An open letter to the Courier-Journal… Dear Courier-Journal: I was concerned when I saw the “topped” trees in the Courier-Journal parking lot. Why is tree topping a problem? “Tree topping” is a destructive practice that weakens and often kills trees. Trees perform millions of dollars of valuable services to our […]

Courier-Journal: Please show love for (y)our trees

These are juniper berries on an eastern red cedar tree.  The cedar waxwing (a songbird) loves to eat juniper berries.  And the cedar loves for birds to eat its berries because they are more likely to germinate after passing through the bird’s digestive tract (some distance from the parent tree). […]

Juniper berries, cedar trees, cedar waxwings, and two butterflies that ...

There is a heavy infestation of wintercreeper at the hillside near the mouth of Beargrass Creek, at the future site of Waterfront Botanical Gardens.  The students of Male High School are taking on this area as an ecological project.  With the support of Waterfront Botanical Gardens, the city of Louisville […]

Creating ecological health on Beargrass Creek

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

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?

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