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Project 10:

Homegrown National Parks

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Episode 32: We Can Make a Difference: Homegrown National Parks

Links mentioned in the podcast:

 

Dr. Tallamy's web site:

Homegrown National Park
https://homegrownnationalpark.com/

National Wildlife Federation Native Plant Finder Tool
https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/

Indiana Native Plant Society
https://indiananativeplants.org/
(and this page has a link to the ‘Roadmap for Conservation in Zionsville’ https://indiananativeplants.org/landscaping/dealing-with-weed-ordinances-covenants/)

Indiana Wildlife Federation
https://www.indianawildlife.org/

This fall I took a break from producing a weekly episode of the Horses for Future podcast.  In early October my area got a taste of the effects that climate change can create.  We had an intense wind storm that took trees down all over the area.  The power was out for three days - which was really unusual in my community.  One of the giant spruce trees in my back garden came crashing down on my house.  It was a magnificent hundred year old 80 foot spruce, but it had had enough.  It sat down on my roof, creating a giant hole not only in the roof but also in the rooms below.

I have to say my insurance company came through magnificently and my tree did me a huge favor.  I now have a brand new roof on the house.   But there’s still a lot of work to be done inside.  The contractors did the major repairs to patch up the holes in the ceiling, but I’m doing the rest.  I’ve been living in a construction zone for the past couple of months.  Something had to give while I put my house back together again.  That something was this podcast.  

It’s certainly been one of those “don’t take score too soon” situations.  The night of the storm I was helping a friend with her colicing horse.  I didn’t get home until the afternoon of the following day.  As I walked through the living room, I kept wondering what is all this debris on the floor? That’s when I saw the tree stabbing through the ceiling.  

Don’t take score too soon.  My house is better for the restoration that has occurred, and it has given me time to think about the direction that I want to head with the Horses for Future podcast.   

I’ve been learning so much about what each of can do to help in the climate change crisis.  I’ve learned about micoryhhzal fungi and their role in sequestering carbon. I’ve shared with you Jane Myers equicentral system for pasture management, and Carol Hughes equibiome project.  I’ve cast a wide net.  We’ve journeyed with Manda Scott into political realms and we’ve looked at behavioral science with Joe Layng and Susan Schneider.  We’ve even climbed up into the trees with Kate Jackson to explore forest schools.  

Every one of these topics is a rabbit hole that is well worth going down.  But the project that has most caught my attention, in part because it is so hopeful, is the work of Dr. Doug Tallamy.  

So that’s what I am going to be exploring.  I have invited Coralie Palmer to be my guide as I learn more about Dr. Tallamy’s work and how we can all become part of this conservation project to create a network of homegrown national parks.

This week’s episode will introduce his work.  We’ll be explaining his concept of homegrown national parks, and the contribution we can all make towards preserving the species diversity that is so critical to the maintenance of healthy ecosystems.

You can listen to the podcast at sequester carbon.com or subscribe to the Horses for Future podcast through your podcast provider.

I hope you’ll take the time to listen to the podcast and to share it with others through your social network.  This is something we can all participate in and it will make a difference in the climate change crisis.  In this year that has been marked so by the virus it is good to find something hopeful to work towards.

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One of the most hopeful approaches to addressing the loss of species diversity that is part of the climate change crisis comes from the work of Dr. Doug Tallamy. In last week’s episode I invited Coralie Palmer to help me introduce his conservation initiative - homegrown national parks.  This was the start of an on-going series for the Horses for Future Podcast.  

 

Last week we presented an overview of Dr. Tallamy’s work.  Now in this episode we’ll be going into the details.  We’ll begin with one of his key elements - shrinking the lawn.  Why a smaller lawn?  What is wrong with having an expanse of green grass surrounding your house?  That’s the first question.  Then once you’ve decided to shrink your lawn, what does that look like, and how do you go about doing it?  

 

You can’t take something away without putting something else in its place.  So what will we be planting as we shrink the lawn? Those are some of the questions we’ll be considering beginning with this series.

 

You can listen to the podcast at sequester carbon.com or subscribe to it via your podcast provider. And do please share these podcasts with others.  This is something we  can do that really will make a difference.   

 

The idea is a simple one.  Plant more native species.  It’s one thing to say yes, that makes sense, and another to actually do it.  Dr Tallamy has created a grassroots call to action to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants. His initiative is the largest cooperative conservation project ever conceived or attempted.  The goal is 20 million acres of native plantings in the U.S.

 

Dr Tallamy’s goal sounds impossible - half the green lawns given back to native plantings.  But I know from training that you never begin with your goal.  Instead you work towards it step by step in small approximations.  My small patch of land becomes a haven of biodiversity.  It inspires my neighbor first to avoid mowing down the milkweeds to encourage monarch butterflies, and then bit by bit to make more changes that allow more native species to thrive.  Our patches join up, wildlife corridors expand.  Individually, collectively we begin to make a difference. 

 

So share the podcasts with your friends. Horse people can make a significant contribution to the homegrown national park initiative.

Want to dive in deeper - here are some links

•    The North American Native Plant Society has a wonderful page with links to native plant societies in most states in the USA, plus Canada.  http://nanps.org/native-plant-societies/


    •     The Indiana Native Plant Society (INPS) & Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF) are working together to provide accessible, comprehensive information to enable people to successfully incorporate native plants into a wide variety of urban, suburban and rural landscapes, bridging the disconnect between gardening, landscaping and ecology.  There is great information currently on the website, and more being added all the time.  A digital education series with short videos guiding through the steps of why and how to use native plants in landscaping, including exploring designing with natives with a team of landscape designers and ecologists,  is currently in production and will be online very soon! While much of the species information might be specific to the Midwest, a lot of the resources and advice are applicable anywhere!  https://indiananativeplants.org/


    •    The National Wildlife Federation plant finder tool. https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/ - enables you to search by zip code to find native plants that host the highest number of butterflies and moths.


    •    The Xerces Society provide excellent information on planting for pollinators, with regional, pollinator friendly native plant lists . https://xerces.org/pollinator-conservation/pollinator-friendly-plant-lists


    •    The Pollinator Partnership provide good ecoregional pollinator planting guides  https://www.pollinator.org/PDFs/Guides/EBFContinentalrx13FINAL.pdf

 

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Episode 34: Keystone Species

Our discussion of homegrown national parks continues.  This time we look at another core element of Dr. Tallamy’s work - keystone species.  It turns out that not all native plants have an equal impact on restoring biodiversity.  There are certain general of plants that support many more ecological functions in a community. 

 

It’s a bit like that one person in your neighborhood who serves on the local PTA, turns up for all the town meetings, is always there to look after an ailing neighbor, and finds your cat when he goes missing.   These plants support many more species of insects that produce those all important caterpillars which the birds depend upon to raise their young.

So this week Coralie Palmer introduces us to the five top genera of trees that Dr Tallamy considers to be keystone species.

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Episode 35: Homegrown National Parks Continued: Invasive Plants

Our discussion of homegrown national parks continues.  This refers to the work of Dr Doug Tallamy.  He has launched in his words “a grassroots call to action to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.”  

Dr Tallamy isn’t looking at public lands.  Instead he is calling on private land owners to join what he calls “the largest cooperative conservation project ever conceived or attempted.  The goal is 20 million acres of native plantings in the U.S.”

Sound impossible?  What I’ve learned from the horses is major change begins with small foundation steps.  So what are the land management steps we could all be taking?  That’s what we’ve been looking at in this current series.

I am joined in this discussion by Coralie Palmer. Coralie is a director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation, and she’s on the council of the Indiana Native Plant Society.  So far we have talked about several key elements that are needed to create what Dr Tallamy refers to as homegrown national parks - shrinking the lawn and planting natives, especially the keystone species.  Now we turn our attention to the other side of the coin - removing invasives.

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Horses for Future: Episode 36: Homegrown National Parks - Ecosystem Function

Our discussion of homegrown national parks continues.  So far we have talked about several key elements that are needed to create what Dr Tallamy refers to as homegrown national parks - shrinking the lawn, planting natives, especially the keystone species, and controlling invasives.  

In this episode we’ll learn about neonicotinoids.  Buying seeds and plants is not as simple as you might think.  
We also discuss the merging of landscape design and ecology.  When you add plants to your garden there is so much more to consider than simply the appearance and size of an individual plant.  Now we are considering plant communities and ecosystem services. 

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Episode 37: Julia Field Pt 1: Restoring Native Plants to a Dry Climate

 

If you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know I’ve been looking at the work of Dr Doug Tallamy.  Dr Tallamy is an entomologist who has become alarmed at the loss of biodiversity.  He’s launched in his words “a grassroots call to action to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.”  

Dr Tallamy isn’t looking at public lands.  Instead he is calling on private land owners to join what he calls “the largest cooperative conservation project ever conceived or attempted.  The goal is 20 million acres of native plantings in the U.S.”

Sound impossible?  What I’ve learned from the horses is major change begins with small foundation steps.  So what are the land management steps we could all be taking?  That’s what I want to explore.  In the coming weeks I’m going to visit with friends from around the planet who are making changes to the land under their care.  Dr Tallamy is the expert.  You can go to homegrownnationalparks.com to learn more about his work.

In these podcasts I want to share ways in which people are implementing the kinds of changes he is advocating.  Our first stop is truly a trip around the planet.  We’re headed to Australia.

You’re about to meet Julia Fields.  Julia lives near Adelaide on the southern coast of Australia.  The climate is characterized by hot, very dry summers.  It’s a very different environment from the one in which I live.  

Julia has been on her property for about fourteen years.  She has had to learn how to deal with high winds, an arid climate, and invasive plant species.  She is now well on her way to restoring native plants and animals to her land.  A teacher is someone who started before you.  I have always loved that definition.  Julia has a lot to teach us about restoring native plants in a Mediterranean type climate zone.

Enjoy!

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Episode 38: Julia Field Pt 2: Hopping Lessons for a Kangaroo

 

In recent episodes I’ve been looking at the work of Dr Doug Tallamy.  Dr Tallamy is an entomologist who has become alarmed at the loss of biodiversity due to climate change and habitat loss.  He’s launched in his words “a grassroots call to action to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.”  

In these podcasts I want to share ways in which people are implementing the kinds of changes he is advocating.  In the previous episode I began a conversation with Julia Field.  Julia lives near Adelaide on the southern coast of Australia.  She’s in a dry climate so water management is a high priority.  Julia has been on her property for about fourteen years.  She is well on her way towards restoring native plants to her land. At the end of the previous episode Julia was just beginning to describe the animals that have moved back to her property now that she has created wildlife corridors for them.  We begin with a conversation about koala bears and hopping lessons for a young kangaroo.  

Julia also talks about dealing with invasive plants, including some that are toxic for horses, water management in a dry climate, Jane Myers equicentral system, and wicking beds in place of conventional vegetable gardens.  She provides lots of ideas and inspiration for anyone managing land in an arid climate.

Enjoy!

Episode 39: Amanda Martin: A Scottish Project

If you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know I’ve been visiting with people who are the process of transforming the property they own.  I want to see what others are doing to restore biodiversity and ecological function.  Some of the people I visit have been at this for years.  Their experience becomes a valuable resource for all of us.  Others are newer to the process.  Their questions can sometimes be just as valuable as the information the more experienced landowners provide.

In the previous episode I was visiting with Julia Field in Australia.  Julia lives in a dry climate where water conservation is a must.  In this episode we are zipping around the planet to a very different climate.  I’m visiting with Amanda Martin.  Amanda lives in Scotland, not far from Glasgow.  Even in normal times Scotland is a wet climate, but the past year Amanda shared with me the rains never seemed to stop.  There was barely a day when she wasn’t soaked to the bone taking care of her horses.  Her pastures are bogged down with too much water.  We’ve had years like that here.  You wonder how anyone is going to manage to make hay.  Fields that would normally be dry enough to cut in June or July are still wet enough to bog down a tractor in August.

Amanda has owned her property for three years, so she is just in the beginning stages of transforming her very windy, very wet fields into manageable pastures.  Our conversation highlights the importance of research and networking.  

In training our horses always tell us what they need to work on next.  The same thing holds true for land.  Amanda has been letting the land tell her what it needs.  Amanda has been taking her time, letting her land tell her what needs to be done to create a viable horse farm, a working business, a beautiful landscape, and a wildlife sanctuary.  Good management lets you have all of this and more.  With good care of the land, horse people can make a difference.  Together we are learning how.

Horses for Future: Episode 40: Jane Jackson Pt. 1: Vermont Grazing - Yes Horses Can Eat Grass!

In my tour round the world to learn about what others are doing with their land I especially wanted to visit with Jane Jackson.  Jane lives in northern Vermont.  She has six horses, including an off the track thoroughbred and an elderly insulin resistant pony.  Jane’s horses all go out together on grass.  None of them (I’m knocking on wood while I write this) are laminitic.  None of her horses have to wear a grazing muzzle. That includes her elderly pony.  They all get to eat grass!  They all get to enjoy being horses out in a herd.  

That may not sound all that remarkable.  Horses are, after all, grass eaters.  But if you have an insulin resistant horse, you may be working hard to keep your horse from having ANY grass.  Not only does Jane have a rotational grazing system for her pastures that gives her an abundance of grass, she can let her horses enjoy eating it.

And she has song birds.  More song birds than when she and her husband moved to the property eight years ago.  Healthy grass, more biodiversity - clearly I wanted to find out from Jane what she has been doing.

This is part 1 of an afternoon’s conversation.  We’re joined by Coralie Palmer who has been introducing us to the work of Dr. Doug Tallamy.

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Horses for Future: Episode 41: Jane Jackson Pt. 2: Dung Beetles and Teaching Horses to "Eat Their Veggies"

This is part two of a conversation with Jane Jackson.  Among other things we talk about dung beetle, teaching your horses to eat weeds, biodiversity, and fencing choices that aid in rotating your pastures.

Horses for Future: Episode 42: Jane Jackson Pt. 3: Silvopasture.

In this final installment of my conversation with Jane Jackson, Jane starts us out by talking about silvopasture. 



 

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Horses for Future Episode 43: Sarah Owings Pt 1: What To Do About Foxtails and Other Questions

This week I zoomed off to Northern California for a visit with Sarah Owings. Sarah is a dog trainer.  She’s a member of the Clicker Expo faculty and she’s an eager learner. 

 

Over the years Sarah and I have had many great conversations about training.  Now we get to talk about how best to manage our land.  Sarah is very much in a fire zone so any planting decisions she makes has to take that into consideration.  She may be dealing with a very different climate from mine, but I still learned a lot that will help my spring planning during our conversation.


Many of you listening to this podcast bought your land to give your horses more freedom.  Sarah bought her fifteen acres to give her dogs more freedom.  She bought her property in 2020 so she is just beginning to figure out what she wants to do with it. 

 

That’s a great time to check in to see what her beginning steps have been.  Often when you take on a new property, it can be overwhelming.  Where do you begin?  Sarah is great at doing her homework.  Recently that homework has included incorporating the work of Dr. Doug Tallamy and his Homegrown national park conservation initiative.

Horses for Future Episode 44: Sarah Owings Pt 2: Do No Harm

In 2020 Sarah Owings bought fifteen acres in northern California. She's now learning from the land how best to take care of it.  She has to deal with invasives such as foxtails. She wants to plant natives but always there are possible unintended consequences.   

There is a lot to be learned from someone who is a skilled learner.  Sarah is good at asking questions.  What do we need to consider?  What can seem like a good idea may end up having more of an environmental cost that benefit.  Sarah helps to form the questions we all need to be considering.

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Episode 45: Manda Scott: Imagining the Future

Recently I’ve been visiting around the planet to see what some of my friends have been doing with their land.  

When I began my world tour of what horse people are doing to restore biodiversity and ecosystem functionality to their land, I knew I wanted to visit with Manda Scott. Manda is a vet, an author, a shamanic teacher, a climate crisis activist, a podcast host, a horse owner, and a frequent contributor to this podcast.  It had been a while since we had talked.  So we finally picked a date and settled in for a long catch up.  The first hour was gone before we knew it.  That’s because we were talking about horses.  

Manda has a couple of young ponies who are presenting yearling horse training puzzles so we talked training for an hour.  But this podcast is not about horse training so I am going to jump past that part of our conversation.  For those of you who follow me when I am wearing my horse trainer’s hat, I can hear the protests.  “No, don’t skip that part.  We want to hear everything!”

But I am going to resist.  Instead I’m going to jump into the middle where we began to steer the ship in the direction of climate change and land stewardship.  We began by discussing Bill Gates book: “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”.

Below are some links to resources Manda talked about:

Books:
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster  Bill Gates
The Ministry for the Future  Kim Stanley Robinson
Evolutionary Herbalism.   Sajah Popham

Other:
Accidental Gods: Manda Scott’s Podcast    https://accidentalgods.life/
Ridan composter.   https://www.ridan.co.uk/
Johnson Su Bio Reactor. https://fifthseasongardening.com/how-to-build-a-johnson-su-bioreactor
Air heat source pumps.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_source_heat_pump
Braver Angels  https://braverangels.org/
Social Dilemma - Netflix program     https://www.netflix.com/title/81254224


 

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Episode 46: Navona Gallegos Pt 1 Soil Versus Dirt

This week I’m visiting with Navona Gallegos.  Navona is a rider, an ecologist, and a farmer.  She is passionate about soil - not dirt.  We’ll discuss the difference in the podcast.  She lives in New Mexico, so she’s in a very beautiful landscape but one that is completely different from what I am used to.  So I was really looking forward to learning how she manages horses in a climate that is so very different from my own.  

We began not with the soil but with horses.  Navona grew up on a ranch so part of her childhood experience was riding out on the range.  But she also fell in love with jumping.  She competed in Europe so talk about contrast - ranch raised horse to show horses whose turnout is tiny paddock.  That’s the starting point of a conversation that takes us from the high pressure world of show jumping to the  role our horses play in connecting us back to the land.

Episode 47: Navona Gallegos Pt 2: What Tilling Does to Soil

This is Part 2 of my conversation with Navona Gallegos.  We begin this episode with a discussion of what happens in the soil when the farmers in my area till their fields in preparation for planting this year’s corn crop.  I’m not a farmer.  I’m not trying to teach farmers how to farm.  That would be like someone who has never ridden telling me how I should ride a horse.  But there are things I can learn from this discussion that I will help me with the decisions I make for the land I care for.  I hope it does the same for you.


Episode 48: Navona Gallegos Pt 3: Compost

This is part 3 of my conversation with Navona Gallegos.  We are talking about compost.  Unless you keep your horses out on pasture 24/7 12 months out of the year, you have a manure pile.  So what can you do with all that manure to help build up beautiful, organic rich soil?  

That’s what we’ll be talking about as we explore the Johnson-Su Bioreactor, O2 composters and some composting do’s and don’t’s.

https://soundcloud.com/user-798671983/episode-48-navona-gallegos-pt-3-compost


Links for composting systems:

Johnson Su Bioreactor

https://www.csuchico.edu/regenerativeagriculture/bioreactor/index.shtml

https://regenerationinternational.org/bioreactor/


O2 Composter

https://www.o2compost.com/




 

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Episode 49: Swallows


It’s been a summer filled with swallows for me. It’s also been a summer in which I experienced my own climate change disaster. 

To see pictures of the swallows and to read the text of the podcast visit:

https://theclickercenterblog.com/2021/09/02/

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Episode 50: Marla Foreman Pt 1: From Open Range Land To Postage Stamp Paddocks: Managing Healthy Pastures

Marla Foreman is a veterinarian, a horse trainer and a riding instructor.  She’s also a good friend so it was fun for us to get together for a Horses for Future podcast.   I particularly wanted to interview Marla because she grew up on a ranch in New Mexico.  From there she moved to Washington state, but not to the temperate coastal area.  She lived on the other side of the state where rain was scarce and the amount of land she had was a mere postage stamp compared to the acreage she grew up on in New Mexico.  And now she’s living on the east coast near Boston.  

So she’s learned how to manage horses in very different climates and that’s what I wanted to ask her about - that and the O2 composter she had in Washington state.  It turns out it doesn’t matter where you are living - the concepts that guide your decisions around pasture management and horse care are the same no matter how much or how little rain you get, or how many acres you have.

We begin in New Mexico and travel with Marla through years of experience managing horses.  Included in the conversation is a discussion of O2 composters.

To learn more about Marla and her training visit: https://foremanequestrian.com



 

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Episode 51: Marla Foreman Pt 2: Smart Design

This is part 2 of my conversation with Marla Foreman.  Marla Foreman is a veterinarian, a horse trainer and a riding instructor.  She’s also a good friend so it was fun for us to get together for a Horses for Future podcast.   I particularly wanted to interview Marla because she grew up on a ranch in New Mexico.  From there she moved to Washington state, but not to the temperate coastal area.  She lived on the other side of the state where rain was scarce and the amount of land she had was a mere postage stamp compared to the acreage she grew up on in New Mexico.  And now she’s living on the east coast near Boston.  

So she’s learned how to manage horses in very different climates, and very different acreage.  What she has learned is smart design.  The goal is healthy horses and healthy pastures.  Growing up in New Mexico she saw how well horses maintained themselves when they could move.  How to you encourage movement on smaller acreage? And how do you design your farm so you are spending your time enjoying your horses and not just doing chores?  The answer is smart design.  Hopefully, you’ll get some ideas for your own farm so you can meet everyone’s needs well - yours, the horses, and the land you care for.

Horse people can make a difference in the climate change crisis.  Together we’re learning how.