I am writing this newsletter with a very heavy heart. The racial animus that has led to the deaths of and threats to too many Black lives is frightening, appalling, and maddening. Action is necessary right now. You can call or write to your elected officials to demand substantive and sustainable reforms. You can march with racial equity protestors. If you are a white person, please consider being an ally by putting your body next to or in front of a Black person when police are near. Listen to and hold space for Black voices to lead towards change.
If you are a person with children, talk with them about hope, violence, racism, and positive change. It is so important that we have these conversations to let children know that we love them, will protect them, and stand up for what is fair and just, while addressing our own biases and making sure that children learn anti-racist behaviors.
You can donate to local social and environmental justice organizations. Here are some recommendations:
GoFundMe for George Floyd‘s funeral and burial costs, and care for his children
GoFundMe for Ahmaud Arbery’s mother
Black Visions Collective – a Black, trans, and queer-led social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Black Lives Matter – whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities.
Please let us know other forms of action that you and your community are taking. One way we are participating in this racial justice struggle is spotlighting the work of Black birders, scientists, and naturalists through the #BlackBirdersWeek campaign this week. The campaign was founded by the members of BlackAFinSTEM. Please join this joyful campaign if you use social media. You might consider donating to Free Binoculars for Black Birders.
The 35-inch diameter American linden in the northwest wooded area of the park is dead. It has not leafed out this spring. Georgia thinks the tree died because the soil grade was raised within its critical root zone. You can read more about the death of this linden on Georgia’s personal blog.
The sycamores in the park are also stressed. The trees are likely affected by sycamore anthracnose (Apiognomonia veneta), a fungal disease that kills new leaves. A wet spring precipitates anthracnose. The disease is not typically fatal. Most trees will send out second growth in the summer.
In a spot of positive news, we are recording your bird stories for the Your Bird Story podcast. We are using the Zoom platform. If you would like to tell us about your interactions with birds this spring, or from any other time, please email us.
Are you looking for nature stories for the children in your life? Tune into our YouTube channel for weekly picture book read-alouds.
Finally, please reach out to us with any natural history questions about the park. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to answer them if we can.