Living Greenways Campaign

Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago - Warren Buffett

Join my five point Campaign called "Living Greenways" to help revitalize native landscapes, counter habitat fragmentation and suggest alternatives as we rebuild environmentally sensitive areas such as those affected by California wildfires or Flint, Michigan.


In partnership with businesses, homeowners/and city planners, let's promote habitat conservation that will help both the insects and the wildlife that depends on them. Indirectly, people will be rewarded with pretty flowers at low cost while restoring biodiversity in a sustainable way. Such habitats will provide health benefits to humans and help mitigate environmental health issues that pose a growing threat to our society.


This campaign can be an engaging team building activity at school and work or a fun family activity at home.

Wildlife's food chain begins with insects

Wildlife's food chain begins with insects

Five Point Call for Action

1) If you build it, they will come.

Garden Landscape Designs

Encourage businesses and homeowners to leave a part of their yard (say 10%) untouched to create a natural habitat. Soften the look of your yard or park by leaving a strip un-mowed for a natural-looking perimeter. Take a corner patch with leaves spread within a perimeter made of dead tree branches in a not so windy spot which gets four to five hours of sunlight daily. Ask city planners to build natural landscapes as human landscapes are not good for insects.

Garden Design

2) Need for a balanced diet.

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Encourage businesses and homeowners to grow clusters of native plants yielding rainbow colored flowers in the yard or park that provide nectar and host plants for pollinators. Nectar plants alone do not create habitat, pollinators also need host plants to live.


Remove invasive exotic plants so they don’t steal water and nutrition from native plants. If the space is a limited or in hardscape features like walkways, use flower pots.  Note that pots do not work for all native plants in all places. For example, some native plants have a very deep root system. Hence, planting in pots means local research—something than can also be fun.


Search native plants supporting butterfly and moth species specific to your zip code. These butterfly garden guides are useful too.

3) Give reasons to come again.

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Select plants that bloom from Spring to Fall. Incorporate tall grass, vines and shrubs too. Cut down on mowing and stop over-watering! Cut grass has short roots that make it harder to survive pest attacks, disease and drought. Use ever green shrubs to maintain the garden appearance year round. When trees die, leave them for the insects, woodpeckers and cavity-nesting birds (and mammals). If the tree might fall on a house or road, take off the limbs or cut the tree short enough not to pose danger.


Take a garden tour to decide what styles and which types of plants appeal to you.

Garden Calendar

4) Make it Inviting.

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Draw a site plan and keep it simple. Add a water source such as a bird bath or a small pond. Arrange big plants in the back, medium plants in the middle and small plants in the front or around walkways. Start with a limited number of plants that are easy to grow or are ever green. If adding fertilizer, use slow-release fertilizers that make nutrients available to plants for a longer time. They are kinder to the environment and are

usually more cost-effective.


Follow this plant rating scheme for butterflies.

5) Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

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Give ground cover with rocks or a short wall. Such enclaves will be a welcome retreat providing protection from predators and cover for the young to grow. Limit the use of pesticides, leaf blowers and lawn mowers. Protect natural ponds/lake habitats critical for insect population.

Sign Up

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Contact us for periodic updates on this campaign.


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Benefits to Humans

  1. Children and Air Pollution - American Lung Association
  2. Green spaces and cognitive development in primary schoolchildren. - Dadvand, P., Nieuwenhuijsen, M. J., et al. (2015) PNAS, 112(26)
  3. Association of access to parks and recreational facilities with the physical activity of young children - Roemmich, J. N., Epstein, L. H., Raja, et al. (2006) Preventive Medicine Volume 43, Issue 6, December 2006, Pages 437-441
  4. What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health ? A Multi-Study Analysis - Barton, J. O., & Pretty, J. (2010) Environ. Sci. Technol, 44(10), 3947–3955
  5. Restorative Effects of Natural Environment Experiences - Hartig, T., Mang, M., & Evans, G. W. (1991) Environment and Behavior, 23(1), 3–26
  6. Green and blue spaces and behavioral development in Barcelona schoolchildren: the BREATHE project - Amoly, E., Dadvand, P., Forns, J., et al. (2014) Environmental Health Perspectives, 122(12), 1351–8
  7. Children With Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After Walk in the Park - Kuo, F. E. (2009) Journal of Attention Disorders, 12(5), 402–409


Insect use in potential Human Treatment

  • Centipede venom - Hyperlipidemia
  • Earthworms - Antimicrobial
  • Helminths - Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Leeches - Osteoarthritis, deep venous thrombosis, wound healing after plastic surgery.
  • Snail venom - Analgesia
  • Spider venom - Analgesia
  • Tick venom - Vascular and thrombotic disease

Supporting Research

Breeding and Foraging Benefits of Native Plants for Birds (pdf)

Download

Impact of Nonnative plants on Bird Populations (pdf)

Download