Smell Like Dirt

In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood

Archive for conservation

Gardening for bugs

Louise, a friend of Smell Like Dirt, alerted us to this recent article in the NY Times about the importance of gardening with native plants that will feed the native insects, who will then attract the native birds. Doug Tallamy has written Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens which does a great job of explaining the importance of gardening with the entire food chain in mind. And, planting with native plants is a great way to cut down on the amount of water, chemicals and maintenance that a garden full of non-native species requires. Read the article and get inspired to attract more bugs!

Stop those Catalogs!!

If you’re like me, you get TONS of catalogs in the mail each week. And since you are on a environmentally-themed blog, I assume you are recycling those catalogs instead of tossing them into the trash. But have you ever wished you could stop those catalogs from coming in the first place? It drives me crazy when I think of the trees that are killed for the pages in the catalogs, the energy that’s used to print them and then the fuel that the post office uses to move them all over the country. If there was just some way to stop them. Well, now there is! A friend recently shared a new website that you can use to stop receiving catalogs. And the best thing is that you can pick and choose which ones to stop. Can’t bear to live without yourLL Bean? You don’t have to! This service is not like the “do not call” service for telemarketers that stops everything. You can select which ones you no longer wish to see. And its easy. I let my catalogs pile up for a few days and then when I have a few minutes, I go to www.catalogchoice.org. The first time you will need to join (its free!) and then it will ask you to enter the name of the catalog you wish to stop. Chances are, its already in their database, so you click on it, but if not, you can enter a new one. Then it will ask you to enter your name, exactly how it appears on the catalog (this is important), and your customer number if you have one–usually printed on the address label– and that’s it! They will notify the catalog company and you will be taken off their list. I figure its going to take me a few months to get all of the catalogs I receive stopped, but its worth it. I wonder if my mailman will notice?

Tree Seedling and Rain Barrel Sale January 26

The annual Mecklenburg County Tree Seedling and Rain Barrel Sale is just around the corner!  If you haven’t already ordered your rain barrel, make sure you do it by Monday, January 14th.  And when you are there picking up your Rain Barrel on the 26th, you can pick up a lot of great bushes and trees which are native to the Piedmont area of the Carolinas.  This sale is an hugely popular event and even though the doors don’t open until 9am, lines start forming around 8am.  There will be dogwoods, red maples, oaks, beauty berry, long leaf pine, button bushes and more on sale for $1-$5.  For a complete list and more information, click here.  Doors will remain open while supplies last, or noon, whichever comes first. If you miss out on the opportunity to get a rain barrel on the 26th, there will be other opportunities throughout 2008. For a list of the schedule, click here.

Bye Bye Birdie

We’ve all heard about the declining population of songbirds around the world, but here’s a great video by the CBC that does a wonderful job of explaining the impact of suburban sprawl, industrial farming and logging/clear cutting on our bird population. If you’re on this site, your probably already concerned about environmental issues, but I hope this video will inspire you to take your concern to the next level. Wildlife needs more advocates! If not you, then who?

Swat a Litterbug!

Don’t you just hate litter?!?  Litter is ugly, costly to remove and dangerous to wildlife.  A lot of hawks and other raptors are injured and killed each year by cars.  And one of the main reasons is that people throw litter from cars on the roads and highways, which attract rodents to the sides of the roads.  And the presence of rodents attracts hawks and other raptors.   Many cities, counties and states have started Litterbug Hotlines to allow citizens to report Litterbugs.  Here in the Charlotte, NC area, we have two ways to report litterbugs.  You can call the hotline number (704 432 1772)or go online and fill out a report.  I have the number programmed into my cellphone.  When I see someone throw something out the window, or debris fly out of the back of trucks, I use my cellphone to report the deed!  When you witness a litterbug in action, note the license plate number, date/time and location of the incident, and the type of litter (cigarette butt, soda can, etc).  When you can safely do so, call the number and leave the information on the hotline voice mail or go online to fill out the form.  The offending party will be sent a letter informing them that someone reported their “litterbuggy-ness” and a warning of the fines that could result if s/he continues to litter.  If you live elsewhere in the United States, do a Google search for a Litterbug Hotline near you.  Maybe if offenders realize that there are eyes everywhere watching, they will think twice before they toss their trash out of the window.  So go on!  Swat A Litterbug!

Pileated Woodpeckers

Another video from our recent Smell Like Dirt Takes a Road Trip to the Ichetucknee Springs State Park in North Florida. We got lucky and stumbled upon a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers who were too focused on looking for food to care about us filming them. Pileated Woodpeckers can be found across the Eastern United States so most of us have a great chance to see them. Find a large forested area near you and see if you can find some for yourself. They are very loud so chances are you will hear them before you see them.

Special thanks to Lauri Shubert of Lake City, Florida, for letting us use the still photos of a male pileated working on a tree in her own backyard. Lauri definitely Smells Like Dirt!

Getting Kids into Nature

There’s a great article in the Charlotte Observer today highlighting the need to get our kids outside and exploring nature. Friends of Smell Like Dirt, Mark and Patti Weber, are featured due to their commitment to teaching an appreciation of nature and encouraging Alex and Matthew to Smell Like Dirt! (Alex and Matthew can be seen briefly in our “Mister” video – running through the sprinklers! Check it out in the VodPod listing on the far right of your screen) I’m counting on the Weber kids to lead the environmental stewardship movement when they get older. They’ve already got a healthy appreciation of all things outdoors and love animals of all kinds. They have lots of birdfeeders in their yard and Alex and Matthew can identify the birds that visit.

The Weber’s have been good friends for over 14 years and we congratulate them on doing such a great job raising conservation-minded kids. We hope that others will take their lead! If you want to get in touch with the Webers, leave a comment here for them and we’ll make sure they get it.

You can order the book mentioned in the article <a href=”Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder“>”The Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv right from this site by clicking here or go to the “My Favorite Books and Products” page

Rain Barrels On Sale in Charlotte on Nov 17th

On Saturday, November 17th from 10am to noon, Mecklenburg County Soil and Water Conservation District will be holding an emergency rain barrel sale. No orders will be taken so its “first come, first served” at the Hal Marshall Building at 700 North Tryon in uptown Charlotte. 60 gallon rain barrels (like the one in the rain barrel video) will be $85 and 80 gallon barrels are $100. Cash or check is due at the time of pickup. Don’t be caught without a barrel next time it rains!!!