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Thursday, December 4, 2014

10 Reasons to Become a TLC Member

As the year draws to a close, we at TLC would like to share our appreciation for our Members, who provide vital support for every aspect of our work. Just like there are countless reasons to love Southern Chester County, there are also countless reasons to become a TLC member or to purchase a membership for a friend or family member. Here are just ten:

The white oak at Stateline Woods Preserve
1. Our nature preserves are free and open to the public, year-round, 7 days a week.
We believe everyone should have access to meaningful interaction with the outdoors. We love to see people hiking, jogging, riding, walking with their dogs, or simply enjoying nature on our 200+ acres of public preserves. Do you enjoy TLC’s nature preserves and trails? Become a member to support the maintenance of the land you love! Memberships—not government funds—are what enable us to keep the preserves open.

2. We speak for the land
TLC provides a voice for your local land, natural resources, and history, protecting the irreplaceable in Southern Chester County for generations to come. We conserve land in perpetuity, so that your grandchildren, their grandchildren, and beyond, will enjoy the many quality of life benefits of open space.

The Isle of Skye during TLC's 2012 Scotland Trip
3. TLC makes a fabulous travel companion
In 2012, we launched our TLC Travels program with a conservation partnership excursion to Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish Highlands. Travelers explored an amazing array of native flora and fauna, experienced centuries-old historic sites, and learned about Aigas’ pioneering conservation projects. Members are invited to join TLC Travels the Scottish Highlands 2015, a trip that’s not to be missed!

4. We love your dogs
At TLC’s nature preserves, dogs are allowed off-leash as long as they are under your control. Our Stateline Woods Preserve even provides doggy composters as an eco-friendly way to dispose of pet waste. Your pup can show his TLC pride with our Canine Pals Membership—you’ll get all the perks of an individual membership, and we’ll send a dog tag with the TLC logo. Next time you two are out walking on the preserves, everyone will know you’ve contributed to keeping the land beautiful.

5. We love your horses
We know better than anyone that one of the best ways to view Southern Chester County is from on a horse! Our preserves allow ride-in access, and many of our trails are equine-friendly. This year, your horse or pony can become an honorary TLC member with our Equine Pals Membership! This also makes a thoughtful in-memoriam gift for a beloved equine companion. Your equine friend will receive a halter/bridle tag with the TLC logo.

Wildlife in Winter
6. You'll receive discounts and priority registration to all of our educational events
Our educational series never hibernates for the winter. Members receive reduced admission to all of our programs, including the upcoming Evergreen Exploration, Owl Prowl, Winter Solstice, Wildlife in Winter, Living History Hikes, Sky Tour, and the list goes on. Memberships also help us to develop new programs each year.

7. You’ll have access to our state-of-the-art bird watching setup
Our bird blind is the perfect spot to watch wildlife of all kinds at our Marshall Bridge Preserve. TLC members have the exclusive opportunity to rent the bird blind, as well as our high-quality spotting scope, for a day of bird watching.

8. We'll help you tailor a hike, program, or day on the preserves just for you and your group
Everyone wants to explore the land differently, and TLC members will have the opportunity to design an excursion or program out on the preserves, led by our knowledgeable staff, custom-made for your specific interests. The possibilities are endless!

9. Members receive great discounts at local businesses
TLC members receive a 10% discount at many local shops and businesses, including Trail Creek Outfitters, Dansko’s Jennersville outlet, Flickerwood Wine Cellars, Buds to Blooms Garden & Supply Co., Transcend Wellness and Yoga, and more!

10. You'll help us keep Southern Chester County history alive
Conservation is about more than land. At TLC, we protect the integrity of place, which includes historic structures and sites. Memberships help us to preserve places like the 100-year-old Chandler Mill Bridge, and the Bucktoe Cemetery, an important part of Kennett Square’s history as a hub for the Underground Railroad.

This holiday season, show your support for TLC’s conservation efforts, educational programs, exciting events, and protection of the land and resources you love. Become a member today!

**From now until December 31st, 2014, new members will be entered into our Harvest Member Madness drawing to win a special delivery from TLC Business Member Logical Living Fresh Express. Logical Living delivers local foods from some of the best farms in the area. The winner will be able to pick anything from their menu, up to $50, to be delivered straight to their door! Click here for more info.**

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Deer Hunting in SE PA

Opening day of shotgun season for the southeastern portion of Pennsylvania, including Chester County begins on December 1st, the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Whether you are a hunter, hiker, or horseback rider there are some things that you should keep in mind to make your outdoor experiences pleasant for all during this time.

  • Educate yourself about where you spend time outdoors. Natural lands with active recreation often have deer management plans in place that include various hunting schedules. Also, there are state regulated schedules, that vary over the season.  Don't be in the right place at the wrong time. 
  • Wear 'blaze' orange so that you do not surprise hunters, other hikers, horseback riders, or other recreational users of the land.  This includes your canine pals.  You are wearing orange not because a hunter will mistake you for a deer but making it so that other users of the land (hunters, hikers, horseback riders) are alerted to your presence. 
  • Most properties where hunting is allowed is done so in an effort to better manage the effect of deer herds on the local region.  Over browsing of native flora and automobile accidents are primary reasons for appropriate deer management.  Please respect any property closing signs.
  • If you notice irregular activity on a property that you hunt, or hike; contact the landowner or call for assistance from 911 or the SE PA Game Commission office.   
    Game Law/Poaching Violation in PA
    ·  Call 911 to report any incidences, they may direct you to call the PA Game Commission or they will put the call through to the PA Game Commission
    ·  Call the SE Game Commission office:  610-926-3136 to report poaching in progress
    ·  Call the Game Commission Hotline to turn in a poacher: 1-888-742-8001


Please visit our Hunting Rules webpage for information about hunting season at TLC's Preserves. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

2014 Master Naturalist Program

Geology Field Trip with State Geologist
This past Saturday our 2014 Master Naturalist trainees braved the wet weather and ventured out to the Bucktoe Creek Preserve to learn about stewardship and restoration projects conducted at the site for the final day in their 55-hour training class. The adventurous and enthusiastic group of eight have now completed requirement 1 of 3 in becoming a certified Pennsylvania Master Naturalist. This 55-hour training course provides foundation training in natural resources and natural history of the southeastern and coastal plains eco-region here in Chester County. The classes were held once per week at the Stroud Water Research Center, and every other Saturday at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve. The topics range from geology and watersheds to botany and wildlife studies. Each topic is led by a professional in their field, and we would like to thank everyone for volunteering their time to help our master naturalist reach their potential.

Botany Field Trip with Botanist, Janet Ebert
The next step in becoming a certified master naturalist is the required eight hours of advanced training and thirty hours of service. Service projects are implemented through a partnering organization, and must build upon topics covered during the 55-hour training program. Over the past two years, TLC has partnered with eight master naturalist and we are looking to partner with another four or five again this year. Projects have included, making of a Bucktoe Creek Preserve Arboretum Tree Brochure, installation of a native meadow (currently underway), monitoring of bat boxes at our nature preserve, and the creation of a conservation documentary called, Blank Spot, featuring local conservationist. We look forward to working with another group of naturalist with an unyielding passion for the environment.

Group shot of the 2014 PA Master Naturalist Trainees

Friday, October 31, 2014

Cheers to Our Village

We had a wonderful evening last night at Nourish Juice Bar in Kennett Square celebrating the yearly collaboration between One Village Coffee and Victory Brewing Company.   Attendees enjoyed delicious fondue, pumpkin hummus, and a selection of cheeses which were washed down with Victory Village beer and One Village Coffee.  We were so lucky to have the very talented Chris Ferron and his friend, Brad McNemar on hand to provide wonderful entertainment. 

A lot of new faces throughout the crowd learned more about TLC, our education programs, nature preserves, and historic resources--all things proceeds from this event will help to support! A thank you to all who supported our event and especially the amazing and tireless work of Francine Covelli, Nourish Juice Bar staff, Chris Ferron, Brad McNemar, and Steve Hackman of One Village Coffee. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Welcoming Fall

It has been a busy start to the 2014 fall season here at TLC. This is a great time of year for outdoor nature programs and community events. It is also the mid-point of the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program! We would like to update you on programs & events you may have missed, and what's coming up this fall and winter.

It is the time of year where Monarch Butterflies begin their journey south to Mexico for the winter months. Historically during this occurrence monarchs can be seen flying overhead by the hundreds, however, in recent years the population of monarchs is declining. Many factors, some of which include weather extremes (temperature fluctuations & drought) and loss of resources due to new agricultural practices & deforestation, are attributed to the decline in population over the past decade.

Monarch Butterfly
This unsettling decline prompted TLC to hold a Monarch Butterfly Walk led by environmental educator, Holly Merker, to highlight these issues and ways that individuals can help their numbers.
Some of the ways individuals can help include planting milkweed and other plants that flower during fall migration and avoiding the use of pesticides. Communities can also play a large role by being cognizant of mowing during migration, avoiding mass use of pesticides and by building community awareness. Thanks to all of the participants who attended in order to learn more about this wondrous insect and ways to make an impact on their population! Here is a great website to learn more on your own (reference):

Edible Plant Forage
TLC also finished up the third & final part to our annual Wild Foraging Series on edible plants at Bucktoe Creek Preserve with Lee Peterson, author of the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants. Several species were identified, characterized and collected such as lamb's quarters, chicory, garlic mustard and more. The walk ended with an evening of delicious edibles, the favorite being garlic mustard pesto prepared by Lee before the walk. Our Wild Foraging Series will begin again in the spring of 2015 -- stay tuned for details!

The Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program has finished botany and entered into the wildlife studies segment of the 10-week course. Trainees received a plant identification field trip with botanist, Janet Ebert, then searched through rocks and mud for amphibians and reptiles with herpetologist, Kyle Loucks. They also explored the life cycle of honeybees and their importance in pollination with TLC beekeeper, Dan Borkosi of Sun Bear Apiary and Chester County Beekeepers Association.

2014 Master Naturalist Trainees
TLC also hosted an activity for Unionville Elementary students in 1st and 5th grade at the Unionville Fair this past Friday! Fifth grade students learned about pollination and the importance of plant diversity, while the first graders learned about predator & prey dynamics -- both while playing fun activities!

This fall TLC has a line up of environmental programs for families and adults. Come out to our Living History Hike on Saturday, October 11th from 10AM - 12PM to learn about the historical ruins at Bucktoe Creek Preserve while we highlight the issues surrounding the important Chandler Mill Bridge. Families, prospective beekeepers or anyone who has donated to the apiary crowd-sourcing or fundraising campaigns this past year are invited to the final Open Hive Day of 2014 on Saturday, October 18th with Dan Borkoski, where he will discuss techniques for closing the hive and we'll also look at the new additions to the apiary. Click here to see a full list of programs going on this fall and winter!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thanks for Giving A Hoot for Conservation!

Remnants of the last remaining silent auction items waiting for their new owners litter our office and we have had time to sleep off the busy days leading up to our 2014 Hootenanny Hoedown.  As things get back to normal, we just wanted to re-cap our hugely successful Hootenanny!  We want to say a HUGE thank you to the Hootenanny Committee for all of their hard work to pull off such a wonderful event and to Anne & Michael Moran for all of their support and the use of their beautiful property!

Sadly, the beautiful weather we had been experiencing did not hold and Saturday, September 13 brought a decent amount of rain but the clouds parted at the last possible minute to give our party goers a dry arrival and later a spectacular sunset.

Attendees enjoyed cocktail hour in The Ruins with lasting views of open spaces--the funds raised from our party will help to protect more such views!  Dinner from Bixby's Caterers was served as the sun was setting and folks made their way into the tent to explore all of the fun.   Blackjack and Craps tables were in full swing as the night progressed and our Marshall was kept busy arresting the party goers who hadn't thought to pre-purchase their "Get Out of Jail" cards.  We think he ended up in jail at one point throughout the evening--not sure how that worked out!   The dance floor stayed packed with D.J. Frosty's great selection of tunes, and our silent auction had a few heated bidding wars--the Honda dirt bike and Curious Bunny statue from Margery Torrey Sculptures

Our 2014 Hootenanny Hoedown raised over $30,000 for conservation!  Thank you to all of our sponsors, in-kind donors, silent auction donors, and event attendees for Giving A Hoot for Conservation and making this event such a win!

View more of our photos HERE

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sneak Peek of some Great TLC Silent Auction Items

TLC's Hootenanny Hoedown is rapidly approaching--have you heard it is taking place on Saturday, September 13 at The Ruins on The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Course.  If you have not yet purchased tickets, you are not going to want to miss this event--so BUY THEM NOW

We have so many wonderful silent auction items which are listed this page, so be sure to preview them to find out what item you may want to take home but we are going to highlight a few items which may take some planning with friends and family before the event--VACATIONS!!

Isabela, Puerto Rico: Casa de Olas is very private oceanfront rental on Shacks Beach, Isabela Puerto Rico. Situated on the North West coast of PR it is just steps away from some of the best SURFING, STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING, KITEBOARDING and DIVING. A first floor 2 bedroom apartment with a full kitchen with dishwasher; 2 full bathrooms with showers inside; another half bath with washer and dryer outside next to the private POOL!  This property sleeps six. 

Pick your dates of one week from May 1 through October 15

OBX, Carova, North Carolina: This vacation rental is ONLY accessible with a 4WD vehicle (NOT AWD).  You will drive along the beach to access this beautiful home situated behind the dunes with stunning views of the ocean.   Be sure to invite your friends/extended family as this house has SIX bedrooms and 7 1/2 BATHS.  The wonderful amenities include a gourmet kitchen and a theater room but the beach steps away beckons.  Wild horses among the dunes offer frequent photo opportunities.

This Opportunity is for October 11-October 18th 2014!! 

Lewes, Delaware: This 3 bedroom/ 2 bath apartment sleeps six and offers beautiful views of the Delaware Bay and Lewes lighthouse.  It is located above the East of Maui Surf Shop and convenient to the city beach (just across the street) and to Cape Henlopen, which is a short bike ride or drive away, as well as to the town of Lewes.  Cape Henlopen State Park is a mecca for the avid bird watcher, and offers many nature trails and hiking options.   The historic town of Lewes has wonderful shops, museums, and restaurants. Choose your week from October 2014 through May 2015.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bonmartini-Fini & TLC?

 What does a vineyard in Italy have to do with TLC? Read on to find out!!
In 1497, the two noble Venetian families of Barone and Fini united in marriage and began producing wine in northeastern Italy.  Archival notes show they were the wine makers for the Medicis. 
Today, the Bonmartini family of Greenville, Delaware-- direct descendants of the Barone Finis-- continue to manage this venerable property that lies at the foot of the majestic Dolomite mountains in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy that shoulders up against Austria.
Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini took control of the winery in 1997 after his uncle Sebastiano passed away. Cultivating grapes in as natural a manner as possible, the winery specializes in producing just two varietals: Pinot Grigio and Merlot. All of the fruit for Barone Fini is sourced from old vines, is hand harvested and subjected to rigorous hand sorting to ensure that only the best fruit is used.
The son of Greenville's Francesco and Charlotte Bonmartini-Fini,  Giovanni has lived his life with one foot on each side of the Atlantic Ocean. Born in Massachusetts, his formative years were  spent on his family’s farm on the shores of Lake Garda, attending various schools in France, Italy, and Belgium. After Francesco's retirement as an executive with Hercules Corporation, he became heavily involved in the business of the winery. When the family returned to America, Giovanni graduated from the Tatnall School in Wilmington in 1981. He speaks French, Italian and English fluently.
Barone-Fini produces a lovely Merlot, but they are especially known for their distinctive Pinot Grigio Valdadige and Pinot Grigio Alto Adige.  Created from relatively young vines planted about 25-30 years ago, the  wines are created to be medium-bodied, without harsh tannins or high alcohol content. The vineyard  produces 60,000 cases of Pinot Grigio a year, 100,000 cases overall. Bottles are adorned with the striking Bonmartini-Fini family crest.
 This is a sneak peek of one of the wonderful silent auction items that you will have a chance to bid on at the 2014 Hootenanny Hoedown.   We are thankful for Terry Conway for connecting us to the Bonmartini family, and for this wonderful write up of Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini and his wines.  Purchase your tickets now to the 2014 Hootenanny Hoedown and YOU could be the highest bidder on the case of Merlot and Pinot Grigio adorned with the Bonmartini-Fini family crest.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Celebrating National Honey Bee Day with TLC

TLC took part in celebrating National Honey Bee Day with two events last week.

On Thursday, August 14th there was a showing of More Than Honey in The Liberty Room at The Market at Liberty Place.   More Than Honey is a nationally acclaimed film that highlights environmental pressures impacting bee populations across the world.  Experienced beekeepers, novice beekeepers, and those just interested in learning more about these pollinators enjoyed their food from The Market vendors as they learned about the important role that honey bees play in the food that we consume.   TLC recognizes the importance of honey bees and in addition to education through movies like More Than Honey, we also have hives at New Leaf Eco Center which are opened up once a month for our Open Hive Days.
TLC's Observation Hive.

We celebrated National Honey Bee Day officially on Saturday, September 16th with an Open Hive Day at the New Leaf Eco Center. This month our beekeeper, Dan Bokoski, focused on ways to remediate mite problems occurring in the hive. The main step that we focused on was figuring out if your hive has a problem that needs to be treated. This is done by calculating the percentage of mites in a hive. Dan's preferred method is the powdered sugar technique, where mites are filtered from a jar of honeybees (~400 honeybees) containing powdered sugar and counted. Dan demonstrated this technique to our sharp-eyed group who were able to spot 20 mites that were filtered from the jar. This number is the indicator for treatment versus no treatment. Dan laid down the light, organic treatment, which should alleviate the mite problem on one of our three hives.

There are many things to learn as a prospective and experienced beekeeper. TLC's Open Hive Days are a great place for beekeepers to share ideas, and for new beekeepers to learn the ins and outs of installing and managing a hive on their own properties!

There are two more Open Hive Days left for the 2014 year: Saturday, September 20th and Saturday, October 18th. Both run from 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM and are located at New Leaf Eco Center (776 Rosedale Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348).

Dan Borkoski showing a frame from the hives. In the background are other materials to conduct the mite remediation.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Celebrating the Dog Days of Summer

If you are not aware, TLC's Nature Preserves are a wonderful resource for dog owners.  We ask that you maintain control while walking your dogs on our property, but we do not require leashes, only control.  We held our first ever Dog Days of Summer event last evening at Stateline Woods Preserve.  The weather was unseasonably cool (Dog Days of Summer adage did not apply) but beautiful none the less for a fun evening. 

Event attendees brought out their canine pals to explore our preserve and meet other four-legged friends.   After an introduction to TLC and Stateline Woods, attendees learned about the newest dog friendly addition to Stateline Woods Preserve, our dog compost sites.  We were very thankful for our good friend and TLC supporter Del Bittle & Diesel for bringing out the PA system!

There are three dog compost areas installed throughout the property that allow dog owners to clean the dog waste off of the trail, and dispose of it through the compost site.  It is important to note that ONLY Corn Based Compostable bags should be put into the dog compost sites.  TLC will provide bags at the preserve, but they can also be purchased at Harvest Market Natural Foods.  With the help of all dog users on our preserve, we can help to reduce the Nonpoint Source Pollution caused by dog waste.  In order for our composting sites to work properly, please only place dog poop in CORN BASED COMPOSTABLE bags into the compost.    If you are using recycled plastic bags from the grocery store, you must remove this waste from the property.

GiggyBites was on hand to provide delicious home-baked treats for all of the canines attending the event and Punk'd Pineapple was there to provide the humans with a little ice cream.  Paws for People is a Pet Therapy Volunteer program that was on hand to speak about volunteer options available with your pets.  Nancy Fitzgerald from Positive Results Dog Training spoke about ways to make sure that your dog is "off-leash" ready.  Mary Long, an Animal Communicator spoke to folks about ways to better understand what their dog was trying to tell them.

All attendees (in the four legged variety) received squeaky tennis balls courtesy of Concord Pets in Hockessin and entered to win a raffle for a painting party at Punk'd Pineapple.  The top prize for the Costume Contest was a gift certificate to Half Moon Restaurant, and one new Canine Pal member won a gift certificate for a Family Class with the Dog Training Center of Chester County.  We are thankful to our event sponsor In Home Veterinary Care for all of their support!

If you missed the event--be sure to stop by Stateline Woods for a hike and have your canine sport their own TLC Tags by becoming a Canine Pal Canine Pals and all members help to support TLC and our nature preserves! Click HERE to view all of the photos from the event

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Update from TLC

The summer months are flying by here at TLC! We are approaching August, which is filled with several programs for adults, children and families alike. This year, our summer educational programs are made possible in part by a generous grant from CCRES.

As you may have read in our last blog post, we visited the Library & Archives Department at Longwood Gardens. Click here to read more about our private tour. The final tour of Longwood's new meadow garden will be held on September 6th from 2-4pm. If you are a TLC member, you can register  by clicking here. If you are not a member, become one today! Now is a great time to join because we are currently having a Summer of Love raffle: any new members between now and September 1st are entered to win a gift certificate to Foxy Loxy. Yummm!

Sifting through the soil near the Church foundation.
You cannot separate the land from its history. Over the month of July, the Bucktoe Cemetery collaboration (TLC, New Garden UAME Church & Heritage Guild Works) held a five-week history program for students of the Chester County Intermediate Unit. The group met once per week; two of the dates included classroom sessions tying together the Bucktoe Cemetery and historical events taught in the curriculum. Students were even able to connect the cemetery to historical events in their country of origin, which included parts of Mexico and other Central & South American countries.

Sneaking up on frogs at the retention pond.
The other two dates included a field trip to the Bucktoe Cemetery. The thirty or so students uncovered parts of the foundation of the old church and even stumbled across a buried headstone with a name partially engraved. Interesting artifacts such as nails, brick and possibly some pieces of pottery were also discovered by the students. This hands on experience was unique for these students and truly brought history to life. If your class or group is interested in discovering the local history of Chester County through hands-on experience, please contact Paige at or call 610-347-0347 x 104.

First timer on the spotting scope.
Just across the line from the Bucktoe Cemetery is the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, where two summer programs were held last week. Tick Tock Early Learning Center joined us on Wednesday to explore natural habitats with their students ages 5 - 13 years-old. Students investigated life in the Red Clay Creek and found a variety of different macroinvertebrates. A crayfish and salamander were among the unqiue discoveries! Another group was exploring two ponds on the preserve for frogs, dragonflies and other pond life. The frogs were quick, but kids were equipped with nets, patience and good reflexes! Just upland from the wetland habitats was the birding group. Environmental educator, Holly Merker, led the group through meadows and woodlands of Bucktoe Creek Preserve listening, calling and spotting different species of sparrows, hawks and other birds. Afterwards, we enjoyed lunch underneath a brand new pavilion recently built on the property, which provides perfect shade for a hot, sunny day. The Bucktoe Creek Preserve provided a great location for Tick Tock students to see the change in habitats from upland to wetland. If your class, organization or group is interested in coming to BCP for a day of exploration, please contact Paige at or 610-347-0347 x 104.

Starting up the bonfire after dinner for a s'mores snack.
The second program was a collaborative effort between The Land Conservancy and the Delaware Nature Society on an overnight in nature campout Saturday night into Sunday morning. Six families joined us at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve for the camping experience. Saturday night we hiked the preserve to familiarize the group to common plants (good and bad ones!) and wildlife species found on the preserve. After roasting marshmallows and enjoying one too many s'mores, we walked down to the woodlands to call for owls. A timid eastern screech owl called back for a few minutes. Luckily he/she was loud enough to hear over the sound of several green frogs croaking in the adjacent pond. The next morning after breakfast was served, we finished up with a hike to the Red Clay Creek checking out life in the creek. We spotted a great blue heron, which was not alarmed by our group of 20 or so. Thanks to all of the participants for a great weekend evening together and we hope to have you join us for another  campout next summer!

So back to the upcoming programs for this August! If you are interested in registering or learning more about these events, please visit our website by clicking here. This is a snapshot of what's going on:

  • Sharing Nature with Children - Saturday, Aug. 2nd from 10am - 11am @ Bucktoe
  • Free Time Adventures in Nature - Tues, Aug. 5th, 12th & 19th AND Thurs, Aug. 7th, 14th & 21st from 10:00am - 2:00pm @ Bucktoe
  • Wild Mushroom Foraging Event - Saturday, Aug. 9th from 9am - 1:30pm. Starting at Bucktoe and ending at the Woodlands at Phillips. Spots limited.
  • Open Hive Day - Saturday, Aug. 16th from 9:00am - 10:30am @ New Leaf Eco Center.
  • Sky Tour - Saturday, Aug. 20th from 8pm - 9:30pm @ Bucktoe. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Look Behind the Scenes at Longwood Gardens--Part 2

Saturday July 12th was the second installment of TLC's members-only program How Things Work: Longwood Gardens. Last time, the group took a tour of Longwood's solar field and composting fields, to get a look at their sustainability efforts. This time, we took a tour of the library and historic archives, for a better understanding of the legacy of Longwood.

A brief pause to check out the waterlily display

A unique book with wood-cut illustrations
The group was led by Maureen McCadden, Longwood's Digital Resource Specialist, and Judy Stevenson, Archivist. We were led through the Conservatory, stopping to take a look at the beautiful waterlily display currently in bloom. In the library, we got to look through an extensive collection of historic and rare books on horticulture and botany, some of which came from Pierre S. du Pont's own private collection. We had the chance to look through the same books that most likely inspired the design of the gardens when Mr. du Pont first began cultivating them in the early 1900s.

Part of Longwood's network of underground tunnels
After checking out the library, which many students use each day, we moved on to Longwood's archives. On the way, we passed part of the network of tunnels that run underneath the gardens, designed by Mr. du Pont for more effective maintenance and watering. Once in the archives, we got a look at some of the hundreds of thousands of images in Longwood's possession, which are currently being added to a digital database. We even got to travel through the vault, which houses rare books from Mr. du Pont's collection, blueprints, property maps, recordings, and over 300,000 slides.

TLC's tour highlighted Longwood's immense value as a historic and educational resource, as well as the innovative methods used to manage their unique and expansive collections. After the tour, participants took advantage of the beautiful weather to explore the gardens, now with a new perspective and appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes.

If you missed Part 2 of How Things Work: Longwood Gardens, don't fear! There is still time to become a member and register for Part 3, which will explore the new Meadow Garden. The final installment will take place on September 6th from 2pm-4pm, and we hope to see you there. Click here to register!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Word on Behalf of Honey Bees

Visitors young and old can learn from the bees at TLC's apiary
At TLC, one of our favorite things to hear is that someone has come away from one of our programs and decided to plant pollinator-friendly flowers and plants on their property. On our own properties as well as those we serve with our stewardship outreach programs, we advocate for native plantings that attract honey bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. This practice is mutually beneficial for you, the environment, and local honey bee swarms, which have been in decline for years due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). 

Unfortunately, it seems that many plants purchased specifically for their honey bee-friendly nature may, in fact, be contributing to CCD, if purchased from certain retail stores. A recent report published by Friends of the Earth found that over 50% of "honey bee-friendly" plants purchased from Home Depot and Lowe's stores had been treated with neonicotinoid insecticide. This type of insecticide is widely believed to be a significant contributing factor in CCD and the overall decline of pollinators. Not only does it kill bees in large quantities, exposure to even small amounts can cause disruption in bees' perceptions, immune systems, and navigational abilities, making them vulnerable to disease. Retailers are not required to disclose which pesticides have been used to treat their plants, making it even more difficult for consumers to protect themselves--and the pollinators that visit their gardens--from exposure to harmful chemicals. 

Because of this, the study concludes that "The high percentage of contaminated plants and their neonicotinoid concentrations suggest that this problem is widespread, and that many home gardens have likely become a source of exposure for bees."

The last thing TLC wants to do is discourage anyone from making their yard more of a haven for honey bees. Even one native, pollinator-friendly garden can make a difference in the health of local honey bees, and many such gardens can have an exponentially greater effect! Furthermore, there are many additional benefits to planting native species, removing invasives, and conducting environmentally-conscious stewardship on your property. (Contact our Landscape Visionaries team to find out more.) But when choosing what to plant, it's important to learn as much as possible about where your plants come from and what they have been exposed to. 

This information also serves as a reminder of the many powerful forces at play that combine to cause widespread decline of vital pollinators. This makes it more important than ever for each of us to be aware and conscious of the things we can do every day to make a positive difference.

What You Can Do: 
  • Attend TLC's Open Hive Days to learn all about honey bees, the role they play in local and global ecosystems, and how to begin your own apiary.
  • Share what you learn with others. Spread the word about how important honey bees and other pollinators are to our world.
  • When building your bee-friendly garden or backyard, buy organic plant starts, or start your own plants from (non-treated) seeds. 
  • Avoid using insecticides that contain neonicotinoids. (A list of common products to avoid can be found here.)
  • Ask the managers of your local nurseries to stop using these harmful pesticides or using suppliers that pre-treat with neonicotinoids. Let them know you will not buy these products. 
  • Visit BeeAction to learn more and sign a petition urging retail garden stores to stop using neonicotinoid-based insecticides. 
  • Urge your Congressional representative to support the Save America's Pollinators Act.
TLC strives to do all we can to protect our neighborhood pollinators. Stay tuned for more events, updates, and opportunities to make a difference for these vital creatures.

Honey bees are abuzz at our new observation hive

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