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Just in time for Valentine’s Day we check out this oldie song by Jewel Akens. He sings, “Let me tell you bout The Birds and the Bees and the Flowers and the Trees and the moon up above… and a thing called love!”

The song, from a simpler time, goes on to suggest we “learn about the facts of life, starting from A to Z.” FoHVOS updates the message by providing activities and experts throughout February on the new facts of life about protecting the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees. They also look into the moon up above… and a thing called love.

The Birds

We are facing a bird emergency. In a study published by the journal Science last fall, scientists revealed a decline of more than one in four birds in the United States and Canada since 1970—3 billion birds gone.

FoHVOS shares how you can help with a Birding Workshop this Sunday at Calvary Baptist Church. Our experts will teach how families can participate in the worldwide Great Backyard Bird Count (birdcount.org), an online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. The project was launched over 20 years ago by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society and now boasts over 160,000 participants every February. After completing the workshop, participants can count at home or come out on February 16th to count with FoHVOS at the Thompson Preserve.

The Bees

According to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, “One of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators, especially bees, for a successful harvest.” Their importance can’t be overstated and for decades, global bee populations have declined due to biodiversity losses and habitat destruction. Further, pesticide use is a particular threat for honeybees and wild pollinators. If the die-off continues, it will have huge economic and public health consequences for people. 

In response to this crisis, FoHVOS is happy to announce a Community Conservation Bee Abode Project and partners have already stepped up! Local schools, churches, scout troops, and businesses are all joining together to help and you can too!

On February 15 from 2pm – 3:30pm at the Timberlane Middle School Art Room, FoHVOS will host a Bee Mine Family Workshop where families build and take home Bee abodes. The Wildflowers Inn will collect used straws to be repurposed as bee abodes, which also keeps the straws out of landfills and oceans.

In addition, throughout the month of March, FoHVOS will share an additional announcement about extensive partnerships to build bee hotels throughout Hopewell Valley.

The Flowers & The Trees

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, “As we develop our cities and towns, we replace forests and meadows with buildings and pavement. And now when it rains, the water (often called runoff or stormwater) runs off roofs and driveways into the street. Runoff picks up fertilizer, oil, pesticides, dirt, bacteria and other pollutants as it makes its way through storm drains and ditches – untreated – to our streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean. Polluted runoff is one of the greatest threats to clean water in the U.S.”

When we take action to soak up the rain, we keep rain closer to where it falls and reduce the runoff.  Reducing runoff can help prevent water pollution, reduce flooding, and protect our precious drinking water resources. When we soak up the rain, we also help beautify our neighborhoods and bring many other benefits to our communities. A great way to “Soak up the rain” is to plant a native plant garden.

As part of the FoHVOS Community Conservation program, we encourage residents to replace lawn with native plant garden. On Wednesday February 19, from 6:30 – 8pm a Native Plant Garden Design Workshop will be held at The Pennington School. Expert Judith Robinson of Our World, Our Choices will take you through ways to transform your property into a garden that is beautiful, supports our pollinators, provides habitat, and requires less maintenance by using perennial native flowers, bushes, ground covers, and trees.

 And The Moon Up Above

On leap day February 29th, from 5:30 – 7pm, FoHVOS will host a Sky Safari at their offices at BaldPate Mountain. Astronomer and astrophotographer Rex Parker, Director of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton will provide a tour of galaxies, planets, ghostly nebulae, spectacular globular clusters and jewel-box, open star clusters. If conditions permit you’ll use a state-of-the-art telescope and see the night sky like never before.

And A Thing Called Love

Show your love for a special person by planting a tree or wildflowers in their honor. When you do, they will be notified of your generous gift with a beautifully framed customized certificate wrapped with a tree of life charm and a hand-written card with your private message.

Native trees and wildflowers will be planted at local FoHVOS preserve and you can even join the planting day. For more information or to order, check out Tribute donations at Fohvos.org.

February FoHVOS Facts of Life Activities

For more information or to register, click on the activity listed here:

About the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS)

FoHVOS is an accredited nonprofit land trust dedicated to conserving the valley’s character through efforts to preserve land, protect natural resources, and inspire a new generation of conservation. Since our inception, we have preserved over 8,000 acres of land and inspired thousands of partners and volunteers. To learn more about FoHVOS, visit www.fohvos.org or call 609-730-1560.

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