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Natural Perspectives: Make every day at home Earth Day

April 18, 2012|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
  • These three rain barrels that are connected in series have a storage capacity of 165 gallons of rainwater. Lou uses the water for her compost bins and vegetable beds.
These three rain barrels that are connected in series… (Courtesy Lou Murray,…)

Earth Day falls on a Sunday this year.

The folks at Bolsa Chica celebrated Earth Day on April 14 with tours, live snakes, and even a bounce house for children. The Amigos de Bolsa Chica, the Bolsa Chica Conservancy, the Bolsa Chica Land Trust and the California Department of Fish and Game put on the event.

Vic had a station at the event where he showed people how to survey for migratory birds. Kids visiting the station were shown how to use binoculars, then asked to count the birds on the mudflats in front of them. Some of the younger kids weren't able to count as high as the number of birds!

While Bolsa Chica is important as a natural habitat, Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Central Park is important as an education center. At Shipley, visitors can learn about habitats, native plants, and wildlife, as well as conservation of natural resources. For example, Shipley has an awesome setup for collecting rainwater from the roof of their interpretive center, and also has a great compost demonstration facility.

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The folks at the Shipley Nature Center will celebrate Earth Day at 9 a.m. Saturday. They will have lots of beautiful California native plants for sale. It will be a great opportunity to get a trio of Douglas iris, a columbine or two, or some native sages.

Planting at least a portion of your yard in California native plants is a great thing to do for water conservation, as well as to create habitat for local birds, bees and butterflies in your yard.

Speaking of butterflies, the Friends of Shipley Nature Center will have a butterfly house at their Earth Day event where people can see Monarch butterflies. These butterflies choose milkweeds on which to lay their eggs.

Vic and I were thrilled when Monarchs visited our butterfly garden this spring and laid eggs. The caterpillars ate the milkweeds down to bare stems, formed chrysalises, hatched out and flew away to the north. Our yard was filled with Monarchs when they hatched. I was hoping to watch one as it emerged, but they all managed to pump up their wings and fly away when I wasn't looking.

The Friends of Shipley Nature Center are also having a lecture on composting at 2 p.m. Saturday. If you aren't composting already, I urge you to get in on the fun.

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