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From the publisher: March-April 2021

Dear friends, 

Sometimes we pick an issue theme, and other times the issue theme picks us. For this one, we had planned something along the lines of “Your Backyard Oasis,” but when we started assigning stories, another topic kept popping up—that of creating a backyard habitat that makes a positive difference in our environment. 

Experts agree that not everything you plant needs to be native, but to support the insects so crucial to our ecosystem, you should at least have some. When I attended a webinar with Doug Tallamy (author, most recently, of Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard) last fall, he talked a lot about this—in fact, it was the only thing he talked about. 

Tallamy makes the argument that caterpillars (and hence moths and butterflies) are where it’s at, and then recommends “keystone” plants that are the most supportive of them. In other words, some natives are better than others. Happily, Mr. Tallamy has teamed up with the National Wildlife Federation to bring you an online native plant finder where you can “search by zip code to find plants that host the highest numbers of butterflies and moths to feed birds and other wildlife where you live.” You can access it at and get some help making your backyard a true oasis for many species. 

For reasons that I think need no explanation, our annual Odyssey to Ithaca, usually the first Saturday in June, has again been canceled. We will offer a similar plant-finding and -buying trip September 11, 2021. Stay tuned for details. 

Thanks, as always, for reading. 


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