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Great Natives Of Mid-western Ecotype

November 11, 2008



Rattlesnake Master


Native on the Net


Best Books


Organization Spotlight


Native News


Planting with a Purpose


Focus on the Future


Did you know... • Over the course of 50 years, a single tree can generate $31,250 of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycle $37,500 worth of water, and control $31,500 worth of soil erosion? • In just one year, the average American consumes enough wood and paper to make up a tree 100 feet tall and 16 inches in diameter?! (For you fact fans, it breaks down to 43 cubic feet of wood and 681 pounds of paper per American per year!)

President-Elect Obama will shred the Bush administration's energy policies and introduce a major climate change bill in an attempt to bring the US back into the international environment fold according to his senior advisers. Look for a focus on carbon emission caps and investments in “Green Energy” fields. These are the areas that most experts in the climate change field are expecting big moves in. Election spurs hopes for a “greener” future.

The big picture is the fact that climate, energy, food, and the economy are now hopelessly intertwined, and that trying to solve any one of these problems without taking on the others simply makes all of them worse.



Something on this magnitude simply is not a national issue– it a truly global one. Hope has given Barack Obama an opportunity to become an international leader on climate change.

Will those hopes be realized? Here is a first step to watch for: Will he go to Poland next month for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and in so doing electrify the international talks over carbon? Time will tell.


This picture was taken as video on a cell phone in General Guemes, Argentina. Locals there say that this “creepy gnome” stalks the streets at night and has the townspeople scared to leave their homes.

I thought It might be fun to steal an idea from Birds and Blooms magazine and have a scavenger hunt in each issue. Look for the word gnome within the text (no logo). I will vary the ways it is presented. It might be the first

letters of five consecutive sentences, it might be crossword style, or something more creative. Let me know if you find it and maybe I will include your name in the next GNOME News!

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ERYNGIUM YUCCIFOLIUM-RATTLESNAKE MASTER Did you participate in the “Name that Native” at either website this month? If you did, you might recognize the photo below. It is the bloom of the Rattlesnake Master.

This plant has been traditionally found in the eastern half of the U.S. and is associated with prairie sites– both wet and dry.

coloration of this plant is usually blue/grey green. The flower bunches are white and honey– scented.

Eryngium is Greek for "prickly plant" and yuccifolium is Greek for "yucca leaves." By casual appearance, one might think this is a plant of the dryer southwest. It is a true prairie plant though, and, interestingly, a member of the carrot family.

Faunal associations include long-tongued bees, shorttongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, moths, beetles, and plant bugs. It is also the host plant of the rare Papaipema eryngii (Rattlesnake Master Borer Moth).

The plant will grow from 2-6 feet tall including flower stalk height. The leaves are usually 1-2 feet in length and from 13 inches across. The

Dried blooms of this plant were used by Native Americans as rattles.

“If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is Nature’s way.” - Aristotle



There are literally thousands of links out there related to native plants. In this section I will share sites that I think have a lot of merit and are useful to other native plant enthusiasts. This month’s featured site is : USDA PLANTS Database

This is a great unique accent plant. I prefer to use it in odd numbers and with native grasses. It fits well in natural or traditional settings.

NET There is more information here than most people can use, but you should be able to find specifics on about any plant you are looking for. The “Fact Sheets & Plant Guides” section have plants organized by scientific and common name. There is detailed info on most plants.

The site is updating the database and should be even more user friendly in November. Be sure to check out the “Invasives and Noxious Weeds” section too. You will be surprised to find many commonly sold plants on there!

BEST BOOKS This is one of my favorite nature authors. Winter World will amaze you.

Bernd Heinrich, the awardwinning author of Mind of the Raven (1999), physiological ecologist, and professor at the University of Vermont studies animals as life is "played out on the anvil of ice and under the hammer of deprivation."

This book is scientific to its core, but is written in an easier-to-read style than some of his other books.

tion of the fauna of the woods during winter. Heinrich has given us a wonderful tour of animals in wintertime, covering their habitats, physiology, and evolutionary adaptations.

Anyone who has walked in Thoreau’s footprints or can appreciate clear scientific Heinrich provides truly amazing thought will insight in a readable style. enjoy this detailed explana-

If you enjoy nature writing, this is a must read!

G.n.o.m.e News

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O R G A N I Z AT I O N S P O T L I G H T : C H I C AG O W I L D E R N E S S “The Chicago Wilderness

consortium is an alliance of more than 200 public and private organizations working together to protect, restore, study and manage the natural ecosystems of the Chicago region, contribute to the conservation of global biodiversity, and enrich local residents' quality of life.”

“Chicago Wilderness is a regional nature reserve that includes more than 225,000 acres of protected natural areas. It stretches from southeastern Wisconsin, through northeastern Illinois and into

northwestern Indiana. The protected areas of Chicago Wilderness are forest preserves, state parks, federal lands, county preserves, and privately owned lands. There are also many unprotected natural areas that offer refuge to native wildlife.” Quotes taken from their organization site:

The Chicago Wilderness consortium does not currently offer individual membership opportunities. However, many of the organizations that belong to the consortium do offer individual

Explore your world!

and family memberships. The website has a member list if you are interested. Get some hands-on experience to go with your knowledge! Visit a site today!

NATIVE NEWS: R OA D S I D E S H E L P I N G B E E S T H R I V E Bee population crashes have been in the news the past few years. But there is some good news: States that plant native plants along roadsides are seeing an increase in bee numbers. Jennifer Hopwood, a graduate student in ecology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence “became really interested in the


idea that roadsides could be potential habitat for animals and could also be a haven for plant species." So she began investigating bees’ success in these areas. She found that there were nearly twice as many bees in the restored roadsides compared to the non-restored. "Even if there were a ton of exotic flowers, the


“Lawn! It’s a part of the American landscape. Where else can you play ball or sun yourself on a beautiful summer day? But why waste your precious free time mowing the yard? Now there’s Prairie Nursery’s “No Mow” Lawn Mix!” At less than $6 a pound, price is comparable to traditional seed. Deep roots make this a great choice to reduce water use and expense!

roadsides that had native flowers in them still attracted more bees," Hopwood said.

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

Many Midwestern states are currently utilizing roadside restoration of native plants. Potentially there are 10 million acres of valuable habitat available. Now that is something to buzz about!

-Lady Bird Johnson


There are several low growing used for watering lawns. turf grass mixes available on 10,000 gallons of water are the market. used per This is probably summer on the easiest to the average get a hold of 1,000 and perfect for square foot the northern lawn. Midwest. Some food for Now you can have thoughtyour lawn 30% to 60% of Mow no more with Prairie Nursery's and enjoy it urban water is “No Mow” seed mix! too!

Great Natives Of Mid-western Ecotype Primary Business Address 1753 Wick Way Montgomery, IL 60538


Great Natives of Mid-western Ecotype (GNOME) is an organization focused on the preservation and expansion of native floral and faunal species. The mission is to provide a netbased forum where members can share their passion, plans, ideas, and questions with other people having a common interest in native species.

Join our facebook group! Add the “groups” application and search for us! ( This is our primary forum location. The newsletter as well as open discussions are there and

We’re on the Web! also other links to people and groups that focus on natives. There’s no place like GNOME!

We are also in the blogging world. If you would like to be added as an author to our blog, please email us at We can get you set up! If you have articles or photos that you would like to share, please email us. We would love to add others to the creation of this newsletter.





Many people, especially those involved in education, know what NCLB means– No Child Left Behind. But have you heard about the No Child Left Inside Act?

One major purpose of this movement is to secure desperately needed funds to bolster training and implement things like State Environmental Literacy plans. It will also encourage environmental issues to be presented in a cross-curricular fashion, instead of in isolation.

On September 19, 2008 the US House of Representatives approved the No Child Left Inside Act of 2008 by a vote of 294 to 108. This is an environmental education initiative that has a goal of educating the “public to be wise stewards of the very environment that sustains us, our families and communities, and future generations.” While there are too many details to go into here (feel free to look them up), it has been increasingly obvious

Turn off the TV and turn outside!

that childhood physical activity is of manifest importance our increasingly obese America. The NCLI Act is to couple the physical activity component with sound environmental practices necessary for responsible world citizenship.

Going from a sedentary culture to one of more activity will be difficult. Never has there been a bigger need for change in the thinking of America. One consideration when looking at changing the lives of children is how one acts themselves. Modeling more active lifestyles would go a long way to create this change in our youth. Everyone will need to pitch in to create this change, and that won’t be easy. But if we look to our most important natural resource, our children, maybe, just maybe, we can become a part of the solution.

GNOME News November Issue  

This is the November newsletter for Great Natives Of Mid-western Ecotype (GNOME).