April 22 is designated as Earth Day. For forty years concerned citizens of the world have stopped to consider our effect upon the planet. Once a year we look at how we are affecting our environment. We see areas where the environment is damaged and consider ways to take corrective action. We also see areas in which we have made considerable progress in improving the environment and protecting the creatures that share the earth with us. We ponder the effect on the world-wide environment from natural occurrences like the volcano in Iceland spewing gasses and dust into the atmosphere. We also consider the effect of one hundred years of internal combustion automobile engines spewing exhaust gasses and particles into the atmosphere. Our soil, air, streams, rivers, and oceans need protection. We need to be thoughtful in our energy production and use. We should continue to Reduce the number of items that we use, Reuse them after their first use, and Recycle the materials when items are no longer useful. The excessive clearing of forests affects the environment of the entire world. We need to plant trees wherever we can. Grasslands and prairies need to be restored. Those interested in land restoration at mining and landfill sites as well as those working with forage, biofuels, landscaping, and wildlife management can gain information from The Center for Native Grasslands Management, which will be holding a symposium in Knoxville, Tennessee in October. Visit http://nativegrasses.utk.edu/ for details.
The decline in the numbers of honey bees and native pollinators gives us reason to carefully consider our actions. Many beekeepers feel that the loss of bees is associated with our over-use of pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals in the environment among other issues. The spread of honey bee pests and pathogens around the world is troubling, but we are also spreading knowledge worldwide on ways to keep the bees healthy. Today’s picture shows a honey bee foraging in buttercups, composite wildflowers which paint the Arkansas Delta bright yellow.--Richard