Philly Maker Week

Wed., Sept. 17 through Sun., Sept. 21. 

Food For Thought: Eating in Season

Thurs., Sept. 18, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m

Bike Ride on the Schuylkill River Trail

Sat., Sept. 20 through Sun., Sept. 21

 

  




 

 

 

Entries in bernard brown (18)

Thursday
Sep182014

Butterflies Count

This Silver-Spotted Skipper was one of many butterfly species that were documented during a July count around Bryn Mawr. | Photo by Jen Britton

Volunteer efforts across the region keep track
of our fine fluttering friends

The flashy colors of butterflies are matched only by their names: red admirals, great spangled fritillaries, tiger swallowtails, painted ladies and summer azures. On July 10, 13 volunteers at the North American Butterfly Association (NABA)’s annual Fourth of July butterfly count spotted all these species in all their regalia. The volunteers, who identified 18 other species too, visited six sites in a 15-mile radius around Bryn Mawr, Pa., to document all the butterflies they could find. More than 400 teams (including one at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge) participated in NABA’s three seasonal counts to provide snapshots of butterfly populations.

Volunteers included butterfly enthusiasts and parents looking to connect their kids to nature. Butterfly volunteer Jan Clark-Levenson says that walking through fields and forests to see what flutters by is “a child-friendly sort of thing.” Claire Morgan, community garden and volunteer coordinator for the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education—one of the stops for the Bryn Mawr team—says the butterfly census is an opportunity to engage non-scientists in important research. It is also a chance to promote butterfly-friendly practices. But if Philadelphians want to help, “the biggest thing they can do is plant native plants,” Morgan says. Natives not only offer flowers to adult butterflies but serve as hosts for their caterpillars.

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Friday
Jun272014

Yard Works

Photo by Christian Hunold

John Janick plans to hit the 100 species mark in his backyard this year. In 2010, after consulting with Audubon Pennsylvania, he ripped up the car pad behind his West Mount Airy house. Since then Janick has planted 70 varieties of trees, shrubs and other plants—all native to Pennsylvania—in an effort to support native biodiversity: both by planting native plants as well as providing food and habitat for native critters.

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Thursday
Jun122014

Responsible for our Rain: An eco-art installation shows how we can give rain its time and its place

Rain meets a forest or a meadow at the leaves, glancing and dripping on its way to the underbrush and cushioned floor. It is a gentle trip to the ground, where the raindrops can soak into the ground slowly if they're not sucked up by roots. Rain meets a building at its roof and is quickly channeled into gutters and downspouts, reaching the ground as a scouring stream of stormwater.

On the scale of the entire city of Philadelphia, this storm water flushes into our creeks and rivers, taking with it raw sewage, turning nearly every significant rain into a Clean Water Act violation. Philadelphia's Green City, Clean Waters plan endeavors to fix this problem through a range of measures. Many of these use soil, plants and other permeable surfaces to slow the rain and give it time and space to soak into the ground.

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Wednesday
May212014

When Art and Birds (Don't) Collide: Local colleges use student works to save birds

Temple University students walk past windows decked out with bird-saving decals designed by Molly Denisevicz. Photos by Christian HunoldA four-inch smudge marked the spot where, last fall, a zipping bird smacked into a window on Temple University’s campus. Today, birds flying toward the same window in the corridor connecting the Paley Library and the Tuttleman Learning Center will see silhouettes of feathered friends perched on a musical staff—a student-designed, research-based pattern that warns them of the solid obstacle in their path.

A four-inch smudge marked the spot where, last fall, a zipping bird smacked into a window on Temple University’s campus. Today, birds flying toward the same window in the corridor connecting the Paley Library and the Tuttleman Learning Center will see silhouettes of feathered friends perched on a musical staff—a student-designed, research-based pattern that warns them of the solid obstacle in their path.

“When I would walk home, I would see birds on power lines, and I thought about how they look a lot like notes on a staff,” says Molly Denisevicz, a senior in Temple’s Tyler School of Arts’ Fibers and Material Studies program. Denisevicz submitted her film design as part of a sophomore design class and beat out more than 90 entries in a juried competition. Now birds on Temple’s campus will see Molly’s design and pull up before it is too late.

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Monday
Apr142014

Made in the Shade: Buying shade-grown coffee helps the region’s migratory songbirds 

How can you help local birds at breakfast? Think beyond the chickens that laid your eggs, and look at what’s in your coffee mug. Many of Philadelphia’s local birds spend their winters where I would if I had wings: in the lush forests of northern Latin America’s coffee country. Unfortunately, many of these migratory songbirds are in decline.

“One reason populations can decline is because of threats they are facing on their wintering range,” says Keith Russell, Philadelphia outreach coordinator for Audubon Pennsylvania, drawing the connection between our birds and where we get our coffee. 

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