Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Bergen County Audubon Society’s First Annual Dick Eisenberg Teacher Appreciation Award (formerly the BCAS Teacher Appreciation Award)!
These wonderful, well-deserving tearchers who go above and beyond to connect their students to nature and the environment are, from left to right: Allyson Kennedy of Lincoln Middle School in Kearny; Joanne Cavera of St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale; and Dr. Sarahfaye Mahon of Paramus Catholic High School.
The award has been renamed to honor the memory of a beloved former BCAS board member, longtime avid birder, educator and mentor to many.
Here’s a sampling of the wonderful flora at DeKorte Park courtesy of Joe Koscielny from Bergen County Audubon Society’s Father’s Day walk. And don’t forget about the first Meadowlands Native Plant Day on Sunday, June 30, from 10 am to 3 pm at DeKorte. More information at the end of this post.
Standing up for the environment can be tough. We
need to write letters, make phone calls and at times even hold a protest sign
when we feel that the natural world is under attack. Often the battle can be
frustrating and even disheartening. But there is something positive that we can
all do, today, right now, to fight climate change, habitat loss and help
dwindling pollinator, butterfly and migratory bird species.
The answer is simple: put a native plant in the
ground and you automatically will have made the environment a better place, not
only for our wildlife but for all of us too.
Why are natives so important to our wildlife? The
answer is as simple as it is complex. Native plants are perfect. They have
evolved together with our wildlife for millions of years. Unlike non-native
plants our natives get their berries, seeds, nuts and nectar at exactly the
precise time that our wildlife needs them most .Whether it is migration season
, winter survival or nesting time there is a specific native plant that a creature
depends on for survival. And the most important and the most misunderstood
benefits of our wonderful natives are the insects that they alone can attract.
For without that there would be no birds, butterflies or for that matter much
of any wildlife left at all.
Let’s take for example a White Oak Tree which can
attract more than 400 moth and butterfly species that eat the leaves which in
turn feed millions of migratory and nesting birds each year as opposed to a
non-native tree like an invasive Bradford pear which has maybe one insect species
that will utilize it. In truth your backyard might look green and lush but if
it is full of non-native invasive plants there is very little for our birds and
butterflies to use. It would be like you going to the supermarket and finding
out once you get there the food is made of plastic. But by utilizing native
plants in the home landscape you will make your yard a critical habitat for the
local birds, bees and butterflies.
Another example of the perfect native plant is the
Spicebush-Lindera Benzoin. This wonderful shrub gets little yellow flowers in
Spring for the pollinators. The female of the plant gets big fat red berries
that are full of fat for fall bird migration and it is the host plant for the
magnificent Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly. It can’t get more perfect than
that, unless of course you count in that you can even make Spicebush tea for
Native plants can help ease the stresses on wildlife
caused by climate change. They can create critical stepping stones for migratory
birds and revitalize local pollinator and butterfly populations yet still look
as beautiful as any exotic plant you can buy at any nursery. Perhaps the most
important thing native plants can do is to reconnect us all with the natural
world that we have become so distant from in recent times.
Creating a backyard wildlife garden will not only
make a place for the creatures that need
it to survive, it will also become a haven for you and your family to
thrive in and enjoy for many years to come.
Please join us on Sunday, June 30for our Very first Native Plant Day in the meadowlands at DeKorte Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and learn more about these incredible plants and the importance they have to our Meadowlands. The day will include plant walks and talks with experts. For more information on Native Plant Day, click here