How will you celebrate spring?

Spring has officially begun according to the calendar and the google doodle. The teasingly warm temperatures in February and chilly winds in March may have you feeling a bit schizophrenic about the season. But the spring equinox means the sun is now passing near the equator on its way north creating nearly equal hours of daylight and darkness. The increasing hours of sunlight is the real trigger for the awakening of plants and wildlife.

It is the time of year when we start thinking about opening our windows, taking care of our lawns, and planting flowers in our yard. Hopefully you are also thinking about walking a park, fishing a local river, birdwatching on a local preserve, or biking a local trail.

As you plan your ”to do” list this spring make choices that are good for the earth. Consider the effect the pesticides and fertilizers you add to your lawn will have on the environment. Will they run off into a nearby stream or storm drain to contaminate our waterways? Many chemicals are harmful to beneficial insects which pollinate flowers and are a food source to other animals.

How do you choose the plants in your landscape? Native plants like coneflowers and phlox will feed local wildlife while exotic ornamentals like Bradford pear or burning bush will choke out natural areas. Spring is a terrific time to add native shrubs which produce berries, fruit, and seeds, to the yard. You can choose to attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to your home with your plantings.

As you look at the pile of things you empty from the garage or closet think about ways to recycle or reuse them. Chemicals, medicine, batteries, and paint should not be put down drains or in the trash. Instead take them to East Central Indiana solid wast district for safe disposal.

Gather friends together to clean up or protect natural areas. Picking up trash, removing invasive plants like garlic mustard or asian bush honeysuckle, and working on trails is fun and makes you feel good.

Without high quality natural areas, humans suffer along with wildlife. Make time to get outdoors to look for spring wildflowers in an forest, smell the fresh earth while searching for mushrooms, or listen to birdsong along a trail.

Enjoy a spring walk in the woods with Red-tail Land Conservancy this Saturday, March 25, 2017. We will be celebrating the opening of our newest preserve, White River Woods, following our annual meeting. The woods are located along the White River just north of Prairie Creek Reservoir on county road 575 S.

Join friends and other nature loving people at the Oakwood Retreat Center, adjacent to White River Woods at 2pm. The gathering will feature a presentation about the new Children of Indiana Nature Park from Melissa Moran of The Nature Conservancy, awards, and a recap of our conservation actions in 2016.

Guided hikes through the woods will start following the program. Conditions may be muddy, bring appropriate footwear. The event if free and open to members and non members.

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