You already know what we are facing—after the hottest year on record in the US since we started recording temps in 1880; forest fires, floods, droughts, the impact of rising temperatures on our forests, agriculture, oceans and marine life; the complexity of contaminants in our drinking water and bays, and in the air; the increased diseases attacking species of trees, and the collapse of birds, insects and native bees. We could go on and on, but we sense you know at least some of this existential crisis we are facing.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO LOCALLY?
This is the question that inspired us to form ChangeHampton!
How can we promote, educate and model new restorative, healthy, non-toxic, bio-diverse and resilient landscaping practices to increase carbon sequestering of our natural landscape, to combat global warming, to improve the hydrologic cycle and the health of our soils and air; to improve the quality of our drinking water and bays; and to nurture birds and pollinator and other beneficial insects so vital to our survival?
So here’s what we did in 2022/23:
We created a model 3,800 sq. ft. Community Pollinator Garden at East Hampton Town Hall—a public-private partnership with the Town of East Hampton—with funding from the Long Island Community Foundation and many other local donors as well as with volunteer labor from community members. Check out the history of the garden!
We also created an exciting website to help us change practices in our yards—reduce ecologically dead lawns; stop using pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers; plant native trees, shrubs, grasses and pollinator friendly plants. And learn to love leaves and the habitat they create for our vital insect and pollinator world.
And we launched the 1000 Healthy Yards campaign to begin this change in your yard with yard signs to spread the word. See the East Hampton Star coverage of our mid-May launch event!
In September, 2023 we organized a Beauty & Biodiversity Garden Tour. See the article in 27 East magazine about that. And our newsletter with lots of photos of that event.
Kris Liem with Surfrider’s Ocean Gardens guides us around the bioswale at Methodist Lane—a creation of Surfrider together with Piazza Horticulture and Mahoney Farms—on our Beauty & Biodiversity Tour. Photo: Gail Pellett
In 2022 and ’23 we published educational and informative newsletters to focus on parts of the puzzle of our new lives—restoring biodiversity and creating healthy resilient landscapes. One newsletter focused on Neonics.
In the spring of 2023 we ran ads in local press emphasizing the link between what we do in our yards and the health of our drinking water and bays. Learn more about our precious resource on our website.
We also created a bilingual spanish-english leaflet promoting our ideas to property owners, landscape contractors and workers.
NOW WE ARE PLANNING NEW PROJECTS FOR 2024! JOIN US!
We need your enthusiasm and skills! Let us know how you wish to engage with ChangeHampton:
—as a volunteer to develop new model landscaping projects—like native grass meadows, or hedgerows, or mini-forests, or rain gardens/bioswales to counteract run-off into our bays.
—as a creator of new fun educational videos or social media,
—as an organizer of a film & speaker festival,
—developing unique ideas for reaching people who still have doubts about our ideas for restoring nature or…
—helping us identify funding to do all of this work!
So please reach out to us at: email@example.com
PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO KEEP THIS WORK GOING! DONATE HERE.
Francisco Vasquez, Springs School 6th grader, wins environmental video contest. See his video below. Photo: East Hampton Star
VIDEOS? YES VIDEOS!!
We want to encourage local environmentally conscious videos from all age groups to reach the doubters and the deniers and the folks who just may not have a lot of time to pay attention.
Here’s a video from one of our local Springs middle-school students—Francisco Vasquez, sixth grader. Francisco is setting an example for us! He won a local contest with his video. Take a look.
VIDEOS ABOUT MODELS OF NATIVE GRASS, POLLINATOR AND MINI-FOREST YARDS!
Animated shot from Preston Montague’s video: Creating a Garden-scale Grassland
As we try to educate ourselves about creating meadows of native grasses mixed with pollinator friendly plants ChangeHampton’s Len Green discovered this remarkable video animation by Preston Montague, Landscape Architect, Artist and Educator.
Creating a Garden-scale grassland: Designing for Function VIDEO ANIMATION
Did you know that large parts of Long Island were covered in extensive grasslands before European settlers arrived? We’ll be telling you more about them next year as we explore the potential for creating a beautiful model to enjoy and learn from.
WHAT’S ALL THIS TALK ABOUT MINI-FOREST?
Miyawaki method Mini-forest in a suburban setting.
MORE VIDEOS! THE MINI FOREST REVOLUTION. THE MIYAWAKI METHOD!
At ChangeHampton we are exploring a concept of Mini-forests for urban and suburban areas. The mini-forest concept was introduced by Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist, in the 1970s. He created mini-forests in 3,000 places around the world. Mini-forests are created by planting densely with diverse native shrubs and trees in restored soil to create a fast-growing mini-forest. They are not for decoration or ornamentation but to restore complex biodiverse eco-systems. Watch these videos to get the idea and think about projects for the East End of Long Island!
INSIDE THE RE-WILDING MOVEMENT!
If you enjoy listening to podcasts, don’t miss this: “Inside the Rewilding Movement” an NPR On the Point interview with Isabelle Tree whose work with her husband Charlie Burell on their 3,500 acre estate in England jump-started the Rewilding movement. Isabelle and Charlie have a new book:
Book of Wilding: A Practical Guide to Re-wilding Big and Small.
LEAF BLOWERS! Until we ban them outright, we cannot seem to escape the dangerous noise, air and eco-system destruction of leaf blowers.
YES, WE REPEAT & REPEAT! Blowers produce dangerous decibel levels for our mental health, they pollute the air with all kinds of nasty stuff that people are using on their lawns like pesticides as well as mice feces and they totally disrupt and destroy the regenerative eco-system for hybernating bees and pollinator insects among other species.
But…we know some of you have concerns…
MOLES AND VOLES
Edwina von Gal helped us distinguish between Moles and Voles: M is for Moles = meat eaters and they eat grubs, invasive earthworms, and Japanese beetles, etc; V is for Voles = Vegetarian. They can eat our plant roots.
One person on our mailing list, Paige Patterson who works at Marders, responded to one of our fall newsletters advising against blowers, encouraging rakes and learning to love leaves as mulch for your beds and fertilizer for your lawns.
She asked: What about those destructive moles and voles that seem to hide under fallen leaves…aren’t they encouraged by leaving leaves in place? And consequently many of Paige’s clients use rat poison on their yards which then kill raptors and small animals like rabbits.
So we asked our team of experts at ChangeHampton:
WHAT TO DO ABOUT MOLES & VOLES…
Len Green found this article in The Humane Gardener:
In “Moles: Underground Wonders,” Nancy Lawson argues that we need to appreciate nature’s engineers.
“Out of the scant research, however, has come information that should impress even the cynics: Not only do moles aerate our soil and dine on invasive earthworms and Japanese beetle larvae, but they’re considered “ecosystem engineers” whose kicked-up dirt can create fertile ground for plants that host rare butterfly larvae. Molehill soil is also beneficial to savvy gardeners, who make use of it in pots and beds.”
Voles eat many roots of plants.
ChangeHampton’s Paul Munoz owns an environmentally friendly landscaping company Eco-Harmony. He advised:
“What has worked for us with voles is a combination of using castor oil and garlic based repellents and reducing/clearing leaves/mulch cover around shrubs, trees and lawn areas. The thinking behind this is to cause no harm to the actual critters which are food sources for owls, raptors, and foxes…Let nature find the balance.”
I just caught a glimpse of a big fox on a property in Springs this summer…hoping to get footage of him/her on some wildlife cameras next season.
Moles are always welcome as far as we are concerned: Moles help aerate the soil, improve drainage, and bring nutrient-rich soil to the surface that is used in our compost piles.
Abby Lawless, of Farm Landscape Design, and the designer of our Community Pollinator Garden at East Hampton Town Hall comments:
“For Voles where we are losing plants we have been recommending VoleX if necessary. Apparently it desiccates them and they claim it will not hurt any predators such as owls or foxes.”
JOIN THE MOVEMENT!
If you enjoyed this newsletter please consider joining us to work on new meaningful projects to restore our landscapes on the East End.
CONTACT US: firstname.lastname@example.org
And please consider making a donation so we can do more of this important work!