7-17-2015 1-00-09 PMEvery week, KALB and our Recycling Center receive phone calls asking how to dispose of leftover paint. Because this is a continuing problem, we are sharing the following information with our readers again.

Some Paint is Hazardous…Some is Not

If any of the following conditions exist, your paint is hazardous and cannot be placed in your trash under any conditions. It must be disposed of at a proper household hazardous waste collection:
• the paint is oil based
• the paint is listed as mildew resistant or a preservative
• the paint is more than 20 years old (it may contain lead)

Many people are surprised to learn that latex or water-based paint is not considered a hazardous waste. Even though it is not considered a hazardous waste, it must never be placed in trash cans in liquid form. Liquid paint can cause a great deal of damage to trash trucks and can make a mess of our roads.

7-17-2015 1-00-18 PM

7-17-2015 1-00-42 PMIf you are interested in having a household hazardous waste (HHW) collection for Athens-Limestone County residents, please contact your City Councilman or County Commissioner and make your concerns known. HHW includes automobile fluids, pesticides, garden chemicals, and more.

How to Dispose of Latex Paint:

First, never pour paint down a drain. It can be harmful to your pipes and is not good for the water supply. It is also harmful to pour paint onto the ground. Here are safe ways to get rid of leftover latex paint.

Use it up or donate it: Mix light colors together and use as primer on your next paint job or offer it to someone else with a painting project. If you have full or nearly full cans of usable paint, check with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see if they will accept it for resale. When storing paint for future projects, tightly seal the can and store upside down in a cool, dry storage area away from children and pets.

7-17-2015 1-00-30 PM

Dry it up: Once latex paint is dry, it is no longer a danger to trash trucks or roadways. Cans that are ¼ full or less can be placed in a safe location with lids off and allowed to dry. Once the paint is completely dry, you can place the can in with recycling. If you have larger amounts of paint, line a cardboard box with a trash bag and place it in a safe location away from children or pets. Pour paint into the box and add a drying agent such as kitty litter, sand, or shredded paper. You may also purchase waste paint hardener which works quickly and easily. Once the paint is completely dry, you can place the trash bag with dry paint into your trash container. You may then recycle the cardboard box and paint can.

We’d love to hear from you if you have additional questions or concerns. If we don’t have the answer, then we will learn together!
By: Lynne Hart

7-17-2015 1-00-51 PM

7-3-2015 3-18-22 PMIt has been two years since the Community Garden grant was received from Lowe’s through Keep America Beautiful. The gardens were created in an effort to grow fresh produce for Limestone County Churches Involved to give out through their food pantry.

Three raised beds were built, hugelkultur beds were created, the gazebo and garden shed were constructed, trees planted, and t-posts installed in preparation for planting pole beans. The raised beds and hugelkultur beds have been weeded, the soil prepared, and vegetables planted.

7-3-2015 3-18-36 PM

So now we just sit and wait to harvest vegetables, right? We wish it could be that simple! There is mulching and watering and weeding to be done! We also have a gazebo waiting to be stained.

With the help of students and parents participating in the Truancy Intervention Program (TIP) designed to combat school tardiness, absenteeism and drop-out rates, we are well on our way to getting these tasks handled.

This program is a collaboration between the Limestone County Juvenile Court and Athens State University. TIP works as a liaison between these students, their parents, school officials, truancy officers, the court, and community organizations. As part of this program, Athens State University Criminal Justice Professor Quanda Stevenson contacted KALB to ask if we would be willing to work with these students on a community service project that would also be a learning experience. The answer was yes and we knew exactly what the project would be.

7-3-2015 3-18-55 PM

The students and their parents have been working at the community garden one afternoon per week and will continue to do so through the month of July. This has been a tremendous help to the community garden committee and it seems it has already been beneficial to the students.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Mr. John Cotten and Mr. Doug Harbin guided volunteers in cutting boards and putting together raised beds at the base of T-posts that will be used to grow pole beans. That project will be completed with students doing the work as they hone their skills. Students will also fill the beds with soil, cardboard, and mulch, as well as plant the beans, and watch them grow.

7-3-2015 3-19-07 PM

Mr. Cotten designed a sprinkler system for the raised beds which will make watering the gardens easier. TIP students helped put the system together and were there to watch it being tested and tweaked.

The most pleasant surprise is the hard working attitudes of these young people. On the hottest day of the year with a heat index over 100 degrees, some students refused to leave at the end of their scheduled time because they wanted to finish the jobs they’d started. It has been good to witness this work ethic and we have certainly let them know how much their hard work is appreciated!

We have had incidents of produce being picked by people who are not associated with this project or the LCCI Food Pantry. We are striving to make the public aware that this is not a u-pick garden, but a garden created from the sweat and elbow grease of people who care about neighbors who cannot afford fresh produce due to their current circumstances.

If you would like to help with the community garden project, contact KALB at 256-233-8000. If you are in need of the services of LCCI’s food pantry, please call 256-262-0671.
By: Lynne Hart

7-3-2015 3-19-33 PM

7-3-2015 3-19-24 PM

6-18-2015 2-50-16 PMRecently, a story appeared in a local newspaper about bats in Limestone County testing positive for a disease called white-nose syndrome, which can be devastating to bat populations. We have also heard for some time now that our bee populations are declining. According to the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the wild honeybee populations have dropped 25% since 1990. A loss of pollinators and insect eaters will result in higher food costs and increased use of insecticides in agriculture. It is a problem that will affect everyone.

6-18-2015 2-50-53 PM

Bats are very misunderstood and extremely important to our natural world. There are 16 species of bats in Alabama, all of which are insect-eating mammals. According to the Alabama Bat Working Group, one small colony of 150 bats can eat up to 33 million crop pests in a single summer. I would hate to think of the amount of pesticides needed if not for the bats!

Of course, bats don’t just fly over farmland. They also eat mosquitoes and other insects in our own back yards. One bat can eat 36,000 insects in a month! That is a lot of insects that won’t be bugging you and me!

According to the Alabama Bat Working Group website, bats are gentle and won’t attack you. They are not interested in getting tangled in your hair, and they won’t suck your blood! They just want to fill their bellies and go home to take a nap. If a bat flies close to you, it is most likely targeting insects that are flying near you. Although bats can carry rabies, the incidence of infected bats is low. It is still recommended that you do not handle bats, especially if they are found on the ground.

Bats have very few predators. It is humans that are the biggest factor in the decline in bat populations. Factors such as destruction of habitats, direct killing, vandalism, disturbance of hibernating colonies, and use of pesticides and other chemicals all affect bat population. Remember, they eat the bugs we spray with poisons.

Another huge problem facing bats is white-nose syndrome, a fungus that grows in the caves in which bats hibernate. The following is a link to a video that explains white-nose syndrome and attempts being made to contain the spread of the fungus to other bat caves. It is sad to learn that Limestone County has now seen evidence of this disease.

6-18-2015 2-50-44 PM

Just like bats, many people fear bees and kill them when they can. We must remember that honeybees are our most important pollinators. These bees help pollinate more than 150 different crops in the United Stated. Just about every fruit, vegetable, and grain must be pollinated in order to produce a crop.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists more than 50 pollinator species as threatened or endangered. Honeybees are on that list. One of the greatest mysteries is Colony Collapse Disorder which, according to the USDA, is defined as a colony with no adult bees and no bodies, and a live queen, honey, and immature bees present. A scientific cause has yet to be proven.

The collapse of our honeybee colonies and bat populations is a serious threat to food production. Increased need for insecticides due to lack of bats and a need to use managed honeybees for pollination due to a lack of native pollinators will increase costs significantly. The negative impact of increased use of insecticides would take a separate article to discuss.

How Can You Help?
• Plant a variety of native flowering plants which are inviting to pollinators. Encourage the use of native flowers in area landscaping.
• Use as few pesticides as possible in and around your home, and seek those that are the least harmful to the environment.
• Help local clubs or school groups build butterfly gardens, bat houses, and bee boxes.
• Educate yourself on these topics. Get in touch with and support local organizations working toward solving these problems.

For more information, visit:
Alabama Bat Working Group Facebook Page.
Ecological Society of America: www.esa.org
Agriculture Research Service, USDA: www.ars.usda.gov

“Predicting the effects of the loss of a particular pollinator is extremely difficult, but it is important to remember that no species exists in isolation. Each is part of an ecological web, and as we lose more and more pieces of that web, the remaining structure must eventually collapse.”
Carol A. Kearns and David Inouye
By: Lynne Hart

6-18-2015 2-51-03 PM

6-6-2015 11-02-52 AMThe Adopt-A-Spot program is a great way for groups and individuals to serve the community while raising funds to do even more good through their own organization. This program has been in existence for several years now with volunteers adopting spots for a period of one year or continuing on for several years.

Boy Scout Troop #24 adopted Lucas Ferry Rd. from Market St. to Hwy. 72 when the program first began in 2010 and has continued to take care of this area faithfully ever since. The troop leadership keeps track of which boys participate, then earmarks a prorated amount that those boys can use toward scouting activities.

6-6-2015 11-03-02 AM

We also have an individual who has adopted two areas. Since reward money must go to a local organization, Mr. Barry Phillips has designated the new library to receive funds from one adopted area, and KALB to receive the funds from the second area.

How It Works:
KALB will supply safety vests, trash bags, and litter grabbers to any group or individual willing to clean a designated area once per month. After each cleanup, a simple online report must be completed so KALB can keep up with the group’s activities. It will also allow us to make arrangements for filled trash bags and large items to be picked up. These volunteers also scan the area for properties that do not meet city ordinances with regard to tall grass, weeds, trash, or junk vehicles.
After each 3rd cleanup (no more than once per quarter), a reward check is sent to the adopting organization or local charity of choice. These funds can then be used to further the good works of the receiving organization.

6-6-2015 11-03-14 AM

How to Get Involved:
If you are interested in getting involved in this program, the first step is to let KALB know. We will then send you a packet of information which includes the guidelines of the program and the necessary paperwork to register a group or individual.

If, after reading through the materials, you decide to adopt an area, KALB staff will discuss with you those available for adoption.
Why is a Clean Community Important?

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, community cleanups show that the people who use an area care about its appearance. When a neighborhood is clean, well lighted, and used often by residents, crime is less likely to occur. Eliminating trash, debris, and tall weeds from an area will help make a location less attractive to criminals and more attractive to the community, according to the USDJ.

Clean communities also help attract new business to the area. We have been told many times what a positive impact clean roadsides and attractive green spaces have on those visiting our area to “check us out”.

If you would like more information on the Adopt-A-Spot program, please give us a call or send us an email. Let’s talk!
By: Lynne Hart

6-6-2015 11-03-41 AM

6-6-2015 11-03-31 AM

5-15-2015 2-00-09 PMSpring has sprung and now it is time to begin your spring cleaning and de-cluttering. I ask that you remember to recycle when doing this process. Many items that people want to clear out when spring cleaning and de-cluttering can be recycled at the Athens-Limestone Recycling Center (ALRC), a division of KALB, located at 15896 Lucas Ferry Road. On the other hand, many items that people think can be recycled are not accepted at our facility. So I am going to give you a few pointers.

Those huge stacks of junk mail, magazines and newspapers that have been sitting around are a good place to start. Those along with any paper or hardback books can be recycled. One common question
is “ Do you accept encyclopedias?” and the answer is yes. So if you have old stacks of those sitting around, you can clear up some storage room by recycling those at your local recycling center.

5-15-2015 2-00-21 PM

Electronics that are broken, worn out or are no longer used can all be recycled at ALRC. Unfortunately we do have to charge a small fee of $10.00 for any television; however, you know it is being disposed of in the proper manner. Our electronics are sent to a company that carries all the proper certifications to recycle electronics. If you are a do-it-yourselfer and you have used motor oil sitting around from servicing your lawnmowers or vehicles, you can bring that used motor oil to the ALRC to be recycled.

Plastic is where it gets a little more complicated. If you have old plastic buckets or containers sitting around, you can bring those to ALRC. However, if you have old plastic lawn furniture, kids toys, hose pipes, PVC piping or any of these type items, they need to be put in the trash or taken to the transfer station because we cannot recycle them. The key word to plastic that is recycled
at Athens-Limestone Recycling Center is “CONTAINER.”

5-15-2015 2-00-44 PM

If you have a collection of plastic grocery bags, they can also be brought to ALRC but they must be clean and dry. However, if you have old plastic bags that had mulch, sand, potting soil or food in them, they need to be placed in the trash. Glass bottles and jars can also be recycled at ALRC, even if they are broken. We cannot accept window glass or windshields. Any type of metal, except automobiles, can be recycled at ALRC such as trampoline frames, basketball frames, metal swing frames, old appliances, etc.

Other items that SHOULD NOT be brought to the recycling center are hazardous waste items, medical waste items including insulin needles and dialysis tubing, drugs of any kind,paint of any kind, Styrofoam, tires, clothes, mattresses, wood, yard debris or household trash. If you are not sure of an item or have a question, please call the recycling center at 256-233-8746 and we will be glad to answer any questions. When inappropriate items are left at ALRC, it costs us money to have them disposed of properly.

5-15-2015 2-00-59 PM

Now roll up your sleeves and get to spring cleaning and RECYCLING. TIP TO DISPOSE OF LATEX PAINT Latex paint can be disposed of by pouring the paint into a cardboard box lined with a plastic bag so that it can dry more quickly. To speed up the drying process, add kitty litter, shredded paper, or sawdust to the paint. You can also purchase a product specifically for drying paint at most home improvement stores. Once the paint is dry, it can be placed in the regular trash. Recycle the can.
By: Ruby McCartney

5-1-2015 12-40-59 PMAs I write this article, I am still exhausted from the Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO and all the work that led up to a very successful day. It is a good tired.

The event was moved to Friendship Church due to threats of stormy weather; however, we still had between 1,500 and 2,000 people come through to enjoy the many activities and exhibits. We are very grateful to the pastors and staff of Friendship Church for allowing us to use their facility.

5-1-2015 12-41-18 PMI would like to publicly thank each of the volunteer members of the Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO Committee. Planning a large event is difficult enough, but when you have to move it and change everything at the last minute, it is extremely stressful. The KALB Commission members and community volunteers that joined the committee worked very hard to make everything come together. KALB has some of the best volunteers on planet Earth!

There is a story and a man behind the first Earth Day celebration which I would like to share. In 2008, Mr. John Crews, owner of Crews, Inc., came to me and asked if KALB would like him to financially sponsor an open house so the community could come and get to know more about our organization. He wanted to bring in a radio personality, serve free hot dogs, and give away some door prizes. In the spring of 2009, our Open House took place and was so well attended, it was decided we would do it again with Earth Day as our theme.

The interest Mr. Crews took in KALB was the spark that lead to what has become our annual Earth Day celebrations. On Saturday, April 25th, KALB recognized Mr. Crews at the Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO as the catalyst for Earth Day events in Athens. Mr. Crews humbly denied doing anything worthy of the award he was given; however, his initial generous offer and his constant support of this event is truly worthy of recognition.

5-1-2015 12-41-32 PM

The 2015 Earth Day and Outdoor EXPO was a huge success! Hundreds of hot dogs and lots of door prizes were given away. Beautiful raptors and reptiles were on display from the Coosa River Science School. Kids were feeding a calf, goats, alpacas, and other animals at the Tennessee Valley Zoo display. Other exhibitors allowed for handling of bugs and petting a bearded dragon. Lots of organizations were representing all the wonderful outdoor adventures that await in North Alabama. Our guests collided with the wonders of nature!

5-1-2015 12-41-07 PM

We hope you had the chance to visit with us. If not, we’ll do it again next year!
By: Lynne Hart

5-1-2015 12-41-48 PM

4-17-2015 9-25-02 AMWhen Damien Simbeck, TVA Watershed Representative, offered to lead a nature walk through the Marbut Bend Trail in West Limestone as part of our Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO, we were thrilled! It is the perfect addition to our event.

The Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO will be held on Saturday, April 25th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens and is designed to encourage guests to protect and enjoy the beautiful world that surrounds us. Here in the Tennessee Valley, it surrounds us indeed!

4-17-2015 9-25-39 AM

A walk into nature is the best way to develop an appreciation for the biodiversity of our state and the amazing world of living things. Without such an appreciation, we would not concern ourselves with how our daily actions might positively or negatively affect our environment. This focus of this particular walk will be wetland ecology, migratory songbirds, and identification of frog calls.
Limestone County can boast of having 17 free trails for residents and visitors to enjoy. One of the newest additions is the Marbut Bend Walking Trail in West Limestone. The trail was constructed in 2014 as a partnership between TVA, the Limestone County Commission, and a local farmer who leases the property for hay production. It was opened to the public as part of National Public Lands Day activities on September 27, 2014.

The acreage on which the trail was built is very near the Elk River and was flooded by beavers a few years ago. Damien Simbeck explained that it is TVA’s policy to let areas stay a wildlife habitat as long as the flooding is not affecting prime timber or private property. The area, which attracts a variety of wildlife including wood ducks, blue-winged teals, great blue herons, great egrets, migratory birds, fish, frogs, beavers, deer, raccoons and more, was the perfect location for a walking trail.

4-17-2015 9-25-24 AM

The trail is 1.1 miles in length, including 4,700 feet of crushed stone path and 1,100 feet of elevated boardwalk through a beaver pond. The area includes the beaver pond, open fields maintained by prescribed fire and hay production, and forested shorelines (riparian buffers) and wetlands. The trail is open year-round for public use, though caution is needed during hunting season.
A bench positioned along the boardwalk provides a nice resting place to sit and watch the events in and around the beaver pond.

4-17-2015 9-25-48 AM

The Marbut Bend Walking Trail is located on Hwy. 99, about 11 miles northwest of Athens. The entrance to the trail site is located on the left (heading west) 1.5 miles past the Elk River Bridge.
The walk will begin at 7:00 a.m. and end around 9:00 a.m., giving everyone time to head back into Athens for the opening of the Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO at 10:00 a.m. Bring binoculars if you have them, however, they are not required. Insect repellant is recommended.

For information about the nature walk or Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO activities, contact KALB at 256-233-8000 or the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association at 256-232-5411.
By: Lynne Hart

4-3-2015 11-48-19 AMSpring has finally sprung, which means it’s time for the 6th annual Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO taking place on Saturday, April 25th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens (aka The Duck Pond).

In 2009, John Crews, owner of Crews, Inc., approached me with an offer to fund an Open House that might bring more attention to KALB and what we do in the community. We offered a few hours of music, free hot dogs and Pepsi, and information about our organization’s mission, projects, and programs. Because it was such a success, we built on the idea and the first official Earth Day celebration was held in 2010. The event has grown every year since to include games, exhibitors sharing information on local environmental issues, and vendors demonstrating earth-friendly products and services. This information gathering will allow our guests to make informed decisions in their everyday life practices.

For that reason, we thank John Crews for his belief in our organization. Because of his inspiration, we continue to bring this free event to the community, which is highly acclaimed by teachers, parents, and children of all ages. Thank you, Mr. Crews, for continuing to support this event. We consider you the “Father of Earth Day” in Athens!

4-3-2015 11-48-33 AM

KALB is also working closely with the Athens-Limestone Tourism Association. Teresa Todd approached us with the idea of adding a new dimension to our event. Exhibitors and vendors will be on hand to showcase local outdoor activities and tourist attractions such as canoeing, kayaking, horse trails, bike trails, the Veterans’ Museum, preservation of Trinity High School, and much more. The Tourism Association wants guests to be aware of the many ways offered to improve quality of life in Limestone County.

Just a few of the activities you will find:
• Music provided by the Athens Dulcimer Group
• Coosa River Science School will provide presentations on raptors and reptiles from stage. They will also be available throughout the event with an animal on display at all times.
• Tennessee Valley Zoo will bring a dozen or more animals including a wallaby, porcupine, calf, sheep, alpaca, and more.
• Peace, Love, and Animals will be present with dogs looking for forever homes.
• Passports distributed to be stamped at Education Stations earning guests a free frozen treat.
• Test your roping skills at the Ardmore Rodeo exhibit.
• Check out AirEvac LifeTeam’s medical helicopter.
• Sit in on Sci-Quests Roaming Dome Force Five exploration of extreme weather. Experience a hurricane, tornado, and storms in the solar system.
• Enter Nexus Energy Center’s tiny green house to learn about energy conservation.
• Visit with Scott Clem, Auburn University Department of Entomology, as he shares information about his insect collection.
• AMSTI- Athens State University will walk you through a hands-on environmental science activity.
• Visit Water Wheels to learn about water conservation and rainwater harvesting using rain barrels.
• Watch as the Alabama A&M University Stream Trailer demonstrates how erosion occurs and how to prevent it.
• Step into a beautiful Bankston Motorhome and dream of future travels.
• Learn how to identify poisonous plants and have your garden questions answered by the Master Gardeners
• More than 50 exhibitors and vendors

Put a big red X on April 25th and be sure to gather family and friends for this amazing free event.
For information call 256-233-8000 or 256-232-5411, or email KALBCares@gmail.com. Follow the event on Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful’s Facebook page for continual updates.
By: Lynne Hart

3-20-2015 10-02-28 AMAfter the snow and ice experienced in Limestone County recently, we at KALB were fearful that volunteers would be afraid to travel to West Limestone to help with the Elk River Cleanup scheduled for Saturday, March 7th.

Our fears were alleviated when the sun came out and 87 volunteers signed in prepared to work! We were amazed at the dedication of the men, women, and youth who all came for one purpose: to remove trash from the river and surrounding land.

3-20-2015 10-03-29 AM

Included in those 87 volunteers were 4 groups that joined the TEAM Challenge to see who could remove the most pounds of trash. Cash prizes sponsored by TVA were involved, and each team was out to win!

The LCTC Robotics Tea -The Rockets, Madison Baptist singles supported by We Chunk Junk, Girl Scouts Service Unit 11, and T.R.A.I.L. all registered for the challenge. Team members and individual volunteers worked hard and made a huge impact!

3-20-2015 10-02-54 AM

Event Statistics:
87 Registered Volunteers
4 TEAM Challenge Registrations
4,850 lbs. removed (8,800 lbs. in 2014)
3,340 lbs. taken to the landfill (7,800 lbs. in 2014)
1,510 lbs. were recycled (1,000 lbs. in 2014)

TEAM Challenge Results (teams received double credit for recyclables separated out)
1st Place – $250: Madison Baptist Singles and We Chunk Junk
2nd Place – $150: Girl Scouts Service Unit 11
3rd Place – $100: LCTC Robotics Team – The Rockets
Winner of “Guess the Weight” – $50: George Bekken

3-20-2015 10-03-14 AMKALB is very grateful to TVA for their financial sponsorship and presence, including providing all cash awards, supplies, and a TVA boat. TVA funds also allowed KALB to provide a great BBQ lunch for all volunteers.

KALB appreciates Ben Harrison, Limestone County District 4 Commissioner, for helping with this event and for providing a trailer to help haul the trash to the Transfer Station. Ruby McCartney, Plant Manager of our recycling center, was also there with scales to weigh the trash and a truck to haul recyclables back to the center.

We encourage everyone who uses the Elk River for fishing, boating, hiking, or any other activity, to take a trash bag along and remove any floating debris or other trash you find along the riverbanks. If everyone does their part to remove trash and encourage others not to litter all year long, our river will be healthier and our burden of cleanup lighter.

3-20-2015 10-03-37 AM

We also encourage citizens to report acts of littering and illegal dumping in Athens and Limestone County.

Contact KALB for information on how to get involved with other projects and programs. We offer many opportunities throughout the year!
By: Lynne Hart

3-20-2015 10-03-53 AM

3-5-2015 2-22-19 PMMost of us have heard the term “native” when referencing plants, trees, and shrubs. What exactly does that mean? Let’s look at the definitions of native and non-native plants:
Native Plants evolved in a particular region, state, ecosystem, or habitat over a long period of time with no human interference. These plants have grown in community with other plant species, providing habitat for wildlife, and have worked together to provide a positive impact on the local ecosystem.

3-5-2015 2-22-48 PM

Native plants have also adapted themselves to local conditions such as heat, drought, and soil types. The natural plant community attracts wildlife that feeds on insects that would be detrimental to these plants, thereby reducing the need for heavy doses of insecticides. Nature in balance.

Non-Native Plants are plants that are introduced to an area in which they did not naturally evolve. These plants can be introduced intentionally or accidentally, and can have a negative impact on the local ecosystem. Some of these plants may have no natural predators in the new location allowing them to grow unchecked. This type of plant is called invasive.

Two perfect examples of non-native plants that became invasive in this area are Kudzu and Chinese Privet. Both are native to China and were brought to the U.S., Kudzu to help with soil erosion and Privet as an ornamental shrub. Kudzu now grows wild, smothering and strangling native plant communities and is referred to as “the plant that ate the South.” Chinese Privet can cause dense infestations reaching 30 ft. tall, displacing most native species and preventing growth of bottomland hardwood and upland pine forests.

When these invasive plants choke out native plants that provide food and shelter for local wildlife, the wildlife also begins to disappear. An out-of-balance condition is created in the ecosystem.

3-5-2015 2-22-37 PM

Select Plants, Trees, and Shrubs Wisely
When selecting plants for your landscaping, be sure to look for a list of plants, trees, and shrubs native to your location. Local nurseries would be happy to help you choose the perfect plants for your landscaping needs.

1-3-2015 2-15-18 PM

Contact your local Extension office for a list of native plants, or visit our wonderful new library for books and other publications on the subject.
A visit to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens would not only be a wonderful opportunity to see a variety of plants and their uses in the landscape, but would put you in contact with people who know the answers to your gardening questions!

When you choose plants that work well together and are suited to this area, nature will be more in balance, making your garden a welcoming habitat for local wildlife. Native plants and shrubs will provide seeds, nectar, and insects that will welcome birds, butterflies, and other wildlife back into your yard.
You might even consider adding a “Welcome” sign to your garden!
By: Lynne Hart