Archive for the ‘In The News’ Category

Wild Bees and Insects Essential to Food Security – New Research

http://news.rutgers.edu/medrel/research/rh-2013-1/when-it-comes-to-pol-20130312

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 (rwinfree@rci.rutgers.edu 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.”

Advertisements

We received the 2013 “Land Ethics Award”!

See the link below for photos

http://www.bhwp.org/education/Land-Ethics-Award.htm

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 http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore00000002167.Manuscript.000066142

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.
http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore00000002167.Manuscript.000066164

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.
http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore00000002167.Manuscript.000066419

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. http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore00000002167.Manuscript.000066208

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. http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore00000002167.Manuscript.000066403

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

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
https://haycockwildlifehabitat.wordpress.com/
(610) 847-2411

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

Published in “Wildlife Promise”; a NWF blog link http://blog.nwf.org/2012/11/haycock-township-pa-becomes-a-certified-community-wildlife-habitat/

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:
http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/the_intelligencer_news/haycock-earns-prestigious-environmental-certification/article_76ae93c9-007b-5f34-b1ae-e004ac58bc91.html#user-comment-area

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.”

Haycock Township Buzz – Registering as a NWF Community Wildlife Habitat

Haycock Township Buzz: We're Now Registered as a National Wildlife Community Habitat

 beecostume[1]

Bee costume gets Haycock’s attention

 

Diane Marczely Gimpel,  Bucks County Herald,  Aug 3, 2011, pgs 1 & 8

At the Haycock supervisors’Aug.1 meeting, resident Julie Fagan used extraordinary measures to show she really wanted the board to seek designation for the township as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat. She did this by covering her torso with a large, school bus yellow cylinder around which black electrical tape was wrapped in horizontal stripes, placing a headband with antenna- like protrusions on her head and wearing black tights and yellow socks. Supervisor Henry DePue said:“I’ve seen it all now.” “I did dress up as a bee,” Fagan told the board. “That should achieve some points.” The bee costume probably was not what convinced the supervisors to unanimously agree to ask the National Wildlife Federation for the designation. It was that Fagan reported more than 50 residents had sought certification for their backyards as backyard wildlife habitats. At least 50 backyards must be certified by the federation as backyard wildlife habitats for the township as a whole to get community certification. At the supervisors’ July meeting, board members told Fagan they wanted to make sure the community supported her idea before they backed it.

The National Wildlife Federation, based in Reston, Va., calls itself the nation’s largest conservation organization. It aims to protect and restore wildlife habitats and combat global warming, according to its web site. While individual residences that have backyard wildlife habitat certification have individual goals for their backyard habitats, Fagan has established goals for Haycock Township as a whole, including saving declining bat and bee populations, removing invasive plants and replacing them with native plants and limiting the use of environmental poisons.

Fagan told the board at its Aug. 1 meeting that scientists noticed in 2006 that honey bees were dying at alarming rates. The decline is important because honey bees pollinate 30 percent of the food supply. Pesticide use is believed to be a factor in the decline, according to Fagan, a Rutgers University professor. “Our mission is to support the bee population and get residents to be aware of what they put on their land,” Fagan said. “The initiative will promote healthy habitats.”Fagan also has said the project would bring the community together toward a common goal and foster environmental education and awareness. Fagan has information about the proposal on a blog at haycockwildlifehabitat.wordpress.com.

http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=5f68813e-d569-4e7a-9b77-c49126e561b7

Native plantings at Gina’s – “Haycock Looking to go Wild” Morning Call 7/20/11

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-haycock-wildlife-federation-20110719,0,4573761.story

go to the above link to watch the video

Monarda “Petite Delight” Raspberry Wine Bee Balm attracts a humming bird moth but is a good repellent for deers. The plant lines a walkway at Gina Frederick’s home in Haycock Township. The family’s landscape is full of native plants instead of a traditional lawn.

Link to the photo above:

http://www.mcall.com/photos/mc-photojournal-071811-pictures,0,4791297.photogallery?index=mc-photojournal-071811-pictures-003

——————–
Haycock looking to go wild
——————–

Effort under way to have township certified by National Wildlife Federation as community habitat.

BY Melinda Rizzo, Special To The Morning Call

It’s no surprise to anyone passing through Haycock Township that the rural Bucks County municipality is teeming with birds and bunnies, leafy plants and trees and gleaming waterways.Now a longtime resident wants to get national recognition for the work residents and businesses have done to create such habitats in their backyards and on their properties.Julie Fagan, an associate professor at Rutgers University, is spearheading an effort to have Haycock certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a community wildlife habitat.
The National Wildlife Federation is a nonprofit organization aimed at conserving and protecting native wildlife and landscapes, according to the group’s website.Community wildlife habitats are places where residents and businesses have made a point of fostering areas where wildlife can obtain food, water, cover from the elements and places to raise their young.Nationally, about 53 communities have received the designation. None is in Pennsylvania, but regionally Bethlehem and Hamburg are trying to be among the first.To qualify for the application, 50 Haycock residents must agree to apply to have their yards certified. The township needs a total of 250 points to be eligible. Points are assigned to homes and businesses that make the effort to comply with the certification guidelines.There are no restrictions on the use of a property after it’s certified. But guidelines regarding the identification and removal of invasive plants, as well as the creation of low-impact habitat, are part of the certification process.Last week, Fagan, who teaches animal sciences, appeared before the Haycock supervisors to drum up support. She brought along one of her students, who will be helping her.

“This is part of a senior project for some of my students,” Fagan told the supervisors.

Lisa Giordano, a Rutgers senior majoring in biochemistry, explained the benefits of the designation.

“There are three goals to benefit the Haycock community as part of our application: to savebats and bee populations, to identify and remove invasive plants and replace them with native species, and to limit the use of environmental poisons to frogs, fish, birds and humans,” she said.

She also said some of the requirements are easy to achieve. “You don’t have to build large water ponds or sources. A small watering area for birds and animals would be enough,” Giordano said

Giordano and others will be available for the remaining weekends in July to do home visits with interested residents and conduct inventories of their yards. There is no cost for their time.

Supervisors were unsure on whether to give their blessing to the effort, which isn’t required but would go a long way in generating interest.

“I’m not saying we don’t support this effort, but before we make any recommendations or spend taxpayer money — even as little as $25 for the application fee — we need to be sure enough residents want this,” said supervisors Chairwoman Kathy Babb.

Fagan maintains there is grass-roots interest, and she believes people just need to know what it means to have a certified wildlife garden.

“I think we have expertise in the community, and we’re willing to go door to door if that’s what it takes to let people know about this,” Fagan says.

Gina Frederick joined the effort about a month ago. Frederick said she has had a life-long interest in wildlife that led her to become a certified ecological landscape designer.

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-haycock-wildlife-federation-20110719,0,4573761.story

Native honeysuckle is in bloom at Gina Frederick’s home in Haycock Township. The family’s landscape is full of native plants instead of a traditional lawn.

Link to the photo above :
http://www.mcall.com/photos/mc-photojournal-071811-pictures,0,4791297.photogallery?index=mc-photojournal-071811-pictures-004

The photo can be viewed in the photo gallery at:

http://www.mcall.com/photos/mc-photojournal-071811-pictures,0,4791297.photogallery?index=mc-photojournal-071811-pictures-003

Visit mcall.com at http://www.mcall.com