Tag Archives: john heinz

Wednesday Wisdom – Secretary Sally Jewell

For Women’s History Month, we are dedicating our Wednesday Wisdom feature to women in conservation and whose lives were inspired nature. This week, we feature Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Her words say it best and we are making this connection at national wildlife refuges across the country. These young birders are connecting with nature at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Philadelphia.

Sally Jewell Birding Meme_WHM

Tuesday Trek: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

I’m Tom Barnes — you might know me from my TGIF with Tom column. And now, I’m bringing you Tuesday Trek! Each Tuesday, I’ll give you some insight about a refuge destination you might enjoy. Planning a winter vacation? Spring break? I might know the perfect spot for your upcoming travels!

When I visited Philadelphia, I was mostly concerned with finding a Philly cheesesteak to authenticate the experience. But on the drive into town, I remember catching sight of an expansive wilderness juxtaposing the city skyline cutting above it. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is an urban national wildlife refuge, an oasis of natural lands and unique wildlife habitat right in Philadelphia. For a breath of fresh air in the city, check out the largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania on the refuge.

Check out more Tuesday Trek features!

As a key stopover on the Atlantic Flyway, many species of migratory bird will rest and feed here, making it ideal for the urban birder. Around 300 discrete species have been observed here over the years. The refuge offers a number of birding programs year-round. And after all, you can always grab that Philly cheesesteak just a few minutes away.

Visitor services specialist Dave Sagan in one of the pollinator gardens at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS

Support National Pollinator Week!

Our Chesapeake Bay Field Office has led Hillsmere Elementary School in Annapolis, Md., to transform their expansive schoolyard into a native plant habitat beneficial to pollinators over the past 5 years. Credit: USFWS

Our Chesapeake Bay Field Office has led Hillsmere Elementary School in Annapolis, Md., to transform their expansive schoolyard into a native plant habitat beneficial to pollinators over the past 5 years. Their schoolyard has a dedicated space for habitat and water quality, native bee posters from our agency in their classrooms, and non-stinging, ground-nesting native mining bees on their schoolyard. Credit: USFWS

Long-term trends for several wild bee species, as well as some butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, show drops in populations, according to a National Research Council report. These are the species that 75 percent of all flowering plants — including most food crops and some that provide fiber, drugs, and fuel — rely on for fertilization in order to bear fruit.

Hear from two of our refuges celebrating pollinators:

How can we help? Plant a pollinator garden!

The most obvious need is a variety of nectar and pollen sources. Consider the following when choosing plants for your garden:

  1. Choose plants that flower at different times of the year to provide nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season.
  2. Plant in clumps, rather than single plants, to better attract pollinators.
  3. Provide a variety of flower colors and shapes to attract different pollinators. Check out the types of flowers that different pollinator groups (bats, hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, etc.) find attractive.
  4. Whenever possible, choose native plants. Native plants will attract more native pollinators and can serve as larval host plants for some species of pollinators. Check field guides to find out which plants the larval stage of local butterflies eat. Find native plants and native plant societies for your area.
  5. Learn more about what you can do.

Our agency works with partners to recovery endangered pollinators and the plants that depend on them. We use native, pollinator-friendly plants in our habitat work, and we create butterfly trails and gardens. Learn more about how we help pollinators.