Silent Spring, Returning

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, most commonly known as DDT, became manufacturable in commercial quantities during WWII and quickly became the military insecticide of choice for everything from mosquitoes to bedbugs. It went public immediately following the war, leaving ecological destruction nationwide. When I was a child, an extensive vegetable farm ran behind our street and in 1946 or …

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A Most Toxic Plant

In previous notes to you, I have occasionally referred to plants as the master chemists, being especially good at defending themselves via the chemicals they create. Today, let us take a brief look at the species which kills the most people, every year, round the world. No, it is not some exotic, tropical, intoxicating berry …

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Fire Management and Safety

Sadly, local newspapers reported on Easter Sunday that a woman tending a ditch fire near Marion died when she was engulfed by flames. So today, let’s review a few aspects of fire management and safety in the context of management of small natural areas. My first question is whether a burn is the best option. …

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Our Wall of Christmas Cactus

When I was a boy, a barbershop in our neighborhood had a large north-facing display window which was shaded in summer by a silver maple tree. The only display was an immense Christmas cactus which overflowed a washtub, and every winter it became a glorious mound of brilliant red flowers for a month or two. …

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