An assignment for Physical Geography with classmate Matt and professor Lisa Chaddock.
Our service project was planting Kangaroo paw, and other plant species, in the garden on the east side of the science building of City College to introduce environmentally friendly flowers to the local bird and bee populations and increase the number of pollinators. Kangaroo paw is a perennial plant that does well in a variety of habitats but prefers well-drained and slightly acidic soil with sun exposure throughout the day. They are a Zone 9 plant and tolerate drought. San Diego is Zone 10, meaning the city provides warmer winters for the Western Australian native.
Planting native species, and plants that local critters like, increases the amount of food availability (caterpillar larvae and leaves) and provides more shelter for amphibians and mammals in the undergrowth. These plants provide pollen for birds, bees, and butterflies. They require little water and less fertilizer and therefore save a lot of money on landscaping and seeds when nature is set up to succeed. Plant density provides variety and security for the animals and beauty and pride for the school grounds.
We were careful in our digging amongst the thick clay and medium rocks to not injure the grub worms feeding on the roots of grass. Kangaroo paw consists of a tubular flower coated with dense hairs that will transfer the pollen from the head of a feeding bird to the next plant. The long red stalk provides the advertisement of pollen and the perch while eating. Kangaroo paws are resilient to most insects, not including snails, and only struggle with Ink Disease in cool and moist climates.
With global warming, more birds are losing their natural habitats. By planting bird-friendly species we are extending their available ecosystems and extending the life of their species. We are limiting the obligation to needlessly mow grass and water non-native species, cutting back on resources to reduce the greenhouse gases produced by mowers and weed-whackers that contribute to water and air pollution. Less mowing also reduces noise pollution that can be scary to birds and harmful to human ears.
The rusty patched bumblebee was added to the Endangered List, the first of its species, just this year. Since 2000, the Federal Register has seen an 88% decline in the number of populations and an 87% loss in their territory. The protected status allocates federal funds to states to rehabilitate and hopefully recover the bumblebee species by improving degraded habitats and reducing the use of pathogens and pesticides.
A recent study, by the UN, suggests a 40% decline in invertebrate pollinators around the globe, which affects 75% of crops grown. Food supplies don’t just affect scientists or activists, they affect us all, plants and animals alike. Developers should be held responsible for their destruction and implementing methods to lessen the effects of their actions on the environment. Homeowners and renters can also do their part to plant pollinator-friendly gardens and reduce their use of poisons into the atmosphere and earth.
1. Kangaroo Paws. (2015, December 24). Retrieved April 22, 2017, from https://www.anbg.gov.au/anigozanthos/
2. Bird-Friendly Plants FAQ. (2017, March 28). Retrieved April 22, 2017, from http://www.audubon.org/news/bird-friendly-plants-faq
3. Kennedy, M. (2017, January 11). U.S. Puts Bumblebee On The Endangered Species List For 1st Time. Retrieved April 22, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/11/509337678/u-s-puts-first-bumblebee-on-the-endangered-species-list