Notes From the Brambles – Mid-Spring

As we move into mid-spring there is an anticipation of hearing the first chorus of peepers, watching ospreys perform aerial displays after traveling thousands of miles and of course the myriad of flowers
starting with daffodils. There is a sense of all being right with the world as this season of rebirth awakens around us.
What can we do to support the large and small critters who cohabitate this wonderful blue world? I wondered this as I worked in the Whittlesley Brook Sanctuary over the winter. Surrounded by wetlands and a brook that never froze (even in the coldest stretch of winter), this writer was awed by the rhythm of this small piece of land tucked among housing developments. This little jewel of the property goes about its business of filtering water, storing carbon, and providing a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife. In the entire year spent in the woods, there were only occasional bits of trash found scattered mostly on the edges of the property.
There are a number of things we can do to make this a softer spring for ourselves and the natural world.
The following are two items which are easy to take part in and have websites which are nice support tools should you choose to take part.
Two weeks ago my wife and I had the opportunity to attend a reading by David Sedaris in New Haven. Little did I know at the time that Mr. Sedaris is an active Plogger. What you may ask is Plogging? Simply put it is the process of combining exercise with picking up litter. For more information, you can visit plogging.org. An article in the online newsletter The Age made the following mention of Mr. Sedaris’ and his plogging activities.
David Sedaris, the American humorist, has extolled the benefits of combining exercise with a dash of social good.
The 61-year-old roams the streets near his West Sussex home with a “hand-sized claw on a pole” and a Fitbit, which tracks his litter-picking exertions: “I’m up to 60,000 [steps a day],” he wrote of his love of social-worth-wellness.
“Walking that distance… while lugging a heavy bag of garbage takes close to nine hours.” It has transformed his local area, no doubt, as well as his waistline: clothes that had become uncomfortably strained are “suddenly loose again”. Not to mention Horsham district council’s own paean to Sedaris’s work – a rubbish truck was named in his honor.
Now, it isn’t likely any of us will have a garbage truck displaying our names, no matter how much litter we retrieve from the streets, trails or river banks of our fair town. Having adopted a route which runs through Deep River and includes the Fountain Hill Cemetery I would certainly agree that there are health benefits to be had in addition to the social good. For those of you who have an interest in cleaning up beaches or the banks of the Ct. River please download the Marine Debris Tracker app.
A second activity doesn’t demand more than letting the grass grow. As simple as it sounds resisting peer pressure to mow our lawns early and often is hard to push back against. Lawn companies have done a remarkable job of convincing the population at large, that having a “tidy” yard in the spring and fall is as close as most of us will get to a spiritual experience. There is a movement afoot to modify this behavior,
at least for one month. It is called No Mow May. Please find more information at beecityusa.org. Towns across the country are passing resolutions encouraging homeowners to let their grass grow until
the end of May. An example of this is the town of Wisconsin Rapids located in (you guessed it) Wisconsin. A local newspaper described it thusly.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW) – The city of Wisconsin Rapids has adopted a resolution designating the month of May as No Mow May.
The goal of No Mow May is to provide early-season forage for native pollinators. Allowing lawns to grow longer, without treating them with chemical pesticides or herbicides, leads to an increase in the number and types of native plants, which are a great source of food for pollinators, such as bees and butterflies.
Property owners that register in the program can voluntarily delay lawn care until June. Each registered property
will receive one free yard sign. Yard signs will be available starting April 12.
Hopefully, these suggestions will be helpful in supporting the web of life we all depend on.
Until next time,
Cheers from the brambles.

Patrick Liddle

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