Happy Earth Day 2008!
One of the benefits of living in the deep south of the United States is the relatively early arrival of Spring. After a mild winter our lawns are green and our perennial gardens are already full of blossoms. Last Memorial Day weekend, we put in our first butterfly garden, using native nectar source flowers (several varieties of Lantana, varied colored pentas, and blue Porter Weed to name a few). Over the course of the last three weeks the lantana have really come into bloom -- bright yellows, oranges, reds and violets.
The butterflies took notice this weekend for the first time this spring. The first to arrive was the Gulf Fritillary (bottom photo), then the Spicebush Swallowtail (top photo). The fritillaries are very patient models, and seem to be quite comfortable around the local humans. The swallowtails on the other hand are all about motion and evasion -- very difficult to shoot one of these without seeing significant motion blur in their wings. Even the one shown here has a slight blur at a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second.
So here's my Earth Day suggestion. If each of us would simply take care of the little bits of land around us -- our yards, our porches, our condominium balconies, our urban alleyways -- we'd have quite a big impact on the state of our planet. Be resourceful, be environmentally-friendly, be generous, be part of the planet. Go pick up that piece of trash that's just sitting there. Plant a garden if you have the space. Plant a tree if you can. Put a flower box on you balcony. Give someone the gift of a tomato or pepper plant to grow on their stoop. Just look around you -- the beauty in life that you seek may well be just outside your door -- wherever that happens to be.