April 2022 - News from the Wild Side
Food Systems and Ecosystems Unite for Earth Month
As we celebrate Earth Month, WFA continues to grow and catalyze our network of partners and farm stewards to adopt practices that cultivate biodiversity. We are welcoming a new staff member this month, releasing new resources for attracting nesting birds, and continuing our popular online course for ag professionals and farmers about the role of birds on the farm.
This newsletter outlines ways you can get involved in supporting healthy food systems and resilient ecosystems in the face of climate change and biodiversity declines. Utilize new resources, ongoing online courses, and past videos, publications and webinars to expand your knowledge of practices that can bring nature back to the farm. Take action by asking Congress to support climate-friendly farming and invest in critical programs and join us at our upcoming field day in June!
Thanks for being a part of the Wild Farm Alliance community. We hope you enjoy the newsletter!
Join Us in the Field in June
We are excited to invite you to our Farmland Flyways, Wildways and Waterways Field Day in June! After two years of showcasing farms and their practices to support biodiversity in a virtual setting, we are once again gathering in person at a farm. The event will feature several speakers including avian ecologists, conservation professionals, farmers, researchers and more!
Registration Now Open - June 2, 2022, Watsonville, CA
New Staff Member at WFA
This month, Wild Farm Alliance welcomes Ashley Chesser to the team as the Communications & Development Manager. Ashley is an avid gardener and advocate for creating healthy habitat on farms and in community spaces. She brings over ten years of previous nonprofit communications, development, and leadership experience to WFA. She worked most recently for the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides as a Co-Director and also has conservation corps experience and has volunteered on organic farms. Ashley is based in Eugene, Oregon.
New Resources for Attracting Beneficial Birds
Learn how to attract insectivorous birds for their pest control benefits by installing nest boxes or allowing birds to build nests on farm buildings. Our new video and handout outline the important basics to help you attract beneficial songbirds and in return get free pest control services.
Our video shows how to ensure nesting success by providing birds with what they need, where to place their nest boxes in different kinds of habitat depending on the species, and various ways to install them that include predator protection.
The handout has a useful, stand-alone table on What and Where Beneficial Songbirds Eat and Nest, describes ways to monitor and maintain nest boxes, and serves as an easy reference guide covering what you need to know about nesting structures on the farm.
Register for Lesson 4:
Online Course for Ag Professionals and Farmers about the Role of Birds on the Farm
In March, WFA launched an online course for agricultural professionals and farmers to learn how to support beneficial birds and manage pest birds on farms. The fourth course is coming up on April 27th and will feature Dr. Matthew Johnson of Humboldt State University and Breanna Martinico of UC Davis discussing the role of Barn Owls and other raptors in agricultural landscapes. Learn More and Register. And if you missed the first three sessions, you can watch the recordings on our resource page.
Take Action on Climate for Farmers!
Now is our chance to support climate-friendly farming by asking for investments in two critical programs: the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program and the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI). Join farmers and ranchers across the country in asking Congress to fully fund these programs! Can you make a quick call? The Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Ask to speak with their agriculture aide, and share a message (or leave a voicemail) like this:
I am a [farmer/rancher/concerned about the environment/friend of farmers, whoever you are!] in [YOUR TOWN/STATE]
I’m calling to ask [YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS] to increase funding for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) to $30 million and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program to $60 million, in the 2023 appropriations bill.
We are asking for $30 million in funding for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative to help more farmers get their animals onto pasture which has enormous benefits for the environment and helps make farmers more economically sustainable. This investment will complement full funding of $60 million for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, the only farmer-led agriculture research program, another critical tool in helping farmers address climate change.
[SHARE WHY YOU CARE ABOUT THIS PERSONALLY!]
No answer? Leave a voicemail! Many Congressional offices are staffed remotely right now. Thank you for taking action! Let us know how it goes!
As Drought Intensifies, a Return to Wild, Less Restricted Waterways Offers Solutions
Written by Greta Moran
Erica Gies’s new book, ‘Water Always Wins,’ documents the promise of slow, meandering water and calls for a radical departure from conquering and controlling water on the landscape. Gies argues that the under-tapped knowledge of water’s natural movements are key to repairing a planet plagued by both extreme drought and extreme flooding due to climate change. The book comes at a crucially important time, following the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which details how countries aren’t doing enough to adapt to climate change, especially its impacts on food and water.
Sometimes the birds and bees are about something more important than sex. Coffee.
Written by Warren Cornwall
You might be jumpstarting your brain with that first morning sip. But by the second cup of coffee, perhaps you’re ready to reflect on some of the forces that help make a tropical fruit into a $24 billion export crop connecting modest farms in places like Costa Rica with suburban U.S. kitchens. It turns out that both birds and bees can play important parts in ensuring a bountiful coffee harvest. And, like superheroes that team up, their combined power is greater than either one alone, scientists are learning. In other words, biodiversity can affect your latte. Read More.