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Autumn Skies

Fall brings with it a special time of reflection. Days tend to be softer as the high tempetatures of summer begin to slake. Nights become cooler. The insects sense an urgency to gather more food to garner more energy in order to survive the coming winter in a dormant state; or to reproduce one last time and get that last clutch of larvae ready for their own winter slumber.  It is the season of the pollinator, the time of color and fragrance. Liatris, coneflower, Vernonia, meadow rue, patridge berry, wintergreen, black-eyed Susan, culver root, butterfly weed, milkweed, nodding onion, Silphium, mountain mints, asters and some of the goldenrods are in bloom or are soon to be.  Ferns are creeping slowly through forested glades and hummingbirds and sphinx moths routinely flit from bee balm  to bergamot and so many more.  As the days grow shorter, the hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, native bees, wasps and flies, the bumblebees, ants and foragers of nectar and pollen are about the land.  If you have the plants, they will come and delight you with their aerobatics and irridescent displays. They are part of the fabric of where we live, our ecological realm.

Unfortunately, many of these interesting and lovely animals are now absent from too many of our yards, woodlands and natural areas due to displacement by development, invasive weeds, grazing by an overabundant deer population and disturbance, in general.  Once floriferous displays of wildflowers have too often been given over to thickets of Japanese honeysuckle, multiflora rose and Eurasian bittersweet. You can help by keeping your property free of these and other alien weeds and by planting and protecting native plants that provide nutrition and habitat for our native pollinators and birds that are also in decline, often seriously. To paraphrase the emminent biologist, E.O. Wilson, when natural populations of any species become too small or fragmented, they collapse, and along with them the communities that they support.

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