LandHeath Institute September 2020
LandHealth Institute Newsletter, Vol. 6
Durham Cave
Photo: Taisia Osipova
LandHealth Native Plant Nursery
We are continuing to grow and sell from our nursery at 4862 Parkside Avenue. Please call (267) 275-5750 to make an appointment to browse or pick up, and visit us online to find plants in season and which native plants could be the right choice for you! Stay tuned for LandHealth participation in farmers' and other outdoor markets in Philadelphia, most recently in southwest Philadelphia (58th and Chester Streets) and in Germantown.
 Armillariella mellea mushrooms
Photo: Taisia Osipova
Philadelphia Watershed Stewardship (PWS) Program
We are in Month 4 of our Philadelphia Watershed Stewardship program! Since our August Newsletter, stewards had the opportunity to participate in a youth exchange with Riverways and learn about topics such as stormwater management. PWS is a unique field-based 'at the source' environmental learning and leadership experience for high school students in Philadelphia. Contact us at info@landhealthinstitute.org if you're interested in observing a session and/or if you are or know a high school student interested in participating.
Carabidae, Lebiinae Coptodera aerata
Photo: Taisia Osipova
LandHealth featured in Grid Magazine
Our PWS program was featured in Grid Magazine. Read about it here.
LandHealth's Native Plant Nursery
Photo: Steve Jones

Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) Photo: Steve Jones
jumpseed (Persicaria virginianaI)
Become a LandHealth Member- Launching Now!
We have finalized our membership program! It will be launching this month, with several exciting custom-designed membership tiers to choose from!
Hibiscus seeds
Photo: Steve Jones
LandHealth’s Native Plant Nursery and land revitalization
by Steve Jones, Nursery Manager

When we started LandHealth’s native plant nursery a few years ago, our main goal was to bring “life” to the urban land had been stressed by human activity. Some of that new life has been in the form of people, including the adults from SpARC’s day program from for people with intellectual disabilities, who enjoy the sounds, smells, and sights of urban nature at our nursery as they help us maintain our native plants.
Another way we bring life back to the urban land is through the decisions we make about our operations. Our nursery site in Parkside, West Philadelphia sits gently on the urban land we are in the process of revitalizing. Some of the land is kept open as program space for visitors. The open areas are maintained with low-impact practices. We don’t introduce plants to our open areas that need a lot of care in the form of added water, pesticides, or fertilizer. Grasses and most other plants that “volunteer” for our site are allowed to grow in the open areas, and are cut regularly with power tools, but not removed.  The organic material from these cuttings is allowed to return to the ground, where it can add more organic components to the new soil we are producing on the land.
We are also allowing some of our open space to revert to urban meadow, with tall clump-forming grasses providing most of the green for this area. This year we are selectively removing aggressive weeds, and replacing them with showy native plants from our nursery operation. Next year we will have a colorful urban meadow that is very low maintenance, provides habitat for beneficial wildlife, and allows us to show off the beauty of landscaping with native plants.
Our nursery operations are also mindful of limiting our use of resources like water and fossil fuels. We have solar panels to generate the small amount of electricity for the site. Our watering regime focuses on directing water to the soil in which the plants grow, rather than spraying water into the air, where much of it is lost to evaporation. Direct watering is also beneficial to the plants, which are less prone to diseases when their leaves are kept drier.
The selection of native plants, rather than plants that evolved in other habitats, is itself part of land revitalization, not just on our site, but wherever our plants are used in the Philadelphia region. Native plants do need special care while they are growing in containers in our nursery, but are much less prone to problems from pests such as insects and disease organisms.  When we do encounter problems, we look for ways to control or limit pests that do not rely on chemical pesticides. This year we are learning to use beneficial insect predators such as lady bugs and nematode worms to control the bugs that impact our plants. By reducing the population of problematic insects through weeding, we allow natural processes to help out with our pest problems.
We believe our work with the urban/natural land in Parkside is benefitting, at least in a small way, our neighbors, program participants, and all the organisms that make human life possible in an urban setting.
Planned Events (TBD, according to City Guidelines)

SEPTEMBER
September 26th, 2020 - Philly Fall Nature Fest with John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Is there life floating in the clouds of Venus?

It's an extraordinary possibility - the idea that living organisms are floating in the clouds of Planet Venus. here.
Weekly Podcast

Don't forget to check out our weekly podcast!
Thursday, September 24
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Organization Spotlight: Riverbend Environmental Education Center
Riverbend delivers STEM programs that utilize nature as the foundation of learning. When nature-based curriculum is used, students are 3x more likely to find the material interesting and create lasting memories. Find out more here.
COVID-19 and the Environment

The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis that affects everyone. Various articles have been published in the past weeks on the environmental causes and the environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This page aims at listing relevant information, research, data and/or press releases issued by our partners in Geneva and other institutions around the world. Read more here.