Happy Earth Day 2019

“In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches,” said Paul R. Ehrlich, an American biologist in warning the world about human impact on Mother Nature. Unfortunately, his predictions have become reality. As presented in this article by the Earth Day Network, human exploitation of natural resources, deforestation, and the overuse of pesticides are causing an appalling decline of biodiversity in worldwide habitats. Therefore, the Earth Day Network has decided to dedicate this April 22nd, Earth Day to the cause of Protecting Our Species.

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Since its inception in 2015, Smart Yards Co-Op has been committed to protecting our local species by creating, building, and tending to ecological gardens. Each of our gardens is a link in a chain of microhabitats that support threatened birds, butterflies, and pollinators. To develop these relationships, our gardens incorporate plant combinations that are beautiful and functional in a complex ecosystem. We expertly choose plants that provide seasonal interest and bloom year round. The ecological diversity of our gardens creates an environment where the range of insect and bird life becomes an effective natural pest control. Our clients continue to marvel at the number of butterflies embellishing our gardens. Hummingbirds, chickadees, and cedar waxings represent some of the regular bird species nesting in and feeding from native California vegetation. Many years of research and hands-on experience guide the selection of grasses, perennials, shrubs, vines, and trees that provide food, water, and shelter for our local wildlife.

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To protect local species and their surrounding habitats, get started with these three simple actions:

1. Learn and teach children about native flora and fauna and endangered species in your area. Educate your friends and family about the magnificent wildlife and plants that live around us. The first step to protecting species is to learn about their importance. Highlighting their significance in our economy, as well as their crucial role in upholding the stability of our environment, promotes and encourages restorative action. For more inspiration, see our above-mentioned Easter activity dedicated to cultivating children's knowledge about local wildflowers.

2. Protect native plants responsible for providing food and shelter for native wildlife. Insects and habitat health go hand in hand. Attracting native insects such as bees and butterflies leads to the pollination of plants, resulting in healthy fruit and vegetable production. Without this essential step, other local inhabitants have no food sources. The spread of non-native species has greatly impacted native populations around the world as invasive species compete with natives for resources and habitat, forcing them towards extinction.

3. Substitute herbicides and pesticides - hazardous pollutants affecting local wildlife - with natural pest control methods. Many herbicides and pesticides take a long time to degrade. Additionally, these chemicals build up in the soils, revealing their harmful impact throughout the food chain. Predators such as hawks, owls, and coyotes can be harmed if they eat poisoned animals. Amphibians are particularly vulnerable to these chemical pollutants and suffer greatly as a result of the high levels of herbicides and pesticides in their habitat.

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To take further action for today's Earth Day theme, sign this petition by Environment California to prevent the usage of bee-killing pesticides in American wildlife refuges.

If you're interested in Smart Yards Co-op's projects and in working with us to make a difference visit us HERE.

Elizabeth Sarmiento