The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Ohio Province has responded to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Platform by creating the Dorothy Stang Initiative for Laudato Si’ Action. While in the process of gathering data from sisters, associates, staff, donors and others in our circle, we were reminded that all steps we take are important - both big and small. We therefore introduce Your Little Bit of Good, a short weekly one-pager that focuses on some aspect of the environment. It is an attempt to bring forward small things we can do.
Director of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation
God, thank you for Spring and the hope of warmer, longer, brighter days.
Thank you for the coming of growth and life and birth. Thank you that things are coming awake in the world.
This is what our calendar says, and we do see some signs that it is real.
But we also still struggle with the residual layover of winter.
Now we ask that you bring into reality all that belongs in this season.
Your word says that we will have provision, and hope, and joy, and health
and loving relationships here and now in this life.
We ask that what belongs in this season would become actual in our practical lives.
We hope in you and in your promises.
We hope in your gift of Spring.
-- Author Unknown
Credit: Xavier University Spring Prayers
It’s spring! I thought we could continue our spring thinking. Last week we talked about avoiding bee killing pesticides. I wanted to add another thought to help you save our pollinators.
Are you putting off your spring yard clean up? Is someone else in your family responsible for doing so, and is putting it off? If so, thank you, or thank them! Did you know many pollinators (other than honey bees) spend the winter in the hollow stems of last years’ fallen leaves, the stalks of dead flowers, or under the top layer of dead vegetation? Our pollinators do not emerge from their winter sleep until temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for seven consecutive days. If you rake, or blow or otherwise disturb them, they will not survive. So, consider putting off your spring yard and garden clean up until it has been lovely and warm outside for a week.
Another thing we can do in our yard to ensure the health of the wildlife around us, is to dedicate at least a small patch (the bigger the better, though) to creating a wildlife friendly habitat. We know biodiversity is important. Habitats with a large variety of species are healthy and stable. They also recover quicker from damage.
One last thing. Planting native species is critical. Research your plantings! If you notice, every spring those “pretty white Callery Pear trees” along the highways have multiplied. They are an invasive tree. As all invasive species, they can take over a habitat in a matter of years. There are 38 invasive plants outlawed in Ohio. But, not all invasive plants are banned. (Callery Pear is legal until January 2023.) Home improvement stores and garden centers sell what customers want. Consumers need to ask for native plants and reject those plants that do harm.
For more on why you should wait for spring clean up, click here.
Happy Eco News has a great article on the importance of planting wildlife habitats. You can read it here.
Ohio Department of Agriculture has a list here of invasive plants that are illegal to sell. If you have these in your yard, consider replacing them with native species. If you are outside of Ohio, your state department of agriculture will have a list too.
Have questions about what to plant or when to clear or… whatever? The Ohio State University Extension Office has an “Ask an Expert” webpage here. It’s a free service.