The Shawnee News-Star Weekender April 20th 2019 Becky Emerson Carlberg The roadrunner showed up this morning with a large plump caterpillar clamped tightly in the tips of its bill. The first hint the bird was here came in the form of rapid pecking of the glass storm door at the side of the house. I […]

The Shawnee News-Star Weekender April 20th 2019

The symbolic Dogwood at Easter

Becky Emerson Carlberg

The roadrunner showed up this morning with a large plumpcaterpillar clamped tightly in the tips of its bill. The first hint the bird was here came in theform of rapid pecking of the glass storm door at the side of the house. I watched the bird swish its tail back andforth like an irate cat. It then jumpedoff the step and ran around to the front glass door. Here it not only pecked and smeared thecaterpillar on the glass but purred while vigorously swinging its tail. Sammy cat was not amused. He hopped out of his warm bed and rounded thecorner to look at the roadrunner. All Isaw was a flurry of feathers and the bird was gone. Satisfied, Sammy returned to his chair.

The Oklahoma Master Naturalists hosted their third workshop this year on urban and wildlife ecology. Another cold day with driving rain. Mark Bays, Urban Forestry Coordinator of the OK Dept of Agriculture Forest Services visited Italy earlier this year. In many European countries, pollarding is done to keep trees to a set height. All the upper branches are removed. The tree responds by producing dense branches and heavy foliage. Originally pollarding was done to provide food for animals and wood for fuel. Many deciduous broadleaf trees can become pollards, but not most conifers due to their growth pattern. Trees develop thick trunks and tend to live longer, but require consistent maintenance.

Pollard trees behind the Christmas tree in Salzburg

Oklahoma has 176 plant communities (areas where groups ofcompatible plants grow together). Thecommunities form 13 Ecoregions across a state ranging from 300 feet to 4900feet in elevation. Twenty-six species of oak live in Oklahoma. A 20-foot-tall tree could well be 400 yearsold! Oldest Oklahoma redcedar is over600 years. 'Trees are necessities, not niceties.'

The afternoon brought thunder storms and Wildlife DiversitySpecialist Mark Howery. The biologistworks with the Dept. of Wildlife Conservation.He presented directions on construction of birdhouses and nest shelves,landscaping ideas for wildlife, ecological frameworks and a summary of thewildlife in Oklahoma. Mammal speciesnumber 106, birds (379), reptiles (82), fish (167), amphibians (53) and thousandsof invertebrates which include freshwater mussels and crustaceans. Several speciesare of concern, protected, threatened or have been eliminated in Oklahoma.

Two things to remember.(1) Native wildflowers produce nectar and seeds which grow insects thatfeed wildlife. (2) Rinse out hummingbirdfeeders with vinegar. Vinegar is a goodcleanser.

The culmination of the Easter season is tomorrow, a veryimportant time for those of Christian faith.Always on a Sunday, Easter is based on the phases of the moon and thearrival of spring with the renewal of life in nature. Both the name Easter and its bunny courierstem from the pagan festival of Eostre, the northern goddess symbolized by therabbit or hare.

Hot cross buns are a tasty and traditional way to enjoy the Easter season. In the United Kingdom, Simnel cake is served. This light version of fruitcake has a layer of marzipan in the middle and another on the top. The Victorian tradition was to add 12 marzipan balls to represent the apostles.

Bunnies and eggs

When my family lived in England, our neighbor Beryl hauntedour village pond before Easter to collect duck eggs. She swore duck eggs made her Simnel cake thebest. The egg is a symbol of newlife. So, early Easter morning, decoratedeggs are carried or hidden by the Easter Bunny.Bunnies are rather good at making many more bunnies. It's all quite logical.

Easter Monday is Earth Day.Actually, every day should be Earth Day.After all, if it weren't for Mother Earth, we would not be here. The goal for Earth Day 2019 is to 'Protectour Species.' In 1962 Rachel Carson said'In nature, nothing exists alone.' Allthings have intrinsic value and each plays a part in the web of life. All of usacross the world need to work together"consumers, parents, kids, voters,politicians, teachers, whoever"to help, care and restore nature. Too many plants and animals are losing thebattle and we are the enemy.

Margaret Mead, American Anthropologist, supported havingEarth Day on the Equinox in March, first day of spring. John McConnell, designer of the Earth Flag,peace activist and creator of Earth Day also preferred the Equinox. Former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson,another founder of Earth Day, is responsible for setting the day on the 22ndof April since it fell between spring break and college exams. Nelson was a champion for environmental'Teach-Ins'.

This Earth Day, make it your goal to perform an act ofkindness for the earth. Collect trashalong the road, conserve your water, reduce your waste or plant a tree because ArborDay is April 26th.

The first Arbor Day in the world was celebrated in the smallSpanish village of Villanueva de la Sierra in 1805. Spearheaded by the priest, the entire town turnedout. Arbor Day here in the US wasfounded in 1872 by Julius Sterling Morton.That day, over one million trees were planted in Nebraska.

First signed into effect by President Nixon in 1970, thelast Friday in April is always National Arbor Day. Individual states have different days orweeks. In Oklahoma, it comes the lastweek in March.

The Arbor Day Foundation was founded in 1972, a non-profitorganization supported by corporate sponsors, donations and tree sales. Located in Nebraska City, Nebraska, theirmission is to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. Arbor Day Foundation is a sponsor for theTree City USA program, involved in replanting damaged areas in the nation'sforests and the Rain Forest rescue.

Shawnee was designated Tree City USA in March of 2014. Twenty-onecities and two air force bases are certified Oklahoma Tree Cities. OklahomaBaptist University (OBU) has for two consecutive years earned Tree Campusrecognition. OBU joins eight otherOklahoma campuses.

Time to look at your trees and note any damage from storms or disease. Check out local plant nurseries for trees. Walk around your neighborhood and public areas. Consider where trees would be a welcome addition. Go native!

Support the Earth

This Arbor Day, join with the Tree City campuses and communities,the Arbor Day Foundation and others across the earth. Plant a tree.Heck, plant several trees. Protectour species.

Easter, Earth Day and Arbor Day. What a week to be mindful. Be kind to each other and the Earth.