Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘native plants’

Planting For Pollinators

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

A new pollinator habitat is created in Middle Township

By: Larissa Smith; CWF Wildlife Biologist

The Middle Township Environmental Commission in cooperation with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ worked to create a pollinator habitat at a recreation site in the township which is located in Cape May County. Commission members had been working to obtain permission to plant a pollinator garden on a township site. The Ockie Wisting Recreation Complex was just officially opened in the end of October. This recreation site will have playing fields, a playground and a wooded trail that leads to a lake and fishing pier.

With funding from Atlantic City Electric volunteers with the Middle Township Environmental Commission and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ  planted 138 native perennials . While it doesn’t look like much right now, come next spring and summer there will be plants for bees, butterflies and birds to use for food and habitat.  Not only will this pollinator meadow be great for wildlife, it won’t have to be mowed.  The Environmental Commission will be in charge of  maintenance and plans another work day in the spring to remove any non-native plants and trees in the area. We also plan to use this site as a demonstration garden for others interested in planting for pollinators.


  • Ockie Wisting Pollinator Habitat: List of Plantings – Fall 2017
    • Common Name             Scientific name
      Yellow Giant Hyssop       Agastache nepetoides
      Prairie Onion                   Allium stellatum
      Common Milkweed        Asclepias syriaca
      Butterflyweed                 Asclepias tuberosa
      Whorled Milkweed         Asclepias verticillata
      Boltonia                          Boltonia asteroides
      Maryland Golden Aster  Chrysopsis mariana
      Purple Mistflower           Conoclinium coelestinum
      Pink Coreopsis                Coreopsis rosea
      Purple Coneflower          Echinacea purpurea
      Rattlesnake Master         Eryngium yuccifolium
      Hyssop-leaved Thoroughwort Eupatorium hyssopifolium
      Showy Aster                    Eurybia spectabilis
      Coastal Joe-Pye Weed    Eutrochium dubium
      Ten-petal Sunflower       Helianthus decapetalus
      Meadow Blazingstar       Liatris ligulistylis
      Cardinal Flower               Lobelia cardinalis
      Scarlet Bee balm             Monarda didyma
      Wild Bergamot                Monarda fistulosa
      Spotted Horsemint         Monarda punctata
      Pink Muhly Grass            Muhlenbergia capillaris
      Calico Beardtongue        Penstemon calycosus
      Hairy Beardtongue         Penstemon hirsutus
      Garden Phlox                  Phlox paniculata
      Obedient Plant               Physostegia virginiana
      Lyre-leaf Sage                Salvia lyrata
      Fire Pink                         Silene virginica
      Compass Plant               Silphium laciniatum
      Seaside Goldenrod        Solidago sempervirens
      Aromatic Aster              Symph. oblongifolium
      Heath Aster                   Symphyotrichum ericoides
      New York Aster             Symphyotrichum novi-belgii
      Upland Ironweed          Vernonia glauca
      Culver’s Root                 Veronicastrum virg.
      Golden Alexanders        Zizia aurea


  • CMC Herald: Shovel’s in Hand: Pollinator Garden Planted at Wisting Rec. Complex:
  • CWF Pollinator Conservation Project

LBIF Earth Day Native Plant Sale: The Leftovers

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
Give back to nature by planting native this spring!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Beach plum (prunus maritima) trees act as great source of food for pollinators when in bloom in late April.

This past weekend we held our second annual native plant sale, in partnership with the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies, NJ. Despite some light rain, we had a great turnout at the event. All of the plants that we offered for sale were grown in New Jersey and without the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. They also provide a great source of food and cover for wildlife, especially pollinators.

If we all reduced the amount of lawn that we maintain and planted native, then in turn, our local environment would benefit. With the native plant sale at LBIF, we stress the need to plant native to help provide habitat for wildlife and reduce runoff to Barnegat Bay. If we all do a little, then our combined efforts will make an impact.

The perennials, shrubs, and trees that we sold were hand selected for their environmental benefits and aesthetic beauty. Without being sure what people wanted, we sold out some some species very quickly, so we are looking into holding a follow up sale at LBIF next month.

If you missed out on the sale and are still interested in purchasing some plants, here is what we have left:

Perennial wildflowers Quantity left
Solidago sempervirens Seaside goldenrod 7 Quart Quarts = $5
Baptisia tinctoria Wild yellow indigo 0 Quart #1 = $10
Eupatorium perfoliatum Common boneset 3 Quart #2 = $15
Solidago canadensis Canada Goldenrod 0 Quart
Helenium autumnale Common sneezeweed 10 Quart
Liatris spicata Dense blazing star 0 Quart
Lobelia siphilitica Blue lobelia 0 Quart
Rudbeckia laciniata Cutleaf coneflower 8 Quart
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii  New York Aster 3 Quart
Shrubs
Baccharis halimifolia Groundsel tree 2 #1
Iva frutescens High tide bush (marsh alder) 0 #1
Prunus maritima Beach plum 0 #2
Rhus copallinum Winged sumac 2 #2
Trees
Cercis canadensis Eastern red bud 0 #2
Acer rubrum Red maple 0 #2
Betula populifolia Gray birch 1 #2
Pinus virginiana Virginia pine 0 #2
Quercus phellos Willow oak 0 #2
Scientific name Common name   Size container

All plants are available for pickup in the S. Ocean County/N. Atlantic area. Please email Ben Wurst if you are interested in purchasing any of these plants!

 

Wildlife returns to the industrial Newark Bay waterfront

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

by David Wheeler

Under the sweltering September sun, our team discovers the earth at our fingertips. We ready the manure, topsoil, and mulch, wield the pickax and trowel, and labor the wheelbarrow through the trees and up the slope of a tidal berm.

osprey-silouette-by-blaine

 

We plant 250 native shrubs and 580 native herbaceous plugs. We hammer in nest boxes, install pollinator houses, construct mounds of brush for local and migrating wildlife, and create nesting habitat for northern diamondback terrapin, an at-risk turtle species.

We lose ourselves in nature for the day.

A migrating butterfly flits past leisurely and I look up from the soil to wipe my brow. Suddenly I remember exactly where this newly vibrant natural ecosystem is. Nearly overhead, I can watch never-ending streams of commuters and tractor trailers motor past over one of the busiest bridges in the nation – the Newark Bay Bridge. Just across the bay, I can see heavy industry. Out beyond the fence, more industry – ancient, tireless, modern progress marching forward.

firmenich-volunteers-by-blainefirmenich-by-blaine

Yet on this morning, and those that follow, we now have ecological progress here as well, in a place that was written off entirely not so long ago. The Newark Bay region has suffered a century and a half of environmental degradation at the hands of industry and unbridled development.

This active industrial site is home to Firmenich Inc., one of the largest manufactures of fragrances in the world. We have transformed the land today to invite wildlife partners to help balance the scales of the region’s damaged ecology.

dragonfly-1-by-blaine

Green Darner dew laden on Echinacea.

These partners are vital to our environment, to our health, to the world around us. They are the butterflies and bees, the wasps and beetles, the flies and moths that make up an army of pollinators that in coordinated effort provide humanity with the lungs of our planet. Without these pollinators, native plants could not sink carbon dioxide and impart oxygen to our surroundings, every minute of every day. Without these pollinators, the bread baskets of the world would wither away, no longer filled with grains, fruits, and vegetables.

The natural partnerships don’t stop with the pollinators born forth from meadow creation. These partners extend to migrating songbirds and mighty raptors, small mammals and diamondback terrapins.

“If we give nature an inch, it’s going to take a yard. Give it a chance and nature will return,” says biologist Blaine Rothauser, who is directing the restoration for GZA Environmental. “Wildlife just needs an opportunity.”

heron-by-blaine

Immature night heron with crab.

Nature’s inspiring return builds upon decades of ecological recovery in the region. Thanks to President Nixon’s Clean Water Act of 1973, the water began to get cleaner. Improving the water quality reanimated the food chain from the bottom up – phyto- and zooplankton, invertebrates and crustaceans reappeared. In turn, a fishery was reborn, which ushered in the return of herons, ibis, osprey, turtles, and even harbor seals – seen sunning on the banks of tidal shores in winter!

Yet much of the land around the water’s edge is still wanting.

“The restoration site is an important buffer habitat to a large portion of undeveloped tidal bay directly adjacent to the Firmenich complex,” says Rothauser. “Today we have 60 people planting a native community of shrubs, trees and plants on a formerly sterile lawn and an unnaturalized earthen berm. It is vital work that makes a real difference.”

blaine-with-plants

The team has also created opportunities for rare species to nest. Above our heads, an osprey platform has been installed, empowering this magnificent fish-eating raptor to continue its recovery along Newark Bay and many other New Jersey waterways, industrial and remote alike.

A barn owl box offers one of our most mysterious nighttime predators the opportunity to set up shop in a beneficial area – where there is no shortage of rabbits and field mice to help control.

barn-owl-by-blaine

Close up of a barn owl.

Across the pond, a purple martin condominium-like house offers the ample space necessary for these communal swallows to reside, a home base where they can feast on flying insects.

With the first phase of the project almost complete, the second phase will seek to transform the site’s holding ponds into ecologically productive floating wetlands, bringing herons and egrets and other wading birds.

Ultimately, this project is envisioned as one that can be replicated just about anywhere along Newark Bay – or any industrial waterfront for that matter. All it takes is the willingness to look at a site’s land from a different perspective – and in so doing, to understand that the ecological benefits of bringing back many wildlife species aren’t negated by losing economic tradeoffs.

Instead they can mean parallel economic benefits. Natural pest control. Fewer landscaping and pesticide costs. Increased employee morale and productivity, with a newfound opportunity to recharge body and mind with a rejuvenating break outside, enjoying natural beauty and the engagement of your senses.

killdeer-by-blainedragonfly-2-by-blainekestral-by-blaine

Images above from left to right – Killdeer, 12 Spotted Skipper, and American Kestrel.

New Jersey has long served as a primary engine for America’s industry and commerce – and in return has often been derided as the “Which exit?” land of nothing but turnpike and smokestacks. The Meadowlands just to the north of here bore the brunt of that reputation, yet in recent decades has made a mind-blowing ecological recovery to become a wildlife – and ecotourism – destination.

The waters flow south from the Meadowlands along the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, and they come together in the Newark Bay. Now, that next wave of wildlife recovery and habitat restoration has arrived just downstream – along the Newark Bay waterfront.

For wildlife, it’s where the action is.

firmenich-group-pic-by-blaine

David Wheeler is the executive director of Conserve Wildlife Foundation and author of the book, Wild New Jersey: Nature Adventures in the Garden State.

 

All photos courtesy of Blaine Rothauser.

 

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