Ways to celebrate Earth Day this Spring
Department of Environmental Health
It’s Earth Day!
Have you been spending a lot of time within the confines of your home, your yard, your neighborhood? Us too!
Did you know that if we all make a few small changes where we live, we can do a LOT to help clean our air and water, all while giving nature a boost, reducing our stress levels and making us healthier?
Here are a few things you can do this spring to help celebrate Earth Day:
- Planting native plants that provide pollen and nectar can help save the Rusty patched bumble bee, a federally endangered species and species of concern in Wisconsin. Good plants for this adorable, fuzzy bee are: wild bergamot, obedient plant, goldenrod, blueberry, aster, sunflower, hyssop, bloodroot, wild geranium, Virginia bluebells, serviceberry, gooseberry, plum and cherry. Now this might be a difficult change, but leaving some parts of your yard unmanicured will help the queen bees find a place to nest and look for food, including in hollow stems from last year’s plants. Remember that native Wisconsin bees are VERY unlikely to sting (most stings come from wasps like predatory yellowjackets)
- Think twice about removing box elder trees, sometimes thought of as “weedy” – they provide seeds for the evening grosbeak, a finch that has lost 97% of its population over the last 50 years! There are also 285 species of moths and butterflies that rely on the box elder to survive their caterpillar stage. If you don’t have a box elder, grosbeaks also like sunflower, maple, cherry, crabapple, pine, elm, hawthorn and juniper seeds.
- Planting ANY native plant, and a few of its friends, will really help make a difference. They absorb and filter more water and provide food and shelter for more insects and animals than their cultivated counterparts, which in turn makes us all healthier! A good resource for finding native plants is Johnson’s Nursery in Menomonee Falls, but other, more local greenhouses and nurseries should have native plants and trees in stock (try Plant Land, Schuler Gardens, Kellner Greenhouse or even Stein’s).
- You can also help the earth, and your pocketbook, by planting a vegetable garden, with discounted plants from our neighborhood Bloom and Groom Plant Sale! Stop by Saturday, May 15th at the Kinnickinnic River Plaza, 1400 W. Harrison Ave.
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This health center receives HHS funding and has Federal Public Health Service (PHS) deemed status with respect to certain health or health-related claims, including medical malpractice claims, for itself and its covered individuals.