Habitat Gardening in Central New York (HGCNY) started in March 2002, billing ourselves as "a garden club with a difference."
In 2004, we became a chapter of Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes. It was a perfect fit for our efforts to preserve biodiversity by providing habitat for wildlife, especially by planting native plants. It also provided an opportunity for us to support this important national effort to promote native plants. We liked its model of having local chapters, meeting monthly, to inform and inspire people to make a difference in their own yards, even while each person's efforts were collectively improving the habitat of the whole continent.
We are fortunate to have had a talented Board of Directors and Planning Committee over the years who all have had solid ideas and work together well, even as its composition slowly changes.
We've changed and grown over the years, and we're now pleased to have Liverpool Library as our co-sponsor of our meetings.
Even though we're a membership organization (and people's dues to Wild Ones is a prime source of revenue to fund our projects), most of our meetings are free and open to the public.
We also have a twice-monthly e-newsletter that is free to the public. (Sign up on our homepage.)
YOUR yard can help butterflies
and other pollinators
Since our beginning in 2002, we have been convinced of the importance of planting native plants. In 2007, though, we were pleased to see scientific confirmation of our beliefs when Bringing Nature Home by Dr. Douglas Tallamy was published. This book, along with Sara Stein's Noah's Garden provides a solid foundation for our work.
“It is the gardeners of the world who can open their gardens to the pollinator refugees, who can provide temporary or permanent shelter until humans refine our outlook on the natural world.
By actively sheltering pollinators, we gardeners remind ourselves that we have the power to positively overcome some of the humankind's more destructive tendencies.
Additionally, our gardens provide a teaching laboratory for young children to connect with an ever-vanishing natural environment.
Our gardens might provide a network of urban and suburban biological corridors that link more protected sites and allow pollinators to move freely from one natural area via our gardens to other natural areas.
And finally, all lofty, Earth-saving notions aside, you might wish to encourage pollinators in your gardens simply because they are more interesting than any television show you can imagine.”
Eric Grissell, author of Insects and Gardens
Create a Monarch Waystation
Monarch butterflies need our help! As habitat resources for food and raising young diminish due to urban sprawl and other factors, our yards become essential for providing what monarchs need: milkweed plants and nectar plants. Create a Monarch Waystation in your yard and register it with Monarch Watch, a University of Kansas program.
You can help our pollinators!
Pollinators are essential to life. Nearly 80% of our world's crop plants require pollination, and pollination of other plants is vital to ecosystems. Pollinators need protection. Due to biodiversity threats such as land development, pollution, and pesticide poisoning, we are losing pollinators around the world at an alarming rate. Greater awareness and global action are required now to change this trend.
We participate in a service project each year
Black swallowwort is especially harmful to monarchs since as a milkweed relative they fool the butterfly into laying its eggs on this plant and also because it crowds out the milkweed that unlike swallowwort supports the development of the larvae.
In 2007, we revisited the area we adopted in 2006, and again "eradicated" the garlic mustard in the area. We know it will reappear next year as the existing seed bank sprouts, but we'll continue our work on this area each year until the seed bank is exhausted.
Our "No Mow" lawn experiment
Here's a photo of one of our members' No Mow experimental strip of No Mow grass - the strip between the flowers and the regular turf grass. So far we're pleased with the results - and the environmental benefits of needing no fertilization, watering, and limited mowing (perhaps once or twice a year.) We bought the seed from Prairie Nursery. It's a blend of Chewings, Azay sheep, SR3100 Hard, Scalis Hard, Creeping Red, and Dawson Red fescues.