January 31, 2019

(This was written in response to one of my spiritual friends' question why what we believe shouldn't matter much.)

I happened to turn on the radio one day and listened in to a physicist in the middle of a discourse with a group of college students. I don’t remember now what the subject was about, but I was struck by a repeated assertion that the scientist made.

He said that the correct answer to any scientific research, until it’s proven with the empirical evidence, is a “don’t know.” It doesn’t matter how much data is collected and how convincingly the body of data is pointing to a particular direction and that a trained scientist could reasonably draw to a conclusion. Yet, the correct answer to the hypothesis is that you don’t know and have no credible answ...

September 14, 2018

 We've been hearing quite a few encouraging stories from people who want to turn old fields (from abandoned farmlands to smaller empty lots in suburban neighborhood) into native plant meadows.

The owners of these fields have beautiful visions: A mix of diverse native flowering plants with some woody species in the background to attract native wildlife population. They like to see lots of bird activities and butterflies and other beneficial insects and possibly more amphibian population. Some people inherited tens of acreage in the countryside and some happen to own small empty lots next to their suburban houses.

What they have in common is they don't really want to engage landscaping companies to turn these spaces into thriving meadows overnight. They like to...

February 23, 2016

 

Ordinarily, February is not my favorite month. Patience isn't my virtue. I become out of sorts when not engaged in productive work, physically. I keep thinking about all the things that need to be done while realizing there's nothing much I can do about them until, well, spring arrives. This Chantilly greenhouse cured me that February blue this year.

 

We completed sowing: 104 species, 724 trays of pots, and more than 16,000 small pots of native plants from the seeds we collected last year. We could have easily doubled these numbers if we have the space!

 

More than third of these pots are devoted to grass and sedge species. Altogether, we've sown 33 species of native grasses and sedges, without counting the ones already available at our nursery in Springfield...

February 15, 2016

 

The steady disappearance of wild plants in our region, like elsewhere, is happening quietly. Most of us don’t even notice it, much less care about it. Just as with other forms of environmental damage, people generally only pay attention when the damage is presented in the context of public health and economic losses.

 

When we think of the environment, we often think of its recreational value. In the U.S., most federal and state land-management agencies are built upon this idea. They support plant and animal wildlife, but often for the pleasure of people. They stock game fish species into rivers and streams for recreational fishing, and they manage for game species of land animals — not just deer but waterfowl, elk, even black bear. This recreational aspect...

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