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In addition to bees, there are over 2,000 species of animals that act as pollinators. Pollinators play an extremely important role in our survival; without them, we simply would not be here. In fact, 75% of all flowering plants rely on pollinators in order to provide us with the food we eat and to also sustain many other species and wildlife. The collapse of the honeybee population and the scarcity of other plant pollinators have grown into a serious problem that requires immediate action, and ecoLogical is on board!

To raise awareness and support, the Pollinator Partnership has launched National Pollinator Week to not only educate the world about honeybees and Colony Collapse Disorder, but to also help spread the word about the importance of protecting other plant pollinators such as bats, butterflies, hummingbirds, and beetles. All of these pollinators together are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food, and the time to act is now!

 

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One of the best and easiest ways to get involved and to help save the bees and other pollinators is to get outside this weekend, enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, and plant pollinator-friendly flowers and plants around your yard. Gardening is a great summer project, and it provides pollinators with safe and beautiful habitat. And, as always, never use chemicals or pesticides on your lawn or in your garden!!!

 

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photo: thespanishgardener.blogspot.com

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photo: anr.ext.wvu.edu 

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photo: pollinators.blogspot.com

 

If you live in the Boulder/Denver area of Colorado (or the Southern Rocky Mountain Steppe/Open Woodland/Coniferous Forest/Alpine Meadow Province, which includes parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho), the best plants to attract pollinators include lavender, columbine, sunflowers, roses, phacelia, cilantro, sage, and many more! For the complete list and information about the best plants and habitat for pollinators, click here.

 

If you don’t live in this particular region, click here to calculate your planting region by entering your zip code, then find out which pollinator-friendly flowers and plants will grow best where you live!

 

To learn more about how you can get involved from the legal standpoint, click here, or visit ecoLogical Lawn & Tree Care’s Facebook page.

 

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Lately, there has been a lot of talk over the ash beetle invasion that recently struck the Boulder, Colorado area last September. The non-native, bright green emerald ash borer only preys on ash trees (hence its colloquial name ash beetle), and once an ash tree is infested with these little guys, there is practically no hope for survival.

On the surface, these beetles seem like your typical, destructive pests; but what adds an interesting layer to this dilemma is the fact that they’re not the only non-native species that’s involved here. Ironically, the ash trees that are currently growing here in Colorado are also a non-native species like the ash beetle, and they were purposely planted here (and will continue to be– about a million of them through year 2025) in order to introduce more shade into our sunny state. The point is, although we keep deliberately planting them, the ash trees– just like the ash beetle– aren’t really supposed to be here, either. 

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So what’s the problem?

Well, studies predict that this new invasive ash beetle population will end up killing off tens of thousands of ash trees in Colorado… all while the state spends enormous funds (which are projected to eventually amount to millions of dollars) on ineffective chemical treatments that attempt to “mitigate” the ash beetle population and reverse the damage caused by the critters in already infested ash trees. Unfortunately, these chemical treatments and insecticidal tree-injections cannot save these trees, nor can they possibly kill off all of the beetles; the only remedy that works is the removal of the infested ash tree altogether. We can’t help but feel sorry for all of the ash trees (which are supposed to be thriving) and demonize the ash beetles for being such stubborn pests, but we must remember that what’s happening is also just nature.

Thus, the real problem is not the havoc of the ash beetle. Rather, the true problem is that we keep continuing to plant new ash trees to replace the already dead and dying ones (which is frankly a waste of money, time, and resources), and we keep poisoning our ecosystem with pointless pesticides and insecticides that aren’t really working. Seven months later after the ash beetle invasion, we find ourselves stuck in a sort of cyclical war between the ash tree and the ash beetle, pouring all of our efforts into constant planting, pesticide-injecting, removing, and re-planting. It’s as if we are just luring the ash beetles with fresh bait over and over again, and many feel that these measures we’ve been taking to eradicate the ash beetle have proven to be overwhelmingly futile and wasteful.

But is there an alternative solution?

A solution: not quite. But a suggestion for how we can cope: yes. Many Colorado citizens propose and agree that it is more financially and environmentally ethical to first stop trying to save the ash trees that are already infested by the ash beetle, and to also stop planting new ones for the ash beetles to just inevitably gobble up again. In reality, if an ash tree has ash beetles living inside of it, then it must be accepted that the tree will eventually die. Toxic pesticide and insecticide treatments are very costly and are highly unsuccessful in reversing the ash beetles’ infestation of an ash tree. Not to mention, these synthetic chemicals are dangerous for our environment and health. Also, the “preemptive removal” of healthy ash trees, as well as the removal of beetle-ridden ones, lacks logic– why would we invest in the removal of all of these ash trees if we are also simultaneously investing in a project to plant almost a million new ones? In other words, why keep planting ash trees and feeding the beetles?

Ultimately, the idea of letting nature run its course and choosing acceptance over combativeness exists. We can choose to stop injecting pesticides and insecticides into our environment and ecosystem and stop planting new ash trees to cover-up the dead ones. Believe it or not, having dead ash trees around us is not the end of the world. We can always use the dead ash trees as firewood and scrap wood, and perhaps even launch a campaign to repurpose the dead ash trees in the Boulder community. We must also keep in mind that, when left alone, dead ash trees create more natural habitat for wildlife. So why not, for now, just let the ash beetles have the ash trees that are already planted here, and let the birds have plenty of beetles to eat in the meantime? There is no need to be so ashamed of the ash beetle, in our opinion.

 

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Images:

www.emeraldashborer.wordpress.com

www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

 

Sources:

www.dailycamera.com/lifestyles/ci_24402821/emerald-ash-borer-tree-monster

www.dailycamera.com/letters/ci_24206188/bill-weber-ash-trees-invasive-beetle-is-blessing

www.dailycamera.com/guest-opinions/ci_25588139/how-deal-ash-beetle

 

 

 

 

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Sources: Pesticide Action Network and Environmental Protection Agency

As April flowers begin to pop up all around our yards and gardens, you may also begin to hear the blissful, melodious buzz of the honeybees. . . bzzzz! It’s truly the sound of spring, and it makes us happy!

bees_4The latest buzz that’s going around about bees, however, is causing us all great concern.

Honeybees are the most economically and agriculturally important pollinators in the whole world, yet their population has been declining severely since the 1990s. In fact, in just the U.S. alone, commercial beekeepers have been reporting up to a 36% decrease in their managed bee populations year after year. Scientists finally attributed this steady depletion in bee population to a phenomenon they named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in 2006. The culprits behind this dilemma? Studies have shown that this growing rate of bee deaths is mainly due to pesticide poisoning, pathogens and diseases, environmental stress, and habitat loss.

So, why save the bees?

Because, believe it or not, out of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food supply (that’s a lot of food!) over 70 of these crops are pollinated by bees. In other words, 1/3 of the food that we see on our plates each meal is from a bee-pollinated plant. Bees are absolutely essential to our agricultural system and to the cultivation and production of numerous fruits, vegetables, and field crops.

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How you can help save the bees -  While there are several organizations that are working hard to combat CCD and improve pollinators’ protection from pesticides (such as the EPA and the USDA CCD Steering Committee), we can all help in our own ways to save our honeybees.

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- Plant lots of flowers and herbs to attract honeybee colonies. We love lavender and geraniums, but you can find the full list here.

- Let your dandelions feed the bees! It is very important to NOT remove your dandelions until AFTER they have bloomed and their flowers have gone. Dandelion flowers are honeybees’ main source of protein and are necessary for their survival, so please leave them for the bees! To learn more, check out this excellent letter from Boulder resident Gabriele Sattler entitled, “Don’t poison our pollinators that we saw in this week’s Boulder Daily Camera.

- Say NO to pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Choose organic lawn care and protect not only your kids and pets from exposure to toxic chemicals, but also protect the bees from pesticide poisoning as well! Eliminating chemical treatments from your lawn, trees, and plants eliminates the possibility for many serious and/or fatal health problems and illnesses to attack the species of our ecosystem.

- If you ever find a honeybee habitat on your property, please give us, ecoLogical Lawn and Tree Care, a call right away at 303-444-3456. Leslie Ratica, a local Boulder beekeeper, specializes in sustainable honeybee colony maintenance and will gladly come to your property to extract and re-home any swarms and/or hives upon request.

 

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clean energy collectiveIt’s Only Natural… 

EcoLogical Lawn & Tree Care powers up lawn equipment with clean, locally produced, renewable energy.

 

We are  taking our environmental stewardship to a new level and powering our eco-friendly equipment with local, renewable, solar energy provided by Clean Energy Collective (CEC).   CEC develops community-owned renewable energy solutions for electric utilities and their customers, including Boulder County’s first community-owned solar array – the Boulder Cowdery Meadows Solar Array.  With CEC, residential and commercial utility customers can own fully maintained solar panels in a local, centralized facility. CEC’s proprietary RemoteMeter® software credits customers for the power produced directly on their monthly electric bills. In one easy step, customers receive a positive financial payback and reduce pollution – without making any changes to their property. CEC community-owned solar arrays make local renewable energy an easy and smart financial decision for everyone.

 

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The Boulder Cowdery Meadows Solar Array  –  500 kW – Grand Opening guests and customers

 

What is Community-Owned Solar?  Community solar arrays, sometimes referred to as a solar farm or solar garden, are centralized photovoltaic (PV) power facilities that deliver reliable, commercial-scale renewable energy to an electric utility’s grid. The utility’s customers, including residences, businesses, and tax-exempt entities, can own or lease solar panels in the array without having to install panels on their own rooftop or property. In return for the power produced, customers receive credits on monthly electric bills, reducing their expenses and exposure to rising electricity costs while also reducing their carbon footprint. Community solar arrays are ideally situated for sun exposure and professionally maintained for maximum power production and bill savings over an extended lifetime. Customers can own as many panels as they choose (up to 100% of their power need), transfer panels if they move, or sell panels at any time. Community-owned solar refers to Clean Energy Collective’s unique solution in which participants can own their panels providing a better return and an extended savings solution for years to come. Community solar arrays make renewable energy easy, accessible, and smart for everyone – including the environment!

 

For more information regarding Boulder’s own community-owned solar array, contact CEC at 800.646.0323 or info@coloradocommunitysolar.com.

To estimate your own savings, visit: www.ColoradoCommunitySolar.com

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From: SafeLawns.org

DURANGO, CO. — Defiantly declaring that pesticides used to control weeds and insects are safe when used as directed and stating “I don’t believe we’re making any children sick here,” the mayor of this remote town led the charge on a 5-0 vote late Tuesday night against an ordinance that would have removed both synthetic chemical pesticides — and fertilizers — from all town-owned property.

That is only the beginning of the fight, however, in the highly independent Home Rule Municipality in the southwest corner of the state. Because organizers of the petition drive collected more than 1,000 signatures in support of what would be a historic restriction on synthetic fertilizers as well as pesticides, the initiative may now be placed on the November ballot for the town’s 16,000-plus residents to decide.

The issue of lawn care pesticides is invariably polarizing. No matter where the debate has raged in the nearly three decades since Hudson, Quebec, began hearing from Dr. June Irwin back in 1985, some folks believe the pesticides like 2,4-D and Roundup are safe; others feel that these products fall somewhere between dangerous and lethal.

Despite the city council’s 5-0 vote against the petition, Blair, Gourley and their group of organizers still hold the best cards in this spirited poker match. If they allow the issue to go to the November ballot in an election year — in which the state of Colorado is also debating the legalization of marijuana — they know they will probably win. Numerous polls have shown that younger voters especially favor anti-pesticide initiatives.

 

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Scientists are learning that chemicals you encounter every day can interfere with your immune system, leading to allergies and other problems.

From Organic Gardening

A recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that common chemicals such as triclosan, an antibacterial chemical used in toothpastes and other personal-care products, and bisphenol-A (BPA), used in plastics and the linings of food cans, could be interfering with our immune systems.

Knowing that BPA and triclosan both interfere with the endocrine system and act like estrogen in the body, the authors suspected that because estrogen protects immune cells, the chemicals could have some impact on the health of the immune system. Previous laboratory studies have also shown that BPA and triclosan, along with a few other endocrine-disrupting chemicals, increase production of cells that lead to allergy development.

The researchers compared levels of BPA and triclosan in roughly 5,000 participants’ urine samples with two markers of immune-system health: a professional diagnosis of allergies or hayfever and levels of antibodies for cytomegalovirus, a common virus that most people contract at a very young age and that stays in our bodies for the rest of our lives.

Triclosan was significantly associated with allergies and hayfever, their analysis showed. That finding supports the “hygiene hypothesis,” or the idea that the more we try to sanitize our homes and our environments, the less able our immune systems are to defend us against common “invaders” like allergens and pollen. Although BPA wasn’t found to have an impact on allergies, it did seem to affect those cytomegalovirus antibodies. Adults over 18 who had higher levels of BPA also had higher levels of antibodies, suggesting that their immune systems weren’t functioning as well as they should be. Scrubbing yourself clean with triclosan-saturated antibacterial soap may be a bad deal for your immune system. And so might BPA, which lurks in food-can linings and cash-register receipts, among other places.

To avoid BPA, limit your consumption of canned foods, don’t microwave in plastic containers (BPA is a component of some plastics), and avoid other known exposure sources, such as receipts. Decline receipts at the ATM, gas stations, and any other retail outlet that gives you the choice. When you do get a receipt, store it in a separate envelope, rather than in your wallet.

To avoid triclosan, avoid all products labeled “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial.” The chemical is listed as an active ingredient in all personal-care products in which it’s used. But triclosan is also added to household goods as diverse as cutting boards and garden hoses. Keep an eye out for terms like “Microban” or “Biofresh,” as both are trade names for triclosan.

Sources:

OrganicGardening.com

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From BeyondPesticides.org

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday that it has rejected a petition to ban the widely used herbicide 2,4-D, dismissing epidemiologic studies that link the pesticide to cancer, endocrine disruption, and other human health effects. In its announcement, EPA also responded to comments that Beyond Pesticides submitted in 2009, dismissing two studies that evaluate the relationship between the use of the chemical on lawns and the incidence of malignant lymphoma in pets. Thepetition was initially filed in 2008 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

2,4-D has been used in the U.S. since the 1940s, and as such is one of the oldest registered herbicides in the country. It made up roughly half of the herbicide known as Agent Orange, which was used to defoliate forests and croplands in the Vietnam War. According to EPA, 2,4-D is currently found in approximately 600 products registered for agricultural, residential, industrial, and aquatic uses.

The use of 2,4-D is expected to increase significantly in the next few years with the recent announcement that Dow AgroSciences, the main manufacturer of the chemical, is seeking federal approval to sell corn seeds that have been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide. [Listen to a radio interview on this subject by Beyond Pesticides’ Executive Director Jay Feldman.]

2,4-D is a chlorophenoxy herbicide, and scientists around the world have reported increased cancer risks in association with its use, especially for soft tissue sarcoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomaResearch by EPA suggests that babies born in counties with high rates of chlorophenoxy herbicides application to farm fields are significantly more likely to be born with birth defects of the respiratory and circulatory systems, as well as defects of the musculoskeletal system like clubfoot, fused digits and extra digits. These birth defects were 60% to 90% more likely in counties with higher 2,4-D application rates. The results also show a higher likelihood of birth defects in babies conceived in the spring, when herbicide application rates peak.

Unfortunately, the agency’s ruling states that there is not enough data to conclude that there is a direct cause and effect relationship between exposure to 2,4-D and health effects. EPA reviewers said that though some studies have shown higher risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among farmers, it was too difficult to point to 2,4-D as the cause because of the farmer’s exposure to so many other chemicals. Instead, according to the New York Times, the agency relies heavily on an industry funded study by 2,4-D manufacturers and conducted by Dow. The study found that when 2,4-D was put into food for rats, the rats had no reproductive problems, or problems in their offspring.

>>Read more

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