New York State IPM Program

April 24, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on EARTH DAY 2020 – A Special Note from Director Jennifer Grant

EARTH DAY 2020 – A Special Note from Director Jennifer Grant

photo of NYSIPM Director Jennifer Grant

NYSIPM Director Jennifer Grant

Happy Earth Day, Earth Week and Earth Year to you all! The 50th anniversary… incredible!  IPM and Earth Day came from the same roots, the environmental movement that was burgeoning over a half century ago. The concept of IPM has come of age, and has permeated people’s approach to growing our food, managing schools, and protecting themselves from pests. Fifty years. Do you look back and get energized by what’s been accomplished, or are you daunted by all the work that lies ahead?

To me, one of the bright lights is that millennials are environmentally conscious, and demand environmental consideration from those providing them with food, employment, cars and other products. Today most people know and care about Climate Change, and want to curb it and its dreadful effects. People around the world are aware of threats to the environment, and are banding together to protect it.

photo of Seneca Lake sunset

 “…sitting in Geneva it’s hard to complain about being home when you look out over Seneca Lake”

Now that most of us are home, it’s a perfect time to look at our normal lives and see what we miss, and what are we’re doing better. We’re driving our cars and flying in planes a lot less. We’re getting out to walk and ride our bikes because there’s nothing else to do. We’re cooking and baking a lot of foods from scratch. Some have “gone back to the land” and are planting vegetable gardens for the first time in years, or ever. Can we incorporate some of these good habits into our new normal as the corona crisis subsides? Why not strive for those goals? The current situation is teaching many about the power of working together. What if your whole neighborhood designates a community garden and produce share? What if your office designates a day a week for working from home, and carpools on the other days? What if your kids grow up to set policies that don’t allow pollution?

Looking within our own NYS IPM program, I am always impressed with the creative ways our staff is working with others to reduce the need for pesticides in agriculture and in our communities. This is not just their profession, for most it’s their passion. As we’ve explored what Earth Day means to each of us, I’ve loved learning that our own Lynn Braband was out marching for the first Earth Day, and that Amanda is teaching her very young sons about Earth Day and has them planting trees.

Please go hug a tree—physically or virtually—and make a plan to save the world, because every day is Earth Day!

photo of Jennifer Grant on a four wheeled bike with a cooler chest ont the back

“NYSIPM Director Jennifer Grant says she is considering ditching her car and selling cold beers off the back of her bike in retirement”

(Thank you Jennifer, for the great post. A special and bittersweet post as we near the end of Jen’s time as our Director!)

 

April 23, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Earth Day 2020 – IPMers Consider 50 Years of Caring and Action (part #2)

Earth Day 2020 – IPMers Consider 50 Years of Caring and Action (part #2)

From Integrated Weed Management Specialist BRYAN BROWN:

Spring is my favorite. Rushing streams. Birds singing. Bright green leaves. Earth Day reminds me to appreciate these simple pleasures and think about ways to protect them.
Responsible pest management through IPM offers a way for farmers to keep those leaves bright green, while keeping our streams running clean, and our birds chirping keen.
photo of Bryan Brown standing near a small waterfall in upstate new york

Photo from Bryan’s collection

From Biocontrol Specialist AMARA DUNN:

Earth Day reminds me that the choices I make every day – what I eat, buy, plant…and how I manage pests – matter.

photo of Amara Dunn at the beneficial habitat plots on the Agrictech farm

photo NYSIPM

From Web and Graphic Designer, KAREN ENGLISH

Earth Day to me means being able to enjoy the wilderness, and a reminder that we need to care for it, too.

photo of Karen English in the front of a canoe on a lake in the Adirondack Mountains.

Photo from Karen English collection

From Vegetable IPM Coordinator ABBY SEAMAN:

The only thing I think about Earth Day is that for me, every day is Earth Day, and I hope Earth Day inspires others to make at least one change in their life that will benefit the environment.

photo of cellophane bee exiting a ground nest

Cellophane bee exiting a ground nest

 

April 22, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Earth Day 2020 – IPMers Consider 50 Years of Concern and Action (part #1)

Earth Day 2020 – IPMers Consider 50 Years of Concern and Action (part #1)

From Livestock & Field Crops IPM Extension Area Educator KEN WISE:

What I remember the most of Earth Day is when I taught high school forestry and fishery. On Earth Day, we would plant several acres of Douglas fir seedlings or release salmon in rivers with my students in the Cascade Mountains. We would grow our own seedlings and had a built our salmon hatchery.

Earth day for me is an everyday state of mind. My work in a small way I hope helps sustain the land.

photo of a lake in the Cascade mountains

Mountain Lake in the Cascades (public domain)

From Community IPM Extension Area Educator MATT FRYE:

In grad school I coordinated an annual trash removal project in our woodlot, and prior to that I helped with tree plantings. But it’s been a few years, so this is more of a reflective thought on Earth Day…

Earth Day for me is a reminder. It’s a day to slow down. To take a deep breath. To experience and admire the wonders that this world has to offer. Equally, it’s a call to action. For if we fail to nurture and actively protect them, someday those wonders may be but a memory.

photo of Matt on a hike in the woods.

Photo of Matt from Matt’s collection

From Ornamentals IPM Coordinator BETSY LAMB:

To me, it is the power of people coming together for a cause.  And sometimes even people on apparently opposite sides of an issue who see that environmental improvements actually have benefits for both sides.

It is easy now to say that it is just a meaningless ‘holiday’ but we need to be reminded of how far we have actually come and what some of the changes have been and are.  Like some other issues, the changes have become the expected norm – which is perhaps a victory in itself.  And that is not to say that there are no longer challenges.  There certainly are – and some new voices pointing them out and encouraging new responses.  Hope, frustration, action, and change!

photo of Betsy in a greenhouse

Betsy teaching biocontrol in a greenhouse meeting. (Photo NYSIPM)

From Program Administrator AMANDA GRACE:

Photo of kids planting

Photos from Amanda’s collection

Each year, we plant a tree with the boys to celebrate Earth day. We try our best to educate and raise awareness, especially to our future generation(s), on the importance of unity and coming together to protect and nourish our global home.

“if you want a child’s mind to grow, You must plant the seed.”

Happy Earth day!

collage photos of children planting

From Community IPM Educator LYNN BRABAND:

Here is a photo of my participation in the first Earth Day as a sophomore in community college. I am at the red arrow. I was one of the organizers of the day’s activities in that municipality. Personally, the event was part of a journey that I was already on.

scanned newspaper article about a march on a college campus

Newspaper article from Lynn’s college years, see the close up below.

close up of the college march

Lynn Braband (at red arrow)

Tomorrow, we’ll be sharing a few more thoughts on the significance of Earth Day. Thank you to Jennifer Grant and Joellen Lampman for helping to pull this post together!

 

April 17, 2017
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on Earth Day: What It Means to Me — and the IPM Connection

Earth Day: What It Means to Me — and the IPM Connection

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together … all things connect.” — attributed to Chief Seattle

I’m an environmental educator. Have been one all my life. Among my goals? To erase the line between us and the environment. So often we think of nature as someplace we have to travel to. But this separates us from understanding how we affect our world — for good or for bad.

Amazing creatures like this robber fly can be found in your backyard. These excellent predators catch their prey in the air.

At this time of year we are surrounded by appeals to plant trees. Conserve water. Recycle. Save the polar bears. Want to find examples of IPM as an Earth Day theme? Good luck.

Which is too bad. Because the critters and plants that surround us prove that the environment is right here, right now, all the time. The mice in your kitchen are proof that we coexist with nature even inside.

There is no line.

What’s in a name? Is this a weed or a spontaneous lawn flower? The bee doesn’t care!

Basic ecology tells us that all living things need food, water, shelter, and space. Overwater an indoor plant and you will find fungus gnats. Mow your lawn too short and spontaneous lawn flowers will outcompete the grass. Fail to empty outdoor buckets or refresh the water in your birdbath and there will be no shortage of mosquitoes.

When living things move into our space, we typically label them as pests. But this, my friends, is how nature works. When we provide food by leaving dirty dishes around, don’t seal the garbage right, or plant a favorite flower (tulips, say) in an area with no shortage of deer, we might as well just sit back and watch what comes to partake of our offerings.

Who needs to visit Africa? We can watch the circle of life in our backyards! And no need to get all those shots!

I dream of a world where, along with learning about tigers and redwood trees, children learn about our environment through ants and dandelions. For even in the most urban areas, we find ourselves in nature if we only open our eyes and take the time to recognize it.

My appeal? For Earth Day 2017, let’s each learn about one critter we see often – especially one we consider a pest. Where does it fit in the food web? What helping hand have we given it? And to help your exploration, I recommend starting with the NYS IPM Program’s What’s Bugging You webpage.

Erase the line. And have a very happy Earth Day.

p.s. I would love to hear about what you learned. Feel free to contact me at jkz6@cornell.edu with your story!

March 29, 2017
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on Earth Day IPM for birds and bees — and native plants that nourish them

Earth Day IPM for birds and bees — and native plants that nourish them

We’re starting this post with a detour. But we have little choice. Before you go shopping around for landscape plants, you need to know the backstory.

Invasive plants, trees, shrubs, vines and flowers, many of them brought from afar because yes, they’re lovely in the landscape, have become a bit too much of a good thing. In part it’s because they didn’t evolve here. That could mean the critters — mostly insects or pathogens that co-evolved with them and helped keep them in check — don’t live here. Where that’s the case, there’s little here to naturally keep them in check.

OK, sumac berries aren’t all that tasty. But for migratory songbirds powering their way north, they offer needed nutrients. (Photo credit Mary Holland)

True, not all imported plants are invasive. But it’s all too easy to dig up a seedling or sucker from an invasive when you don’t know the extent of the problem. Which is partly why New York passed the Invasive Species Prevention Act in 2012.

Native plants, on the other hand, are less likely to get out of hand. Plus they can encourage biological control by attracting predatory or parasitoid insects — the good guys that prey on insect pests. And promoting these good guys is key to good IPM.

So with Earth Day in mind and planting season at hand, let’s note this threesome of invasive trees: angelica tree, sycamore maple, and Amur cork tree. These landscape trees are no longer for sale in New York. For a threesome of attractive natives that can fill their place — while helping the birds and bees — consider the merits of (drum roll) staghorn sumac, Juneberry, and white fringetree.

As we speak, migrating birds are stripping last year’s crop of staghorn sumac seeds, now mostly dry and withered but still nourishing, to power their northbound flight. Love birds? Your sumac planting will benefit robins, bluebirds, thrushes, catbirds, cardinals, chickadees, starlings, wild turkey, pileated woodpecker — and that’s just for starters. Soon its tiny yellowish flowers will attract bees and butterflies. Fiery autumn color. Drought resistant, and an excellent soil stabilizer on hillsides.

Juneberry isn’t your traditional hummingbird plant but welcoming even so. And first to flower means first to fruit — nourishment for many nesting songbirds. (Photo credit Hans. Thank you, Pixabay)

Juneberry (Amelanchier spp., with more  common names than you can shake a stick at) is also an early bloomer that draws hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. When its fruits ripen in early summer, robins, waxwings, cardinals, vireos, tanagers, and grosbeaks make a point of stopping by for a meal. You might too — the subtle flavor, shape, and color are reminiscent of blueberries. Grows well in full sun or part shade; adapts to wet or dry soils — but note soil must be acidic.

And then — raise your hand if you’ve seen our native witch hazel. This late bloomer is (metaphorically, that is) the golden chrysanthemum of the woods, daring to blossom when other trees have tucked in for a long winter’s nap. How to describe its flowers? Ribbonlike. Spidery. Kinky. Confetti-like — these all serve for a tree that’s the only show in town. But … if pollinators have tucked in too, how to play the pollination game? Turns out a native moth, the sallows, comes out on chilly nights — shivering its flight muscles and raising its body temperature upward of 50 degrees, then flying off search of food. And during a warm spell, bees will sup here too. Yes, this tree benefits birds and wildlife too, but more on that another time.

Witch hazel makes a lovely understory tree. Prefers part shade and moist but well-drained soil.

Common to all? They fit neatly under power lines.

And now a plug for IPM: it’s easy to talk about the birds and bees. Yet so many critters are on our side. Understandably we shudder when wasps and flies come to mind. But consider the scads of wasp and fly species that are on our side. Hey, plenty of wasps don’t even have stingers; they care only to lay their eggs within pest insects. Flies? Ever heard of flower flies? They do what their names suggests, while their larvae prey on aphids and thrips. And there’s scores more good guys in the family they belong to.

You can find plenty of detailed info here: Finding Alternatives to Invasive Ornamental Plants in New York. And know that we’re hosting a statewide IPM conference on invasive species and what to do about them on July 13. Save the date!

March 23, 2017
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on IPM celebrates Earth Day — the countdown to April 22

IPM celebrates Earth Day — the countdown to April 22

By most measures it’s spring in the northern hemisphere. Technicalities count: regardless if you live in snowy Labrador City (pop. 9354; high of 15ºF) or greater Miami, Florida (pop. ~5.5 million and summery 76ºF), the vernal equinox marked the official start to spring.

Whether or not the weather concurs with your expectations, of course, depends on your point of view. (Here in New York, opinions are mixed.)

This Federally-endangered dragonfly is an indicator species — and indicates a healthy ecosystem. (Courtesy Xerces Society)

A month and two days later, scores of countries worldwide on six continents will celebrate Earth Day.

Issued in 2005: Even a tiny stamp can raise awareness of dwindling resources and the importance of living in harmony with nature. (Courtesy designer Chen Shaohua)

Our question to you — what does Earth Day mean for our homes and forests, our farms, lakes, and rivers? And how does IPM help?

Join the conversation via photos, Facebook, tweets — and ThinkIPM. After all, April 22 is just around the corner. Got good stories? Get in touch with Joellen Lampman at jkz6@cornell.edu.

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