Saturday, November 4, 2017

Leaves are Not Litter

This weekend is one hour longer for most of us, for today marks the end of Daylight Savings Time for Americans living in all but the states of Arizona and Hawaii.

But just because your weekend is one hour longer, that doesn’t mean you have to spend it raking leaves. Thanks to the CT DEEP Wildlife Highlights for November, I learned of the Xerces Society’s LEAVES ARE NOT LITTER campaign.

The Xerces Society is “an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats.” The group takes its name “from the now extinct Xerces Blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces), the first butterfly known to go extinct in North America as a result of human activities.”  

The Society urges you to leave your fall leaves on the ground because the butterflies need leaf litter to survive. Monarchs migrate, but the vast majority of butterflies do not; they overwinter in the landscape and rely on leaf litter for protection. So do bumblebees, spiders, millipedes, mites… You get the idea. As the Xerces site says, “It’s easy to see how important leaves really are to sustaining the natural web of life.”

Looking ahead, the Xerces Society warns, “Don’t spring into garden cleanup too soon.” This page offers easy to remember guidelines for when it is really safe to reach for the rake and also when to start planting.

If you want to stay up to date on what’s happening with the wildlife in Connecticut, click here to read the latest issue of Wildlife Highlights and join the subscription list.

Now, relax a bit and enjoy your weekend.