Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Red sky at dusk over World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 29, 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of sunset over WPWP on April 29, 2009. The big storms missed Fayetteiville but we got some rain to help the wildflowers grow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Louisiana Tech professor to discuss the struggle for the solar future Saturday afternoon at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Brown thrashers at World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 27, 2009

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of brown thrashers on World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 27, 2009.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Squirrel and robin among denizens of World Peace Wetland Prairie during Earth Week 2009

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of squirrel feeding in maple tree on April 21, 2009, and view of robin on her nest in Callery pear tree on April 23, 2009, at World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Iris big stars this week at wpwp

Please click on images to Enlarge view of Lauren Hawkins and truly special iris on World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 25, 2009.

Blue-gray Gnat-catchers active at WPWP on April 23, 2009

Please click on images to ENLARGE and please hit comment button below and identify the Polioptila caerulea on World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 23, 2009. Several were spotted flitting about. Thanks to Joe Neal for identifying the bird.

South Dakota Birds and Birding
Devoted to birds, birding, and photography

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Polioptila caerulea
Length: 4.5 inches Wingspan: 6 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Blue-gray upperparts, white underparts, bold white eyering, white outer tail feathers
While still an uncommon sight in most of South Dakota, the range of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher has been steadily expanding throughout the 20th century. Very small birds normally found in woodlands, they can sometimes be difficult to observe as they flit about the tree tops.
Habitat: Varies by region, preferring deciduous forests in the East, pine forests with a deciduous understory in the South, and shrubby habitat in the West.
Diet: Feeds almost exclusively on insects and spiders.
Behavior: Extremely active, foraging actively among trees and shrubs in search of insects. Will take prey while perched, hovering, or by flycatching and catching insects in mid-air.
Nesting: May and June
Breeding Map: Breeding Bird Survey map
Song: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Song
Migration: Summers throughout much of the United States except for the Pacific Northwest and the northern tier of states. Winters in the extreme southern United States and southward.
Similar Species: Similar to the other Gnatcatchers, but these other species (Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, California Gnatcatcher, Black-capped Gnatcatcher) all have normal ranges well to the south of South Dakota and have never been seen in this state.
Status: They have expanded in numbers and in range in the 20th century, an expansion that probably is still continuing.
South Dakota "Hotspot": Most common in the extreme southeastern part of the state, I've had very good luck finding them at both Newton Hills State Park, and the Big Sioux Recreation Area.
Further Information: 1) Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Blue-gray Gnatcatcher"
3) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Photo Information: July 1st, 2006 - Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Blue-gray Gnatcatcher photos.

South Dakota Status: Uncommon summer breeder in the extreme southeastern part of the state. Casual breeder and visitor in the Black Hills.

Additional Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Photos

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 5 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 6 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 7 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 8

ALL PHOTOS COPYRIGHTED. Click below if you have interest in any of these photos for:
Commercial Use Fine Art Print Personal Usage


Please mail all comments/suggestions/gripes/complaints to: Terry L. Sohl
Click here for other references used to compile this page

Milkweed beginning to sprout on area prairies and in some gardens

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of milkweed sprouting from roots of last season's plants in a pot to move about when in bloom.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Volunteers tireless at World Peace Wetland Prairie's celebration of Earth Day

Please click on images to ENLARGE a couple of the volunteers who worked to the end Sunday during Earth Day on World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Please click on images to ENLARGE a couple of the volunteers who worked to the end Sunday during Earth Day on World Peace Wetland Prairie. Karen Takemoto pauses while trimming honeysuckle in the top photo and Dan Millican pauses while cutting limbs off a giant ice-storm downed hackberry tree on World Peace Wetland Prairie on Sunday. The hackberry is the one that was nicknamed the habitat tree back in 2002 or 2003 by the Fayetteville city tree-ordinance administrator and urban forester.

Flow area of wpwp accumulating silt from muddy flow from the north

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of silty water flowing across World Peace Wetland Prairie from adjacent development site.

Earth Day celebration today at World Peace Wetland Prairie first in five years with water on the area

The grass will be wet, the ground will feel spongy to the step and there will be spots where water is standing and the central flow area will have a flow today when you reach World Peace Wetland Prairie.
To enjoy the full experience, please wear waterproof boots or shoes you don't mind getting wet.
This is the first time in five years of Earth Day celebrations on WPWP that the seasonal wetland was truly wet. In past years, I had to point out the flow area to suggest people who wanted to plant flowers be sure they didn't put anything that wasn't tolerant of perpetually wet soil and even underground water on its roots in the flow area because it was dry on the surface.

Today, the main flow areas will be apparent.

The sad part is that the flow area has changed in the past couple of years and now has muddy, silt-laden water flowing instead of the absolutely clear water of the past.

Why is that the case?

The Aspen Ridge/Hill Place student-apartment project land was cleared in summer 2005 and silt fences were put up and a nearly complete change of soil on the land began. Silt fences never prevent siltation, they just sort of guide the runoff to the lowest spots and the water undercuts the silt fence and carries its nasty load of fill dirt downstream.

By the winter of 2006, enough impure runoff had entered WPWP to allow algae to bloom in the flow area and the situation has worsened in the past year as Hill Place work began. The result is that the vegetation in the flow area often appears muddy.

The rich black soil is the most significant aspect of WPWP. It makes the magic of wetland.
Siltation will decrease its ability to absorb and cleanse water. And it can fill the flow area and cause it to widen. OR, if the flow is increased by the storm drain routed to the northern edge of WPWP from Rochier Hill, it could wash out and deepen the flow area into a gully.

I hope a lot of interested people show up to see the changing dynamics of site.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Brown thrashers may be spotted at World Peace Wetland Prairie during Sunday's Earth Day celebration

Please click on image to Enlarge view of one of the many species of birds feeding and picking nesting sites on World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 17, 2009. The elusive brown thrasher is often able to slip into the thickets before a camera can capture its image. But the attraction of scattered brush piles and the excitement of mating season can make them a bit careless.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Buzzards rest on broken tree on World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 16, 2009

Please click on images to enlarge view of buzzards on World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 16, 2009.
When I spotted these two alighting only 30 feet off the ground, I had to check my own pulse to make sure I wasn't their intended lunch for the day.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Honeybees and all pollinators threatened by pesticides

Please click on images to ENLARGE view in top photo of honeybee on redbud and bumblebee in second photo on redbud in a chemical-free area around World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 8, 2009.

Honeybees in Danger
Sunday 12 April 2009
by: Evaggelos Vallianatos, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
When I was teaching at Humboldt State University in northern California 20 years ago, I invited a beekeeper to talk to my students. He said that each time he took his bees to southern California to pollinate other farmers' crops, he would lose a third of his bees to sprays. In 2009, the loss ranges all the way to 60 percent.
Honeybees have been in terrible straits.
A little history explains this tragedy.
For millennia, honeybees lived in symbiotic relationship with societies all over the world.
The Greeks loved them. In the eighth century BCE, the epic poet Hesiod considered them gifts of the gods to just farmers. And in the fourth century of our era, the Greek mathematician Pappos admired their hexagonal cells, crediting them with "geometrical forethought."\
However, industrialized agriculture is not friendly to honeybees.
In 1974, the US Environmental Protection Agency licensed the nerve gas parathion trapped into nylon bubbles the size of pollen particles.
What makes this microencapsulated formulation more dangerous to bees than the technical material is the very technology of the "time release" microcapsule.\
This acutely toxic insecticide, born of chemical warfare, would be on the surface of the flower for several days. The foraging bee, if alive after its visit to the beautiful white flowers of almonds, for example, laden with invisible spheres of asphyxiating gas, would be bringing back to its home pollen and nectar mixed with parathion.
It is possible that the nectar, which the bee makes into honey, and the pollen, might end up in some food store to be bought and eaten by human beings.
Beekeepers are well aware of what is happening to their bees, including the potential that their honey may not be fit for humans.
Moreover, many beekeepers do not throw away the honey, pollen and wax of colonies destroyed by encapsulated parathion or other poisons. They melt the wax for new combs: And they sell both honey and pollen to the public.
Government "regulators" know about this danger.
An academic expert, Carl Johansen, professor of entomology at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, called the microencapsulated methyl parathion "the most destructive bee poisoning insecticide ever developed."
In 1976, the US Department of Agriculture published a report by one of its former employees, S. E. McGregor, a honeybee expert who documented that about a third of what we eat benefits from honeybee pollination. This includes vegetables, oilseeds and domesticated animals eating bee-pollinated hay.
In 2007, the value of food dependent on honeybees was $15 billion in the United States.
McGregor also pointed out that insect-pollinated legumes collect nitrogen from the air, storing it in their roots and enriching the soil. In addition, insect pollination makes the crops more wholesome and abundant. He advised the farmer he should never forget that "no cultural practice will cause fruit or seed to set if its pollination is neglected."\
In addition, McGregor blamed the chemical industry for seducing the farmers to its potent toxins. He said:
"[P]esticides are like dope drugs. The more they are used the more powerful the next one must be to give satisfaction" and therein develops the spiraling effect, the pesticide treadmill. The chemical salesman, in pressuring the grower to use his product, practically assumes the role of the "dope pusher." Once the victim, the grower, is "hooked," he becomes a steady and an ever-increasing user.
No government agency listened to McGregor.
The result of America's pesticide treadmill is that now, in 2009, honeybees and other pollinators are moving towards extinction.
In October 2006, the US National Research Council warned of the" "demonstrably downward" trends in the populations of pollinators. For the first time since 1922, American farmers are renting imported bees for their crops. They are even buying bees from Australia.
Honeybees, the National Academies report said, pollinate more than 90 crops in America, but have declined by 30 percent in the last 20 years alone. The scientists who wrote the report expressed alarm at the precipitous decline of the pollinators. Unfortunately, this made no difference to EPA, which failed to ban the microencapsulated parathion that is so deadly to honeybees.
Bee experts know that insecticides cause brain damage to the bees, disorienting them, making it often impossible for them to find their way home.
This is a consequence of decades of agribusiness warfare against nature and, in time, honeybees. In addition, beekeepers truck billions of bees all over the country for pollination, depriving them of good food, stressing them enormously, and, very possibly, injuring their health.


Evaggelos Vallianatos, former EPA analyst, is the author of "This Land Is Their Land" and "The Passion of the Greeks.

Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association's green-infrastructure project report online

Green-infrastructure report from Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association project

Friday, April 10, 2009

Earth Day celebration on April 19, 2009, at World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on image to read clipping from The Morning News of April 7, 2009.

Please click on image to ENLARGE to read details of the poster.

Bird-watchers welcome every day from dawn to dusk!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ward One council members, residents of south Fayetteville to meet to discuss proposal to build student apartments on Washington County Sale Barn land

Town Branch Neighborhood Association meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday April 6, 2009

Ward One City Council members, members of the Town Branch neighborhood association and the public will hear a presentation from a developer seeking to rezone the Washington County Sale Barn property to allow construction of student apartments. Everyone is welcome to the meeting in the church at 1136 S Ellis Avenue south of the intersection of S. Hill Avenue and Eleventh Street at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 6.
For details, please call 479-444-6072 or visit

The construction phase of this proposed project would send silty runoff to both Tanglewood Branch and the main Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River because it sits on the ridge between the two. Current runoff from that sale-barn area actually is very minimal because of the vegetated pasture land protected there for a few cattle to graze on for only two days a week.

Earth Day at World Peace Wetland Prairie from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday April 19, 2009

Members of the Town Branch neighborhood association and the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology present the fifth-annual Earth Day celebration with activities for kids and adults. Wildflowers will be planted in the butterfly garden and peace-circle garden on the east portion of the city-owned nature park by children and adult volunteers. Ice-storm damaged limbs will be removed by those who wish to help. Volunteers may dig out fescue grass or remove Japanese honeysuckle that is suppressing native plants in parts of the western 2 acres.
Musicians and poets will be invited to play, sing or read in a pleasant outdoor setting.
Still on the Hill and Emily Kaitz are the headliners.
Several activities for youngsters will be provided by volunteers.
Parking is free from 1 to 5 p.m. at the the Hill Avenue Church of Christ south of the intersection of S. Hill Avenue and Eleventh Street, and street parking is legal in much of the neighborhood.
Everyone is welcome. For details, call 444-6072
or visit
World Peace Wetland Prairie is at 1121 South Duncan Avenue in Fayetteville, Arkansas.