Welcome back friend,
Fall has been so lovely, and as always it’s one of our favorite times of year.
How has your mindful cleanup challenge helped you appreciate the season? We would love to hear about it. Hit reply and let us know - we read every email!
Or stop by the EarthCare Community Facebook group and share your experience.
Part of our EarthCare practice is to take moments of reflection and appreciation, especially as we draw closer to winter. We love using this time to tend to our inner landscape, as well as the outer landscape. It’s a great time to take a moment and record observations about your experience in your Nature journal this week.
Now, for this week’s Fall CleanUp Challenge: Learn about bats + incorporate bat shelter into your landscape.
You might be asking, attracting bats on purpose? Really??
Yes! Bats are natural allies in the ecological garden. They’ve gotten a bad rap, but bats and humans can coexist very successfully in our region. Let’s explore!
Why welcome bats?
They’re natural predators of mosquitoes! One little brown bat (that’s the official common name of one species local to us 😊) eats up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in an hour, and a nursing mother eats over 4,000 insects every night.
Many problematic insects are active (and do the most damage to plants) at night, which is prime feeding time for bats.
Most bats (especially those in our bioregion) are non-aggressive, their guano doesn’t put you at higher risk to contract disease, and they’re no more likely to carry parasites and rabies than other mammals.
How to incorporate shelter?
1. If you have dead trees on your property that you can safely leave standing, that’s valuable habitat! Or create a snag by cutting the dead limbs down but leaving the trunk standing!
According to our friends at Edge of the Woods Nursery: “Dead trees, also known as snags, have a variety of ecological benefits; from homes to cavity-dwelling critters to a food source for grubs and fungus, and even a hunting ground for woodpeckers and nuthatches. If you have a dead tree on your property in a safe place, let it stand, naturally decay, and watch critters utilize it. (Snags, if in the wrong place, pose risks for structures, people, and roadways, so make sure your snag is not in a position that could be a problem as it continues to decay.)”
2. While bats in our ecosystem have either migrated south for winter, or found their hibernation spot, now is a great time to install a properly constructed bat house to welcome them back in spring. See resources below to learn more about bat houses.
3. While planning your future gardens this winter, consider adding native flowers that stay open at night, to attract more insects that bats can feed on. Some recommended “moonlight garden” plants are evening primrose, phlox, fleabane and goldenrod.
To combat pests in the landscape, too many folks have
resorted to “alien” solutions, like importing non-native insects and
All of these efforts do traumatic damage to the planet, and are poisoning our waterways.
you know an owl can die from ingesting a poisoned rat or mouse? It’s
never an option to use poisons, and we really try to prevent importing
We have plenty of our own native predators who play nice in
our ecosystems while devouring their prey - mosquitos, aphids and the
In fact, the lady beetles are our favorite predator and our logo is based on the endangered 9-spotted ladybug native to PA!