New Year by the Numbers

by Barbara Walvoord

50: The number of total acres of Lathrop land, on both campuses, that have been cleared of invasives, or that are part way through a three-year project to clear invasives. This is a terrific achievement!

4: The number of grants we have received for this work.

Beyond 5,000: The number of invasive plants that volunteer residents have cleared from our land. Some of these plants were garlic mustard plants or shrub and tree seedlings we pulled quickly; some were humongous multiflora rose bushes that took an hour to cut down with our loppers and saws. Some were bittersweet vines as thick as your arm. In addition, our Polatin Ecological Services team has cleared more thousands of invasives from our fifty acres.

96%: The percentage of birds that need insects, not just seeds and nectar, to raise their young.

90%: The percentage of insects that eat only native plants. Plants develop structure and chemistry that deter insect eaters. But a native insect species has developed mouth parts and body chemistry to overcome the defenses of one, or a small number, of native plants with which it has co-evolved. (Douglas Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home)

248: Number of species of moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) that are hosted by our native alder (Alnus), pictured above. (Hosting means the Lepidoptera eat it or lay their eggs on it.) Our native dogwood (Cornus) hosts 115 species; native serviceberry 119, and so on.

Under 20: Number of species of moths and butterflies typically hosted by the alien invasive plants that are threatening our natives. The most prominent woody invasives on our land include smooth and glossy buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, Japanese barberry, multiflora rose, and burning bush. (

20: Resident members of Lathrop’s Land Conservation Committee.

21: Number of members we could have if YOU join! There is lots of work to do. Contact me at


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