1/20/17: Beyond the garden this week

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American beech trees, especially young ones, retain their leaves in winter. Ever wonder why? An how will climate change affect our forests?

Yes, it’s a good time to prune woody plants, especially if the weather turns cold once more (but avoid pruning when the wood is damp–it spreads fungus disease). And it’s a great time to be planning this season’s garden and refining your wish lists, especially as the catalogs start to arrive. And be sure to check your garden for bird activity, which is a good indicator of the amount of food you’ve made available (and I don’t mean feeders). But I’m also feeling like I need to move beyond my own backyard environment and try to effect some change in the wider world. If you’re perhaps feeling the same way, here are some suggestions:

— If you live in Bergen County, take the Parks Survey.  It only takes a few minutes, and it allows you to say what you would like to happen to our precious remaining open space. While you’re on the CUES page, take a look at the list of public meetings and attend one if possible.

— Check out the People’s Climate Movement, which is gearing up for massive demonstrations in the spring. In the meantime, attend a 100 Hours of Resistance Vigil or meeting this weekend. Check out events near you, and find out more about the climate movement, here.

— Support a national environmental group: you know who they are. Pay your dues, make additional donations, sign petitions, make phone calls. Let the people who represent you know that you care about the environment.

— Take a long walk or hike. It will make you feel better if you’re stressed, reconnect you with nature, and remind you that this beautiful world needs your help and support. Find a hike near you on the website of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference or at NJHiking.com.

— Support a local farmer by joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) this season. CSAs allow you to support small-scale, sustainable agriculture and help limit the environmental effects of factory farming. You’ll also find that the produce tastes much, much better than what you buy in the supermarket. For the past 5 years or more, we have joined Hesperides Organica, a family-run farm located in Hawthorne, NY. They deliver weekly to various locations in Bergen County.

Have a wonderful, peaceful, and environmentally friendly weekend.

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If the winter remains warm, we may see tiny hazelnut blooms early, perhaps a month from now.

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