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Meet my friend Mel, the “double toothed prominent” caterpillar. Mel will become a moth one day and fly away, but for now he must camouflage himself against the leaf of an elm. Like most caterpillars, Mel has a special diet. He must eat elm because for thousands of years, through […]

Meet Mel, the Double Toothed Prominent


Where can you find safe milkweed and native wildflowers for this monarch caterpillar? Not all advertised products are insecticide-free or locally sourced. Thankfully, the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife has compiled this list of reputable native plant vendors in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Native Plant Vendor List The bees, […]

Where to Buy Safe Milkweed


Monarchs need milkweed. This post gives local examples of three popular milkweed choices. Monarch butterflies need milkweed because milkweed is the only thing their caterpillars can eat. So milkweed is where mother monarch lays her eggs. What follows are examples of the three most common types of milkweed in our […]

Milkweed for Monarchs



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Here is a camouflaged looper. It hides from its enemies by fastening petals onto its back. The camouflaged looper counts bee balm among its host plants. That means the mother camouflaged looper can lay her eggs on bee balm, knowing that when the eggs hatch, the caterpillar will be able […]

Meet the Camouflaged Looper


Pictured here is a spicebush swallowtail butterfly. If we want to have spicebush swallowtails, then we plant their host plant (the plant where mothers lay their eggs) which is, you guessed it, spicebush. Or also sassafras. Spicebush supports 9 species of butterflies and moths, making it 93 on the Top […]

Spicebush Swallowtail … what it needs and why that matters ...


What do you feed birds? Mostly, we buy bird seed. And we plant trees and bushes that have berries that birds eat. But none of this does anything for baby birds. Seeds and berries don’t help birds when they are reproducing, because birds don’t eat seeds and berries when they […]

What Do Birds REALLY Need From Us?



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Residential landscaping could be the salvation of much of our wildlife. This story tells why. Every butterfly has a “host plant” and the Atala butterfly is no exception. The Atala butterfly, native to South Florida, depends on the Coonti plant for survival. But the Seminole Native Americans, and later the […]

How They Saved the Atala Butterfly


Lightning bugs need leaf litter. Today, most of us want to get rid of all the leaves. But we need to save some of our leaves.

How to Help Lightning Bugs


What if we could plant the plants that save our wildlife? We can. We now know which native plants support the most local wildlife. Maples (including box elders) are fifth on the list of the most productive and beneficial native plants. Native maples support 205 species of butterflies and moths, […]

Got a Maple Tree?



Here’s the thing: We have been trained to clean up “yard waste.” But if we let it lie, or collect it into a pile, then the decomposers can do their work. Decomposers include insects and millipedes. That means … Bird food!! Catbirds, mockingbirds and brown thrashers (to name a few) […]

Don’t Waste Your “Yard Waste.”