the great-great-great grandchildren of the monarchs that were in Mexico the previous winter. In 2013 the overwintering population in Mexico covered 0.67 hectares of fir forest (about 44 million butterflies) the lowest since counts began in 1994.

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Monarch butterfly decline linked to spread of GM crops

June 6, 2014By
Monarch butterfly decline linked to spread of GM crops

The main cause of the monarch butterfly’s decline is the loss of milkweed — its food — in its U.S. breeding grounds, a new study has found. That all but confirms that the spread of genetically modified crops is indirectly killing the monarch.

This past winter, the number of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico fell to its lowest since 1993, when records first started being kept, the World Wildlife Fund and Mexico’s Environment Department reported in January.

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Upstate NY sightings of monarch butterfly in danger

June 2, 2014By
Upstate NY sightings of monarch butterfly in danger

Early June is the time of year we should begin seeing the monarch butterfly fluttering about our flowers and plants in central and western New York. But, scientists are worried that a sharp decline in the population of the iconic insect could cut back local monarch sightings dramatically, or end them all together.

When you think about it, the migration of the monarch butterfly is pretty amazing.

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RACHEL LOUISE CARSON: Google lets fly a Doodle true to ‘Silent Spring’ writer’s nature

May 27, 2014By
RACHEL LOUISE CARSON: Google lets fly a Doodle true to ‘Silent Spring’ writer’s nature

In Maryland, it is impossible to travel too far in any direction without seeing something that celebrates the legacy of author and environmentalist Rachel Carson.

There is a greenway trail and a conservation park named for her here, an alma mater university and a Rachel Carson grade school there — and, of course, the Silver Spring home where she would write “Silent Spring,” the hot-button ’60s work that is often cited as the spark that ignited the modern environmental movement.

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Pollinator Work at The Farm Between, Jeffersonville, VT

May 27, 2014By
Pollinator Work at The Farm Between, Jeffersonville, VT

As organic fruit farmers, John and I are very appreciative of our farming partners, the native pollinators and honey bees that do extensive work on our farm. We have tried to develop the farm as a holistic ecosystem and take seriously the charge of being stewards of the land during our tenure here.

About seven years ago, we noticed a decline in bumble bee and other native bee populations.

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Thoughts for Pollinator Week from a Natural Organic Farmer

May 27, 2014By
Thoughts for Pollinator Week from a Natural Organic Farmer

Nestled between a drumlin and the Ganargua (Mud) Creek, Peacework Organic Farm is the oldest Community Supported Agriculture project in upstate NY, in our 26th year in 2014. Once the Humbert family dairy farm, the 148 acres of high quality land that we steward is the property of the Genesee Land Trust (GLT), which leases 109 acres to Peacework.

Eight years ago, members of the Peacework CSA contributed the money to the land trust to buy this farm when owner Doug Kraai died from cancer.

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What can you do to help increase the abundance of monarchs?

May 23, 2014By
What can you do to help increase the abundance of monarchs?

Plant and protect native milkweeds and nectar plants, while making sure that the plants you transplant or plant as seeds are native to your region. Use locally sourced material when possible.

Avoid the use of herbicides and pesticides on or near these plants.

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