Archive for the 'Pollinators' Category

TPW TV – Up on the (Green) Roof

Friday, November 16th, 2018
Austin Central Library rooftop garden.

Austin Central Library rooftop garden.

This is Passport to Texas

The new public library in Austin is an oasis in the midst of a steel and concrete desert.

[opens w/ambience] This is the, uh, rooftop garden, which we also call the butterfly garden.

John Gillum is library facilities manager. Native plants sway in the breeze six stories above busy thoroughfares.

It is a green roof. It means a roof that’s actually landscaped. We wanted to do something to help out our little pollinators. We will do anything we can to attract them. If we can come up with different plants we think will draw more butterflies, we’ll do it.

An oasis of native plants help bees and butterflies make their way through increasingly urban landscapes. It also makes for a nice spot to sit and read.

This is really the best part of the library as far as a natural setting to sit in.

Putting a park on a building saves space and lowers energy costs when temperatures soar.

As opposed to the concrete around us, this is going to be an area that really absorbs heat rather than reflects it out, so even in the kind of summers that we get here in Austin, this is still going to be a pretty pleasant place to be.

Can’t get to the library? Then get to a television. Explore the Austin Central Library rooftop garden on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS, the week of November 25th.

In an age when news about nature is not always cheery, look for some good news on the top shelf of Austin’s new library.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Landscaping for Wildlife

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

Wildscapes are beautiful and beneficial.

This is Passport to Texas

Whether you have an apartment balcony or large backyard, you can take simple steps to help improve habitat for wildlife. It’s called “wildscaping.” Texas Parks and Wildlife provides online resources to help Texans begin landscaping their property for wildlife. And, really, you can start small. As small as a pot of native flowering plants.

The information can guide you with things like creating a humming-bird or butterfly garden; you can also find recommended plant lists for your part of the state.

Even a small patch of butterfly attracting flowers is a great way to start. Speaking from experience… there is nothing more magical than rolling up your driveway after work to see your garden alive with butterflies. Makes me smile every single time.

Essentially, what you’ll want to do is to provide food, water and shelter for the critters that come calling. And the more of this wildscape habitat that you provide, the more wildlife you’ll attract.

One of Texas Parks and Wildlife’s urban biologists, Kelly Simon, wrote an informative book on the subject, aptly titled: Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife.

Also check out the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for classes, tours and demonstrations featuring wildscapes.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Sharing is Caring Concerning Pollinators

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018
#TXPollinators

#TXPollinators

This is Passport to Texas

Love bugs? Then participate in the Pollinator BioBlitz, October 5 – 21.

[We have] two goals in mind: to increase awareness about pollinators, and about the habitat that they require.

Johnnie Smith is with Texas Parks and Wildlife. Pollinators include bees, butterflies, beetles, moths and other critters that move pollen while foraging.

If you participate in the pollinator bio-blitz, you’re going to have an opportunity to observe pollinators at a site that you visit, like your local zoo or aquarium or nature center. And observe the pollinators that are there. Grab a picture of the pollinators you find, and you can post them onto Instagram. We’re asking all of the participants to use the hashtag #TXpollinators.

Post findings, on iNaturalist.org. Texas Parks and Wildlife’s website, has pages dedicated to the Pollinator Bioblitz.

Where people can learn what pollinators might be in their area. Links to what might be blooming in your area right now—that’s hosted out of the Wildflower center—and then also, to be aware of habitat you have that supports pollinators. And if you don’t have habitat in or near your home, school library… We’re encouraging people to try and get organized in planting pollinator habitat.

The Pollinator BioBlitz is October 5 through 21.

The Wildlife restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Help an Icon with Habitat

Monday, October 1st, 2018
monarchs

Monarchs enjoying a respite before moving on.

This is Passport to Texas

Habitat loss along its migration route may be one reason the Monarch butterfly is in decline. While feeding on nectar, Monarchs pollinate wildflowers along their route, which benefits our ecosystem.

There are two primary ways that habitat supports pollinators.

Johnnie Smith is with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

And one [way] is, the adult pollinators oftentimes feed on nectar of flowers. So, flowering plants that are a food source for the pollinator is very important. But also, is the food source that the pollinator’s larvae rely on as they’re growing up and becoming an adult. And so, that is just as important as the flowering plants that support the adults.

For Monarchs, native milkweed is an important plant. By cultivating them in our yards, along with other nectar and larval plants, we can all play a part in their survival.

There is no effort that is too small to be counted worthy. And there’s no spot of land that is too small to contain pollinator habitat. So, we really want to empower everybody—tht they can make a difference. Right where you stand. Right where you live—you can crate pollinator habitat, and help turn around this negative trend with the monarchs.

Tomorrow: the Pollinator Bioblitz, an event to build awareness to help all pollinators.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

#POLLINATORWEEK: Milkweed for Monarchs

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018
Milkweed

Milkweed

This is Passport to Texas

More than seventy species of milkweed have been recorded nationwide; over half of those are native to Texas. Including two that are endemic.

These are species that are found nowhere else but within the Texas border. One of them is called Texas Milkweed, which is found in canyons in Central Texas. And then we have a species called Coastal Milkweed that occurs roughly from the Houston area to just north of Brownsville.

Jason Singhurst, a botanist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, says milkweeds provide sustenance to the a delightful pollinator—the iconic monarch butterfly—during its migration.

So, here in Texas, we know certain species like green milkweed, antelope horns, broadleaf milkweed, and zizotes are some of our most abundant species that we’re seeing monarch larvae and adults visit.

Because milkweed species vary, do monarchs use each species in the same or different ways?

That’s a really good question. That’s something we’re trying to figure out in Texas. And that’s why we started this mapping project called Texas Milkweeds and Monarchs project—using iNaturalist. It’s an app that you can download on your smartphone. We’re using that project to help us identify different species of milkweeds across the state, and then also which species that larvae, or adult monarch butterflies are visiting.

Find a link to the Milkweeds and Monarchs project on iNaturalist at passporttotexas.org.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.