The colorful flower seeds I so excitedly picked out from Renee’s Garden catalog arrived in the mail on Saturday. The box of 1,000 Jiffy peat pellets I ordered in a moment of winter madness arrives tomorrow. And, over the weekend, I frantically dug out the heat mats and light cart from the depths of my basement, so I’m all ready for seed-starting and for spring which, by the way, arrives in 14 days. What an optimist I am!Last Saturday, I spent a very interesting morning over at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge taking the first step toward my certification as a master naturalist.
And, just in case you are interested in doing the same, here is a little information on the course. The Quality Parks Master Naturalist Program is designed to develop a cadre of citizen conservation stewards who are dedicated to nature education and land stewardship, and who will serve as advocates of Long Island’s natural areas.
Through the organization’s wide-ranging nature education curriculum, master naturalists will gain the knowledge, tools and experience to care for the health and vitality of our island’s natural world, participating in projects that will help to improve business and environmental conditions by balancing social, economic and environmental concerns. For more information, visit www.qualityparks.org/home.
And, while I’m on an environmental theme, please add milkweed plants to your garden this year. Milkweeds, the host plants of monarch butterflies, are essential to their survival. Three good and easily available choices are butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).
Our monarch butterflies are truly in danger of disappearing and, according to the World Wildlife Fund, in 1996, monarchs covered approximately 44 acres in Mexico. Today, this beautiful butterfly covers slightly more than one acre. Visit Monarch Watch at www.monarchwatch.org and click on “Monarch Population Status” for a mind-blowing graph of how quickly their numbers are diminishing.
And getting back to one of the reasons I love writing this column! Congratulations go out to another one of our bright stars. Avalon Vanderslice made the dean’s list at Stevenson University in Maryland. She is the daughter of Chad and Kris Vanderslice of East Quogue. Way to go, Avalon!
Saturday, March 8: Zima! returns to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge at 3:30 p.m. A creation of the Neo-Political Cowgirls, an acclaimed professional acting and dance troupe from the East End, the show is a series of magical vignettes starring humans, sculptures and displays in the refuge’s forest. (Rain date is Sunday, March 9.) Call (631) 653-4771 for details.
Wednesday, March 12: The East Quogue Citizens Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. in the library of the East Quogue Elementary School on Central Avenue.
Saturday, March 15: The Quogue Library Film Feast features the 2012 documentary “Somm.” The feast begins at 6:30 p.m., and the film at 7:15 p.m. There is a $5 “out of district” fee. For information and reservations, call (631) 653-4224, or visit www.quoguelibrary.org.