clouds

Measure a tree or take a photograph of clouds for NASA

You can contribute important scientific data to NASA and help scientists studying Earth and the global environment. While NASA can use tools such as satellites, citizen scientists like you can add data that they don’t have. Use the GLOBE Observer App. It currently includes four main tools: Clouds, Trees, Mosquito Habitat Mapper and Land Cover. Clouds By photographing clouds, recording sky observations and comparing them with NASA satellite data, you can help scientists gain a new perspective on clouds that satellites…

wrapping paper

Before you buy wrapping paper, consider this: Can you compost it?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Those glossy wrapping papers are so pretty when they’re on a package, but what happens to the gift wrap after the package is opened? You might think that adding wrapping paper to your compost pile is a great way to use up the paper, but think again. Some wrapping paper can actually contaminate your compost with heavy metals– and that could affect your garden, too. Many kinds of gift wrap contain heavy metals such as lead,…

holly raguza, Bugwood.org

Good news: No lanternfly infestations found, but your help is still needed

The good news is that there hasn’t yet been a documented spotted lanternfly infestation in New York. That’s wonderful because the spotted lanternfly can damage many kinds of plants. In addition, it can secrete so much messy “honeydew” that people can’t go outside without getting honeydew on their hair and clothes. If this insect becomes established in New York, it could impact our forests, agriculture and tourism. Your help is needed to keep this invasive and destructive insect out of our area, according…

Halloween bat

Bats: spooky creatures or garden helpers?

It’s Bat Week, time to raise awareness about the important role bats play in our environment and our gardens. What you might not know about bats All of New York State’s bats eat insects. A single little brown myotis bat can consume 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour! The bat is the only mammal that can truly fly. (Flying squirrels glide, but don’t fly.) Bats are extremely long lived, compared to mammals of similar size. The oldest documented one was…

bumble bee on goldenrod by Stofko

Identify and help native bees in your garden

Did you know that the native bumble bee is more effective than honey bees at pollinating crops such as tomatoes? That’s just one reason gardeners should care about native bees, according to the Wild Bee ID. Another reason gardeners should care about native bees is that pollinator populations have been declining at alarming rates all across the continent, primarily due to habitat loss and pesticide poisoning.  The makers of the Wild Bee ID app hope that gardeners in North America…

chickadee in tree

Do you love birds in your garden? Check out new WNY site

by Connie Oswald Stofko Learn more about the birds that visit your garden with the new website Birds on the Niagara Frontier. It is designed to promote interest in birding and wildlife conservation in Western New York and Southern Ontario. The site was created by Gerry Rising, retired University at Buffalo math professor who has been bird watching for more than 80 years, and Michael Noonan, a retired Canisius College professor of Animal Behavior who has produced a dozen films that…

Climate change illustration

Buffalo, Erie County become Certified Climate Smart Communities

The City of Buffalo and Erie County are the newest municipalities in Western New York to be become Certified Climate Smart Communities. They were recognized for the steps they have taken in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience. The Climate Smart Community program provides guidance and technical support to local governments to take locally driven climate action. What Buffalo, Erie County accomplished Buffalo’s Green Code is an example of climate-smart land use. The city has installed electric vehicle…

two bees on a flower

Good news for bees, plus more from Master Gardeners

Due to the much publicized and well researched problems caused by neonicotinoids, the Environmental Protection Agency has banned 12 pesticides because of the harmful effect neonicotinoids have on bees, according to “Good News for Bees and the Environment” by Lyn Chimera. Unlike traditional pesticides, “neonics” are systemic, meaning that when taken up by the root system, the entire plant becomes toxic to insects. That article is one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by…

giant hogweed from NYS DEC

What to do if you spot giant hogweed in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko A reader from Eden contacted me last week because he had spotted giant hogweed and wanted to know how to report it. I’m so glad he remembered seeing information about giant hogweed previously on this site. This is a seriously dangerous plant. It can cause severe skin and eye irritation, including painful burns and permanent scarring. Getting even a tiny amount of the sap in your eyes can cause temporary or permanent blindness. See more here….

fly on daisy

Tips on gardening for pollinators

When we think of pollinators, we usually think of bees. But any animal that carries pollen from one plant to another as they collect nectar is a pollinator. This includes hummingbirds, bats, beetles and even flies. More than 75 percent of all flowering plants are pollinated by animals. Since this is National Pollinator Week, we’re sharing some gardening tips on how you can help pollinators. This information comes from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the…