Update: View Doug Tallamy’s presentation on youtube until October 11th here:
Nature’s Best Hope with Doug Tallamy
Nature’s Best Hope by Doug Tallamy offers a hopeful and achievable plan for suburban dwellers to help save the planet.
Nature’s Best Hope
Nature’s Best Hope is the name of a book written by Doug Tallamy, noted entomologist and author. In a presentation co-sponsored by GGN Mr. Tallamy spoke at the Northbrook Public Library, Mr. Tallamy explained that WE are nature’s best hope.
The earth has been developed and overtaken by things that are bad for the ecosystems that we need to survive. What can WE do? There are four things that Mr. Tallamy proposes.
- We need to shrink our lawn area.
The goal is to eliminate half of our lawn area and fill it with plants and trees that support the insects and other wildlife that keep the natural world going. HomegrownNationalParks.org is a website that will get you started. Mr. Tallamy posits that, if we all transform parts of our lawn, we can create 20 million acres of land that insects, caterpillars and butterflies can use to keep necessary life cycles going. We could create a National Park, yard by yard, that is bigger than any existing National Park.
- Keystone plants are essential
Five percent of plants create seventy-five percent of food for animals that pollinate carentenoids. Humans need carentenoid rich plants to survive. So, when you take lawn space for planting, choose your plants wisely. The National Wildlife Federation has a NaturePlantFinder on its website. The site will tell you what native plants are best for your geographical area.
- Night-time Light Pollution hinders insects’ abilities to thrive.
Those of you who keep garage or porch lights on all night might want to rethink this practice. We all want to be safe, but a motion sensor for your outdoor lighting would achieve the same end as leaving a light burning all night. So would using yellow light bulbs (LED lights that have a yellow tone can be purchased).
- Allow caterpillars to complete their development.
When caterpillars spin their cocoons, they often fall to the earth. They need to remain undisturbed to complete their life cycle, so we need to be careful about how we groom our yards. Understory planting of bushes or groundcover provide safe areas for the cocoons. So, if you plant an oak, or other tree that supports insect life in your yard, think about planting something under the base of the tree that will let the cocoons remain undisturbed until they hatch.
Stewardship of the earth is an inherent responsibility for everyone on the planet. But, as Mr. Tallamy told us, we can all start in our own backyard. Let us be the hope for our planet and its future generations.
Join us at the Northbrook library to discuss the interdependence between plants, animals, and humans, and the practical, easy methods that you can incorporate into your own yard. —Clare Poupard
Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard by Doug Tallamy
- Reserve a copy of the book to pick up at the library.
- eBook always available on Hoopla
- eAudiobook always available on Hoopla
This event will be held on Zoom. Register to receive a link to join the meeting.