Using Clover as an Eco-Sustainable Alternative Lawn

Clover lawns are a sustainable alternative over grass lawns. This post goes on to explain the reasons by incorporating two editorials and two brochures. This content was provided by Steven Daniels and Kelsey Noll, both School of Environmental and Biological Sciences students over at Rutgers University. They have proposed the use of clover lawns at their university to save resources, promote bee populations, and raise public awareness of the benefits of clover. For your convenience, there is a table of contents below to organize the information.

Order of Content:
1. Editorial by Kelsey Noll
2. Editorial by Steven Daniels
3. Brochure for Clover at Home
4. Poster Presented to the Rutgers Energy Institute

1. Consider overseeding your Lawn with Clover
by Kelsey Noll

A picturesque green grass lawn is associated with the suburban dream; it is a symbol of status and good citizenship. However, the maintenance of such a lawn is incredibly timely and costly, not to mention completely unnatural and harmful to the environment. The required input of resources to maintain a green lawn, especially throughout the entire year, is quite large. Watering, pesticide and fertilizer application, and mowing all place a significant time and financial burden on the homeowner while polluting the environment through run-off and toxic emissions.
Foregoing the traditional grass lawn in favor of a more sustainable alternative can alleviate these burdens. Clover is an excellent alternative choice for a lawn; though traditionally considered a weed, clover has many properties that make it ideal for lawn coverage. Its ability to outcompete other species means that herbicides need not be applied. It is also nitrogen-fixing, and therefore does not require additional fertilizer application. Clover is drought resistant, meaning it requires minimal watering to stay green. The deep root system of clover helps alleviate soil compaction, a problem that causes run-off and erosion.

The species recommended for a homeowner looking to grow his or her own clover lawn is White Dutch Clover. This species is a perennial plant that grows to four to eight inches in height, with long roots that grow in moist, fertile soil. One of the interesting benefits of growing this breed of clover is that its pollen attracts honey-producing bees. While bees may be considered a nuisance to some, they are an incredibly important species that is currently in danger due to colony collapse disorder. Once can support this at-risk species by maintaining a clover lawn. However, for the homeowner that would prefer to not attract bees, more regular summer mowing will keep them at bay.

Any homeowner should consider planting a clover lawn over their traditional grass lawn. The planting process is easy, as clover can be seeded over an existing lawn to create a durable grass-clover blend that has many advantages over a traditional lawn. The new clover lawn will require significantly less input of time and resources, making life easier for one’s schedule and budget while also serving the environment.

2. Clover lawns beneficial
by Steven Daniels

A well-maintained lawn is part of the American dream. It’s a symbol of the suburban lifestyle, and it shows off the property owner’s control over nature. A green lawn is a constant battle with the environment, but it doesn’t have to be. Clover is a low-maintenance alternative lawn that retains the green lawn aesthetic, without infringing on your wallet or your weekend while benefiting the environment.

Unlike commercial grasses, clover doesn’t require excessive resources. It produces its own fertilizer. Normal grass fertilizers wash away during the first rain shower. Materials purchased for that lawn are essentially being flushed down the drain. Much of that sewer water then ends up in the local water supply, encouraging bacteria to grow and suffocate fish populations. By using clover, you can save money on your lawn while also befriending the local wildlife.

Clover needs very little water to survive. Often referred to as a weed, clover is extremely resilient to seasonal changes. It can survive both flood and drought and stays green while doing it. Clover is like the camel of lawns — effectively holding moisture, but without the whole spitting-on-tourists thing. The plant’s toughness means that it doesn’t have to be watered by property owners to look great. Without a sprinkler, you can save money on water and save our most essential natural resource.

Clover lawns require less frequent mowing than a traditional grass lawn. While grass grows vertically, clover grows laterally. This means you can expect fewer cuts per year and less spotty coverage with clover. Fewer cuts not only reduce budgets spent on gas, bags and repairs, but something even more valuable: time. With that extra time, a homeowner might actually be able to appreciate the lawn they’ve sculpted by playing catch or relaxing in the shade.

Compared to grass, clover is an easy, cost-reducing way to enjoy your lawn. It leaves more money in your pocket, is less of hassle to maintain, and as a nice side benefit, is a more sustainable practice. When we think of sustainability, we tend to think in terms of large complex objects and technology. Businesses and homeowners are offered incentives to install expensive solar panels on their properties, and automobile manufactures offer more hybrid and electric alternatives, for a price. These are steps in the right direction, but truly effective environmental changes will occur more subtly. Much like re-engineered water bottles and cloth grocery bags, alternative lawns represent a small change that can provide substantial gains.

3. Clover at Home Informational Brochure
PDF Attachment: Clover Brochure
Clover at Home pg 1 Clover at Home pg 2

4. Rutgers Energy Institute Poster
PDF Attachment: Rutgers Energy Institute Poster
Rutgers Energy Institute Poster


Wild Bees and Insects Essential to Food Security – New Research

Studies Find Wild Bees and Insects Essential to Food Security
Half of pollination is the work of wild pollinators, which are often more efficient than domestic honey bees

Wild pollinators – primarily wild bees, flies, and other insects – are at least as important, and often more efficient, at pollinating agricultural crops than domestic honey bee colonies, according to two new studies published in Science and the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

“This will be a surprise to the agricultural establishment,” said Rachael Winfree, professor of ecology, evolution and natural resources in Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences ( or 848-932-8315), who was involved in both studies. “There’s a widespread assumption that domestic honeybees are doing the job. This work shows that’s not true.”

The first study, published in Science, involved 51 researchers from 20 countries on every continent but Antarctica, who visited 600 fields, in which grew 41 varieties of crop. It was led by Lucas Garibaldi of the National University of Rio Negro in Argentina.

Most of our crops are pollinated, and half the pollination is the work of wild pollinators like this blueberry bee.
About 75% percent of food crops require pollination, making pollinators an essential part of food security. The researchers found that almost half that pollination is the work of wild pollinators.

The good news is that farmers can keep wild pollinators abundant by leaving a bit of natural habitat around their fields – patches of wildflowers, some hedge rows or anything that gives wild bees a place to live, Winfree said. “Farms with a little bit of natural habitat are more sustainable in terms of their pollination,” she said. She added that farms using pesticides and insecticides tend to have fewer pollinators than those that don’t.

The second study, published in PNAS, examined historical changes in the population of wild bees in the northeastern United States and southern Canada. Winfree and Ignasi Bartomeus, then a postdoctoral scholar in her lab; John Ascher, a scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York; and others employed web-based software to compile 30,000 museum specimen records representing 438 bee species.

The researchers looked at “species richness” – the number of species of bee in a specific region — and how it changed over time. They used museum records, going back to 1872. They found that wild bees as a whole had suffered some species losses but that these declines were moderate – about 15 percent of the more than 400 species over the 140 years.

Bumble bee colonies, on the other hand, are disappearing. Since 1872, according to the PNAS study, the number of bumble bee species in the northeastern United States and southern Canada has declined about 30 percent.

Since, as Winfree and her many co-authors found in their Science paper, wild pollinators are key to successful pollination of agricultural crops, a 30 percent loss in species richness is bad news. This is especially true of bumble bees. “They’re very important,” Winfree said. “They’re big and hairy and carry a lot of pollen.”

While the PNAS paper doesn’t offer reasons for the loss in species richness for bumble bees or other bees, the authors point out that non-native species of wild bees seem to be doing better than those native to North America. There is some indication that climate change may play a role, since bees long associated with the south seem to be moving north.

“Environmental change affects species differentially,” said Bartomeus, now a postdoctoral scholar at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Stockholm. “It creates ‘losers’ that decline with increased human activity, but also ‘winners’ that thrive in human-altered environments.”

We received the 2013 “Land Ethics Award”!

See the link below for photos

The Haycock Community Wildlife Habitat was the 2013 recipient of Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve Land Ethics Award

The Haycock Community Wildlife Habitat was the 2013 recipient of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve Land Ethics Award

Julie Fagan, Team Leader of the Haycock Community Wildlife Habitat group, was presented with the 2013 “Land Ethics” award at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve’s 13th Annual Land Ethics Symposium: Creative Approaches for Ecological Landscaping held on Thursday, February 21, 2013. Notes from the 2013 Land Ethics Award Jury: “We were impressed with this project’s focus on protecting wildlife, including bees and bats, for which there is far too little public awareness and funding. The inclusion of site work to control invasive plants adds real habitat modifications to foster their goals.” “The project is also especially worthy due to the high claiber of scientific support and the extensive use of social media for public education”.

The story behind the award:

The project began in the summer of 2011 with 2 Rutgers University students taking the Colloquium Ethics in Science class taught by Dr. Julie Fagan, Associate Professor of Animal Science. Student class projects are based on student interests and career goals. Lisa G. and Janice F. both had an interest in sustainability and native landscape plantings. We focused on wildlife habitat in our Haycock Township in Bucks County, PA community. We partnered with the National Wildlife Federation with the goal of certifying Haycock Township as a NWF Community Wildlife habitat. The project began with the students reaching out to community residents, going door to door, to help them make their backyard more wildlife-friendly, and doing oral presentations to convince the township supervisors to move forward with the project. The project didn’t end there.

Course projects are designed to form a Wiki-like network of solutions to attain goals from divergent areas of focus. Another group of students, team 2, focused on bamboo’s invasiveness, and another (team 3) illustrated how pesticides may negatively affect the demise of the bee population due to Colony Collapse Disorder and threatening the world’s food supply. Then there was team 4 that worked on sustainable organic gardens, team 5 on the bat population, team 6 on getting other communities onboard, and team 7 on pollinator populations. In Oct 2012, The National Wildlife Federation came out to officially recognize Haycock Township as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat; the 63rd in the United States. In Feb of 2013, the Rutgers University professor accepted the 2013 “Land Ethics” award.

Seven academic papers were subsequently generated for the Haycock
Community Wildlife Habitat Program; associated with each paper is a student-produced video, as well as a number of student-written letters to the editor which were sent and published in various paper and on-line publications.

1) Promoting Wildlife Habitat Communities: Certifying Haycock Township, PA as a National Wildlife Federation Community Habitat. Julie M. Fagan. Ph.D. Lisa Giordano and Janice Foo

2) Bamboo as an Invasive Species: Raising Awareness at Rutgers Gardens of the Impact on Native Habitats. John J. Daub, Janine Disanti and Julie M. Fagan, Ph.D.

3) Colony Collapse Disorder: Links to pesticides and their alternatives: A study on pesticides that may be connected to colony collapse disorder, as well as natural alternatives that can substitute them. Colin Clark, Ian Mosebach, and Julie M Fagan, Ph.D.

4) Steps to a Sustainable Backyard Organic Garden: Overview of compost bins, rainwater catchment systems, and use of plants as a natural Pesticide. Paul Redpath, Joseph Todd and Julie M. Fagan, Ph.D.

5) Dispelling the Myth Surrounding Bats: Saving Bats from the Emergence of White-Nose Syndrome Marco Carvello, Patrick Dziamba, Alyssa Britton and Julie M. Fagan, Ph.D.

6) Wildlife Habitats: Their effect on animals and plants and what can be done to help. Dorothy Pee, Matthew Marquis, Rita Kupershteyn and Julie Fagan, Ph.D.

7) Pesticides and Decline in Pollinator Populations:Synergistic Effects of Herbicide, Fungicide, and Insecticide Use on Pollinator Populations and Alternatives for Communities and Agriculturists to Reduce Impact Beyond Requirements of Current Regulations. Vighnesh Raman, Ryan Fantasia and Julie M. Fagan, Ph.D

New Thing! Join the “Time Bank of Bucks County”

Time Bank BrochureTime Bank logo

Introducing the
Time Bank of Bucks County
Give & receive services without $
It is your time that gets “banked”
No Cost to Join!

Learn How Time Banking helped Spain weather their financial crisis

Listen/read the NPR story.
NPR story on How Time Banking Helped Spaniards Weather the Financial Crisis

Time Banking Can be Powerful – Let’s bring it to Bucks County!

Recruit members!

What is Time Banking?
Contrary to barter, which trades goods or services based on monetary value, Time banking involves a system of reciprocal service exchange that uses units of time as currency. Time bank credits earn no interest and have no equivalent monetary value, and exchange of hours through a time bank are tax-exempt. Time Bank services are considered charitable acts informally traded among members of a group. Everyone’s skills, whether they are a lawyer, a house painter or can pick weeds, are worth one “time dollar” per hour. It is up to the members to join, earn and exchange credits, all on their own time. The philosophy of modern time banking organizations is based on 5 principles: respect for all, everyone in the community is an asset, work may be beyond a monetary price, reciprocity in helping local community members, using the benefits of social networks.
Listen to Edgar Cahn, the founder of Time Banking:

According to TimeBanks USA, work has to be redefined to value whatever it takes to raise healthy children, build strong families, revitalize neighborhoods, make democracy work, advance social justice, and make the planet sustainable. The mission of TimeBanks is to nurture and expand a movement that promotes equality and builds caring community economies through inclusive exchange of time and talent. Currently there are 380 Time Banks registered internationally with TimeBanks USA.

How Does a Time Bank Work?

Time Banking is an exchange economy, where services are provided based on TIME and are “banked” in network software. This is unlike bartering where 2 parties agree to provide items or services worth x dollars.

A member needs to both earn and spend time –although “debt” and “credit” are allowed, both are capped at 25 hours. This ensures flow of community sharing.

If you desire a service that is not listed, seek out a provider and request that they join our Time Bank! The more the merrier.

You may buy or sell things with Hour Credits and “charge” for the hours it takes to produce something in HCs, and charge the cost of the materials in regular dollars. However, to maintain the TimeBank’s tax exempt status, no equivalency between a HC and regular dollar can be made.

Anyone can join – businesses, non-profits, homemakers, skilled tradesman, professionals. artisans. Minors may be members. Even though no one is being “employed”, services performed by minors should comply to PA’s Child Labor Laws

We do not do background checks on any of our members. The decision to provide and receive care is the responsibility of the member based on the relationship of trust, mutual support and respect. It is the individual responsibility of each member to meet and/or screen members offering child or elder care. Likewise if you are offering this service you may be asked to provide your own background check.

We do not guaranty the performance of any of our members nor will the Time Bank of Bucks County be held responsible for any injury to persons or damage to property experienced while involved with transactions. Appreciation of another’s best efforts is part of what makes the Time Bank work. No service is guaranteed and there may be situations when the service provided does not meet the expectations of the receiver. In these cases please attempt to be flexible and understanding.

Log On To the “Time Bank of Bucks County” & Sign Up!
Step by step procedure:
To join, log onto URL:

1. Click “create a new account”
2. You will be taken to the account creation
– Create a username that you will remember
– Enter your email address
– Create your password
– Enter your First and Last Name
– Select how you heard us
– Select the days/times of the week that you might be generally available (you can change this).
– Fill in your address (at least put your town and zip if uncomfortable with providing full street address).
– Provide a phone number (that will be helpful to those providing or giving you service)
– Read and agree with terms and conditions
– Finally enter a code that will be given on the site for verification
3. After you have created your account, our coordinator will accept your membership and you’ll receive an email. Check you inbox and your spam folder. Avoid future emails going into your spam folder by adding the Time Bank in your contacts.
4. Now you are ready to participate and share your skills with the community. Click on Give & Receive and go to post a service ad. Post offers – what you could provide to a fellow community member and what services you’d like to receive.
5. If you need a painter (or a plumber, lawyer, electrician) and don’t see a service provider for that expertise, then contact someone you know that provides such services and ask them to join the “Time Bank of Bucks County”. You do not need to reside in Bucks County to be a member.
6. Spread the word!

MISSION STATEMENT: Time Bank of Bucks County aims to bank on each other’s expertise and strengths by providing gifts of time and talent in a pay it forward model. A time currency based on equality as a means of sharing our wealth will seed the empowerment of Bucks County artisans, land stewards, growers, technicians, educators, professionals and service providers to maximize the prosperity of our local community and the bounty of the land in which we live. We envision that the interdependence of the community members will enhance food, home and land security in Bucks County.
Julie M. Fagan, Ph.D., (610) 847-2411
Time Bank of Bucks County Coordinator
Time Bank of Bucks County is a TimeBanks Network Affiliate


Our Communities

Most of our members live in the following Bucks County, PA neighborhoods:

Upper Bucks
Central Bucks
Lower Bucks

Members may also reside to the east (NJ), north (Montgomery, Northhampton, Lehigh counties) south (Philly), west (Montgomery county).
Anyone can join – businesses, non-profits, homemakers, skilled tradesman, professionals. artisans. Minors may be members. Even though no one is being “employed”, services performed by minors should comply to PA’s Child Labor Laws


1. Go to Login with your user name and password, then browse services.

2. Contact the member as soon as possible and agree upon a time and place for the transaction to take place.

3. If a member does not return your call within a few days try calling again.

4. Be very clear about:
a. Date, time and location of service to be provided, the amount of time the member will spend providing the service as well as time spent traveling to and from where the service will be provided
b. Parts, supplies or ingredients needed. The receiving member is responsible for paying for parts, supplies or ingredients
c. Any tools required for completing service. You and the other member must decide which of you will provide tools.

5. When you have completed the service, report the number of time dollars earned or spent. Either party can record a transaction.


1. Discuss the details (e.g. date, time and materials needed and their cost) and ask how much time the person thinks the service should take.

2. If you are unable to provide the service, thank the person for calling and suggest another member if you know of anyone.

3. Always arrive on time or contact the person as soon as possible if you’re going to be late or need to change the time.

4. When you have completed the service report the number of time dollars earned or spent. Either party can record a transaction.


Give plenty of Information about your needs and what you can provide in your requests/offers.


OFFER: Cooking. I will do organic, vegetarian, sugar-free cooking. I will prepare and deliver a meal for 1 to 8 people. I’d like to have 2 days notice.

OFFER: Carpentry. I have experience with carpentry and home remodeling/repair. I have tools and can work alone or assist with your projects.

REQUEST: Garden and yard work. I need someone to help me prepare my flowerbed for winter and rake leaves.

REQUEST: Diet and nutrition. I need to reduce my cholesterol. Will you work with me to suggest recipes and plan menus 2 or 3 times over the next month?

DO’s and DON’TS


1.Make sure the other person understands what you are going to do before you start doing it.
2.Contact the other member in advance if you must cancel.
3.Agree on the amount of time the transaction will take before hand.
4.Try to be patient and open rather than critical.
5.Respect others religions, beliefs and political viewpoints.
6.If you are requesting a service be sure to pay for any parts ingredients or materials that are used. For instance if someone gives you a ride offer to pay for gas.
7.If using your personal car to transport a member have car insurance and wear seatbelts.
8.Dial 911 in the event of an emergency.
9.Be courteous in other member’s homes.

1.Do not smoke in a member’s home without permission.
2.Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs while performing services.
3.Do not over commit yourself.
4.Do not misrepresent your abilities.
5.Do not make inappropriate advances on any of the members.
6.Do not participate in illegal activities.
Policies and Procedures


The Time Bank of Bucks County does not guarantee the performance of any of it’s members nor will the Time Bank of Bucks County be held responsible for any injury to persons or damage to property experienced while involved with transactions.


Appreciation of another’s best efforts is part of what makes the Time Bank work. No service is guarantied and there may be situations when the service provided does not meet the expectations of the receiver. In these cases please attempt to be flexible and understanding.


All members must protect the privacy and confidentiality of other members. Member info should not be shared outside of the time bank. In addition, member’s emails cannot be added to mailing lists without their express permission.

Earning Time Dollars

One hour of service always earns one time dollar, and one time dollar always buys one hour of service. For fractions of hours, round up to the nearest quarter hour. (For example, 52 minutes of service earns one time dollar. 1 hour and 10 minutes of service equals 1.25 time dollars). Time dollars are not redeemable for cash. Please be aware that it is as important to receive services, as it is to give them. Without equal participation the system doesn’t work. Although “debt” and “credit” are allowed, both are capped at 25 hours. This ensures flow of community sharing.
As a member of our Time Bank, you may offer or receive items that are valued in Hour Credits (based on the hours it takes to produce something and charge the cost of the materials in regular dollars). The important thing to remember, however, is that in order to maintain the TimeBank tax exempt status, you can never make an equivalency between an hour credit and a regular dollar.
TimeBank exchanges are tax-exempt, unlike bartering. In normal bartering, you have to declare the value of the good and services you receive to the IRS (TimeBank community building exchanges are tax-exempt).

Reporting hours

All services need to be recorded as soon as possible, preferably within a week of the date of service. If there is any confusion about the number of hours performed, both parties should reach an agreement before the hours are recorded.

Elder and Childcare

Choosing the right baby sitter or adult care provider for a loved one is a very important decision. If you are a Time Bank of Bucks County member who wants to receive those services from another member you need to know that the Time Bank of Bucks County does not do background checks on any of it’s members. The decision to provide and receive care is the responsibility of the member based on the relationship of trust, mutual support and respect. It is the individual responsibility of each member to meet and/or screen members offering child or elder care. Likewise if you are offering this service you may be asked to provide your own background check.


If you are a Time Bank of Bucks County member who wants to get a ride from another member you need to know that the Time Bank of Bucks County does not do background checks or check driving records on any of it’s members. Members are responsible for screening drivers if there are any concerns.


Remember to record your hours! Reporting your hours helps us keep track of how many exchanges are conducted and evaluate our progress.


Every member of the Time Bank has the right:

To be treated with dignity, care and respect.
To earn one time dollar for every hour of service provided.
To spend time dollars on services offered by other members.
To save time dollars in a personal account for latter use.
To donate time dollars to other members.
To have privacy and confidentiality maintained.
To be valued.
To be treated fairly.

Every member of the Time Bank has the responsibility:

To respect the privacy and confidentiality of other members.
To be prompt and keep scheduled commitments.
To be accepting of guidance and instructions.
To have fun and share your experiences!

Violation of any of these principals and policies will result in a conversation with the time bank. Continued violation may result in canceled membership.

Please be very conscientious of your transactions and communication. Friendliness, honesty and generosity help foster the kind of community we hope to create together. Your word is everything. Honor it. Trust before suspicion. As a community-run system, members are encouraged to help develop and maintain The Time Bank. If you have ideas or comments please share them by contacting us via the time banks website (hit “contact us”) or by email to get involved. Our goal is to create a positive environment for community building and exchange.

Our Road Signs on Rte 563

Haycock wildlife habitat sign

Two signs are now on Rte 563 indicating that we are a NWF Certified Community Wildlife Habitat

Two signs are now on Rte 563 indicating that we are a NWF Certified Community Wildlife Habitat

Original text of the letter to the editor:

Haycock Township’s recent installation of 2 road signs on Rt 563 indicate that Haycock Township is now a National Wildlife Federation Certified Community Wildlife Habitat, the 63rd in the country. Local businesses donated products and gift certificates, some of which were sold to help purchase the road signs. These were: La Campagnia Ristorante, Becker’s Corner, Northeast Natives & Perennials, The Little Red Barn Campground, Bucks County Nursery and Florist, Rick’s Egg Farm, OWOWCOW, PVE Wildlife Control, Wagon Wheel Tavern, The Raven’s Nest, The Meadows $ Kasey Lynn’s Catering, Tractor Supply Co., Bechdolt’s Orchard and Eve’s Farm.

The Haycock Township Community Wildlife Habitat group will continue to focus on fostering the bee and bat populations and native plantings (and removal of invasives), and reducing the use of potentially toxic pesticides and herbicides. The group would like to help other communities/townships become certified as NWF Wildlife Community Habitats that may have other specific goals. Extending sustainable wildlife habitats throughout Bucks County will keep our naturally beautiful space a wonderful place to live and visit.

Julie Fagan
Team Leader
Haycock Township Community Wildlife Habitat Team
(610) 847-2411

Haycock Township, PA Becomes a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat by Roxanne Paul

Published in “Wildlife Promise”; a NWF blog link

Haycock Township celebrates their certification
Congratulations to Haycock Township, Pennsylvania for becoming the 63rd Certified Community Wildlife Habitat in the nation and the third community in Pennsylvania to achieve this honor. Haycock Township is a rural township of just over 2,000 people located about 45 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Nearly 50% of the land in the township is preserved as state game lands, local parks or beautiful Nockamixon State Park.

A concerned group of citizens decided to form a Community Wildlife Habitat team and fulfill the requirements for the township’s certification. They gave presentations to organizations, set up tables at the Fire House’s Sunday breakfasts and created a blog where residents could get more information. In all, 64 homes, 2 schools, the historical society building, a park and 10 farms became NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat sites.

On a lovely day in October, the community came together to celebrate the certification at the Township Building. I was privileged to represent NWF and present the certificate to three of the township supervisors. I also recognized Dr. Julie Fagan and her team of volunteers.

Congratulations, Haycock Township! You are a great example of a rural community coming together to protect wildlife.

To learn more about Community Wildlife Habitats or to certify your own yard as a wildlife habitat, visit our Gardening for Wildlife page.

Haycock Township is now a National Wildlife Federation Certified Community Wildlife Habitat!

The above article was published 10/25/12 on the front page of the Bucks County Herald

Link to the Intelligencer article published 10/22/12 below followed by the text:

Haycock earns prestigious environmental certification
By Chris Ruvo Correspondent | Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 5:50 am

So intent was Julie Fagan on inspiring her hometown of Haycock to earn a prestigious environmental certification, she wore a bee costume to a supervisors meeting.

It was an unforgettable move made to persuade the board to register Haycock with the National Wildlife Federation as a township interested in becoming a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat. It also emphasized how local bee populations are declining, a problem that could perhaps be mitigated if Haycock, collectively, institutes the best environmental practices that must be implemented to achieve certification.

On Sunday, the efforts of Fagan and other volunteers — who worked assiduously on a grassroots campaign — paid off when Haycock became only the 63rd community in the United States to be named a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat. Only two other Pennsylvania towns — Bethlehem and Hamburg — have achieved the designation.

Roxanne Paul, National Wildlife Federation’s senior coordinator of community and volunteer outreach, was on hand at Haycock’s community day to present supervisors, Fagan and other volunteers with official recognition of the township’s certification.

“The NWF commends the dedicated residents of Haycock and the Haycock Township Community Wildlife Habitat Team for their wildlife conservation efforts and for coming together for a common purpose — to create a community where people and wildlife can flourish,” Paul said.

Fagan was excited to see all the hard work come to fruition. “It’s a feeling of relief for this to happen finally,” she said.

The Community Wildlife Habitat project is part of NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program. These projects benefit plants, wildlife and people through the creation of sustainable landscapes that require little or no pesticides, fertilizers and excess watering. These landscapes help keep water and air resources cleaner, making communities healthier for people and the environment.

“A Community Wildlife Habitat project multiplies this positive effect by creating multiple habitat areas in backyards, schoolyards, corporate properties, community gardens, parkland and other spaces,” said Paul.

Of the approximately 900 households in Haycock, 64 homes and 10 farms became NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat sites, as did Nockamixon State Park.

An associate professor in the school of environmental and biological science at Rutgers University, Fagan went door to door discussing the initiative with residents and getting them to participate.

Some of her students, along with township residents, lent time and effort to the awareness-raising project. In fact, students gave presentations about the project outside Haycock to other communities, which have shown interest in getting certified.

Reducing invasive species, cutting down on pesticide and herbicide use, and making the local habitat better for diminishing populations of bats and bees were main motivators for Fagan.

“At a time when communities are faced with the problems of losing habitat to development, Haycock stands out as a model for other communities to emulate,” said Paul. “The knowledge and inspiration that this project has generated will lead Haycock residents and visitors to take better care of their natural world.”

Pesticides and Decline in Pollinators Video

See this short video on some of the threats to the bee population and what you can do to help them:

Pledge to Promote Bee Populations

Organic Farming & Integrated Pest Management – How they Limit Pesticide Use

What is Organic Farming?

Organic Farming systems try to minimize off farm input (which can include fertilizers, and pesticides). It also frequently employs various pest management tactics (IPM) which do not involve pesticides. Genetically modified crops (GMO) are not used in organic farming. Soil fertility is maintained through crop rotations (which employ nitrogen-fixing legumes), and these can also have pest-management benefits.

Benefits of Organic Farming to Pollinators

A Swedish study found that organic farming had better pollination. The crop they used to measure this was Strawberries and the study included 12 farms. Farms were grouped into 3 categories: Established Organic Farms, New Organic Farms, & Conventional Farms. New organic farms showed the same amount of pollination success as established farms and both had greater success than conventional farms.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

IPM is a system of pest management that employs several pest management tactics (mulching, natural enemies etc.). Some pest damage is considered acceptable and there is an economic threshold above which the damage warrants action. Pesticides are considered a last resort and there are restrictions on which ones can be used.

IPM Pesticides
Qualities of a Good IPM Pesticide

  1. Selective: Only affects intended target or a narrow range of things.
  2. Not Persistent: Does not linger in the environment for a long time.
  3. Minimal Environmental Impact

Unacceptable Pesticides

  • Pyrethroid Insecticides or Acaricides
  • Organochlorine Insecticides & Acaricides (if safer alternatives exist)
  • All Acaricides that are toxic to Phytoseiid Mites
  • Toxic, water-polluting or very persistent Herbicides

Pesticides Allowed with Restrictions (When no safer alternatives exist)

  • Broad Spectrum Organo-Phosphate & Carbamate Insecticides
  • Acaricides harmful to Phytoseiid Mites
  • Dithiocarbamate Fungicides
  • Sulfur & Copper
  • Fungicides with high potential for resistance