2021-11-19

Hot Sheets Habitat

A mating pair of NOID Dolichopodidae, long-legged flies, in my backyard, September 2018

My garden is registered as both a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat and Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat. The insects have certainly gotten the message. During 2021, I've been able to document 14 different species of insects mating in my garden.
  1. Acanthoscelidius acephalus, minute seed weevil
  2. Epitrix fuscula
  3. Harmonia axyridis, multi-colored lady beetle (introduced)
  4. Eumerus
  5. Orthonevra nitida, wavy mucksucker
  6. Syritta pipiens, compost fly (introduced)
  7. Toxomerus geminatus, Eastern calligrapher fly
  8. Toxomerus marginatus, margined calligrapher fly
  9. Xenox tigrinus, tiger bee fly
  10. Jalysus, stilt bug
  11. Lygaeus kalmii ssp. angustomarginatus, Eastern small milkweed bug
  12. Hylaeus modestus, modest masked bee
  13. Xylocopa virginica, large Eastern carpenter bee
  14. Danaus plexxipus, monarch butterfly

2021-10-29

Documenting Insect-Plant Interactions

2021-10-29: Transcribed and updated my October 20th tweet thread on this topic. 

I'm an active contributor to iNaturalist. While I'm not a "super-observer", I expect to surpass 11,000 Observations by Halloween, two days away.

Insect-Plant interactions are the majority of my iNaturalist Observations. I use the Observation Field: Interaction->Visited Flower Of to record which flowers insects are visiting, or lurking upon. Roughly 1/3 of my Observations use that field.

Partial Screenshot of my most recent Observations with the Visited Flower Of Field - 2021-10-29

Both the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and Global Biotic Interactions database (GloBI) automatically import iNaturalist Research Grade observations with an appropriate Creative Commons license. I'll use one of my iNaturalist Observations as an example to show how it all works together.

2021-09-13

iNaturalist Workshops, The High Line, Saturday September 25

Updated 2021-09-25: Added Links and QR Codes to "Getting Started with iNaturalist".


I'm pleased to announce that Saturday, September 25th, I will be leading two iNaturalist Workshops "in the field" at The High Line. This is one of several workshops, and many other events, they have scheduled for Insectageddon, which runs from 3-6pm that Saturday afternoon.

Self-Portrait of an iNaturalist as an old man

I'll be doing two walks:

  • 3:15-4:15 pm
  • 4:45-5:45 pm

When not out on one of the walks, I'll have a table in The High Line's Chelsea Market Passage, between 15th and 16th Streets. Please sign up there for one of the two workshops, as space will be limited. Each walk will start out from that location.

iNaturalist Workshop
Hosted by Chris Kreussling, aka “Flatbush Gardener”
Join Chris Kreussling for a walk on the High Line to explore plant and insect interactions and learn about the citizen scientist observation gathering tool iNaturalist. Tours begin at 3:30 and 4:45; please sign up upon arrival at Chris’s table in Chelsea Market Passage. Chris is a Brooklyn naturalist and gardener specializing in gardening with native plants to create habitat for pollinators and other invertebrates.

Visiting the High Line

Note that there are weekend restrictions in place for visitors to The High Line. You must register for timed entry; pre-registration is highly recommended. The only weekend entrances open are at Gansevoort Street, 23rd Street, and 30th Street. 

Please give yourself plenty of time to get to my table in Chelse Market Passage for the start of the walk. The 14th Street entrance is exit-only on weekends. The closest weekend entrance is Gansevoort Street, at the corner of Washington Street, the southern end of The High Line. This entrance is just three blocks south of 14th Street.

Getting Started with iNaturalist

  1. Sign up at https://www.inaturalist.org/signup


    • You must be 13 or older.
    • You can link to your existing social media account, such as Twitter or Facebook
    • If you don't have an existing social media account you want to link to, you can create a new account with a valid email address
  2. If you have existing photos you want to identify, you can begin uploading them to iNaturalist through your Web browser.
  3. Recommended: Also install the iNaturalist app on your Android phone or iPhone or other Apple device. Be sure to link it to the account you just created. You can then take photos on your phone and upload them directly to iNaturalist.

    Android:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.inaturalist.android


    Apple/iPhone:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inaturalist/id421397028?mt=8


Related Content

Native Pollinator Walks, Wave Hill, Sunday, June 27, 2021-06-14
Pollinator Safari: Urban Insect Gardening with Native Plants, 2019-06-23
NYC Wildflower Week  Tour of my Gardens, 2016-05-15
NYC Wildflower Week Pollinator Safari of my Gardens, 2014-06-21

Links

iNaturalist
Getting Started

2021-09-11

Grief & Gardening: 20 Years

Written spontaneously as a Twitter thread, and transcribed to this blog post.
Anti-war graffiti on base of statue, Union Square Park, September 24, 2001 
I'm avoiding the news today. As well as the retraumatizing snuff porn documentaries. I've written about all of it before. I don't feel the need to day to write any more. I wrote this 15 years ago about Anniversaries, my first "Grief & Gardening" post:
The ways we observe anniversaries is arbitrary. For example, I was shocked to tears for weeks by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, which killed 100 times more people than Katrina [1st Anniversary]. The earthquake which precipitated it left the entire planet ringing like a bell. The observation of "25 Years of AIDS" at this year's World AIDS Congress is pinned only to the first official report of a cluster of unusual deaths by the Centers for Disease Control in June of 1981. The timelines of epidemics don't follow our categorizations of them.
Grief & Gardening #1: 1, 5 and 25, 2006-09-04

2021-06-14

Native Pollinator Walks, Wave Hill, Sunday, June 27

Update, 2021-06-23: These walks are now FREE with your admission to Wave Hill! Pre-registration is no longer required, but space is limited. Register on-site, the day of the walks, at the Perkins Visitor Center.

-----

I'm proud to announce that Sunday, June 27th, I will be leading two Native Pollinator Walks at Wave Hill in the Bronx. This is one of several events they have scheduled for their Native Pollinators Day, at the end of Pollinator Week.

Me hosting the NYCWW Pollinator Week Safari in my Front Yard, June 2014. Photo: Alan Riback

I'll be doing two walks:

FREE with your admission admission to Wave Hill's grounds.

Flowers attract the attention of both human and animal visitors. Honeybees, bumblebees, and butterflies are easily spotted in the garden but solitary bees, beetles, and other native pollinators are often overlooked. Learn about pollination and observe native pollinators busy at work in the garden with naturalist and gardener Chris KreusslingAges 10 and older welcome with an adult. Native Pollinators Day event.

Registration required, onsite on the day of the walk, at the Perkins Visitor Center. Space is limited. Questions? Please email us at information@wavehill.org or call 718.549.3200 x251.

Related Content

NYC Wildflower Week Pollinator Safari of my Gardens, 2014-06-21

Links

Native Pollinators Day, Wave Hill

2021-03-27

NYC Regional Native Plant Sales, Spring-Summer 2021

2021-06-09: Added Tufts Pollinator Initiative Native Plant Sale
2021-03-27: Initial listing. I will continue to update this throughout the season as I learn of more events.

This season's native plant sales in and around New York City. Events are listed by date. For year-round sources of native plants, see Sources for Native Plants.

Native Plant Acquisitions, Gowanus Canal Conservancy Plant Sale, April 2018

2020-12-03

Recipe: Maple Sugar Cookies

Leaves of Acer saccharum, sugar maple, Inwood Hill Park, November 2015

Living in New York City most of my life, I'm not in what one would think of as "maple country". But the northeast is rich with sugarbushes - the forests of maple trees from which sap is harvested and boiled down to make this nectar of the gods. And probably every NYC Greenmarket (farmers' market) has at least one farmer that sells maple syrup and other maple prodcuts, even if it's not their primary business.

2020-11-30

Extinct Plants of northern North America 2020

Wanna know what's really scary? Extinction. #ExtinctSymbol #Resist

As in past years, I'm limiting this list to northern North America for two reasons:

  1. Restricting this list geographically is in keeping with my specialization in plants native to northeastern North America.
  2. There are many more tropical plants, and plant extinctions, than I can manage.

In past years, I've only been able to find records for 6 plant species that have gone extinct. This year's list is a major update: 59 extinctions, and 7 extinct in the wild. This is largely due to the research presented in this August 2020 paper:

Vascular plant extinction in the continental United States and Canada

The summary is terse, and grim:

2020-09-30

Mary Kreussling, 1931-2020

If you want to read these in sequence:
2020-09-23The Night's Watch
2020-09-25Waking Up From Death 
2020-09-28The Last Goodbyes



My Mother's Deathbed

My mother passed away peacefully at home this morning around 5:30 am, Eastern Time. She'd been in home hospice for the past week. She'd been living at home with my sister since 2009, where she moved after our father passed away. She was 89 years old.

2020-09-28

The Last Goodbyes

20200926_213307

2020-09-26 21:50

I said my last goodbye to my mother today. I don’t think she heard me. I whispered, because I didn’t want to disturb her, and she’s hard of hearing as it is.

I don’t expect her to rally again. I don’t expect any more lucid minutes, or moments. I believe our mother is gone, but her body doesn’t know it yet.

2020-09-25

Waking Up From Death

Goodbye #2

We’re nearing the end. Mom hasn’t eaten anything, not even a popsicle, in two days. The “comfort” drugs are powerful, blunt instruments that can only do so much to relieve her pain and discomfort. She is sleeping more and more. Her breath is shallow, but – thankfully – untroubled right now.

2020-09-23

The Night's Watch

Raja

While the world burns down around us, I am sitting in a darkened room, with just the sounds of a small table fan and an oxygen concentrator, watching over my mother. My only company is Raja, one of the house cats in my sister’s house, keeping watch over my left shoulder.

2020-05-14

Home of the Wild

A month ago, Carrie Seltzer (@carrieseltzer) created the "Home Projects" iNaturalist Umbrella Project - a Project of Projects - for "personal" Projects of people's homes, gardens, or yards:
As we all more closely inspect our immediate surroundings as of April 2020, it seemed like a good time to pull together some projects that capture biodiversity in homes around the world.

- Carrie Seltzer on iNaturalist

Growth of a Garden

I've been gardening in New York City for four decades, over four different gardens. I've incorporated native plants in each garden, though my knowledge, understanding, and focus, has shifted and grown over time.
Bombus citrinus, lemon cuckoo bumble bee, on Helianthus in my front yard, August 2018

2020-05-11

Greater Celandine v. Celandine Poppy

2020-05-13: Added comparison of seedpods (easiest way to distinguish the two) and sap (not reliable).

I've been seeing a lot of misidentifications - or perhaps wishful ones - of the invasive Chelidonium majus, greater celandine as the Eastern U.S. native Stylophorum diphyllum, celandine poppy. Here is a visual guide for distinguishing them.

2020-05-06

Grief and Gardening: The Defiant Gardener

Rhododendron periclymenoides, pinxterbloom azalea, blooming in the backyard, May 2020

Normally, this time of year would be busy with garden tours, workshops, talks and lectures, plant swaps and sales. In past years, my garden has been on tour for NYC Wildflower Week. Two years ago I spoke at the Native Plants in the Landscape Conference in Millersville, Pennsylvania. Last June I hosted the most recent of my Pollinator Safaris in my garden.

I had multiple engagements planned for this Spring, and into the Summer. I was going to speak on a panel about pollinators in NYC. This past weekend would have been the 10th Anniversary of the Great Flatbush Plant Swap, of which I was one of the founders. I would have been doing hands-on workshops on gardening with native plants in community gardens.

This year there is none of that. The reason, of course, is the global pandemic, COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV2.

As I write this, I have been working from home for 8 weeks. The same week I started working from home, the first death from COVID-19 was recorded in New York City. Now, less than 2 months later, nearly 20,000 are dead.



We still have 200 dying every day. This is not anywhere near "over".

The language and lessons of trauma - and recovery - are what we need to embrace right now.

2020-04-13

Correspondence, April 2020

I received an unexpected, and much-welcomed, message from a colleague, asking how I was doing. My response ran a little long, so I thought I would reproduce it here. Annotated with links, where applicable.

Double-flowering bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, blooming in my backyard, April 2020

We are doing well, as well as can be expected. My husband and I have both been (lucky enough to be) working from home. It's 5 weeks for me this week.

2020-04-06

Grief and Gardening: A Feast of Losses

It's been barely a month since the first handful of COVID-19/SARS-CoV2 cases were reported in New York State. On March 4, there were 6 confirmed cases.

As I write this:
  • There are nearly 5,000 dead in New York.
  • Nearly 3,500 have died in New York City alone. If NYC was a country, it would be 6th in the world in deaths.
It's not over. We face the worst in the days ahead. But an end - for New York, at least - is in sight.

Projected COVID-19 Deaths per Day for NY as of 2020-04-04

2020-03-27

Drumbeat

2020-04-21: The McSweeney's piece was picked up by YES! Magazine. Search for "Flatbush". or "AIDS".
2020-03-30: I adapted some of this blog post, and several of my tweets on this subject, for a short post on McSweeney's:
Do Not Deny What You Feel
2020-03-29: Updated


As a child, even as I watched rockets launch from my bedroom window, the news kept us apprised of the ever-rising (American) casualties from the Vietnam War. As an adolesecent, I was fascinated and appalled by old issues of LIFE magazine published during World War II. Every article, every ad, devoted to the war. That terrified me the most: that there was no escape from it.

That's where we are: at war.