Loss of Pollinator Habitats Threatens Food Security

These honey bees are pollinating 'Walker's Low' (Nepeta racemosa) at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center.  (SDG 2010).

Pollinator species populations, such as the vital Honey Bee, are declining at alarming rates.

Why you should care:

  • Pollinators are vital to agriculture.  Nearly all fruit, vegetable, and seed crops used to produce fuel, medicine, and food require animal pollinators (such as birds, bees, and butterflies.)
  • Intensification of agriculture, pollinator habitat fragmentation and habitat loss are all factors which have negatively impacted native pollinator populations.
  • If populations continue to decline,  crop production could decline with it - causing a spike in food prices.
  • 10% of Rhode Island's total land acreage is devoted to Agriculture.
  • Rhode Island is a leader in direct sales of produce from farms to consumers.
  • Agriculture (including livestock, dairy, aquaculture, nursery and greenhouse stock, vegetables, and sod production) contributes significantly to Rhode Island's economy.

What you can do:

The Heinz Center. 2013. Rhode Island Pollinators and Agriculture. Washington, DC, 46 pp

How much is a tree worth? $$

Trees do a lot more than provide shade and look pretty.  For example, according to the National Tree Benefit Calculator, the 31" diameter Little Leaf Linden (Tilia cordata) outside our office provides $108 in benefits per year divided among stormwater filtration, energy production, improving air quality, and atmospheric CO2 reduction.  If you're interested in how much a particular tree is worth, find out its species and trunk diameter and visit:

Little Leaf Linden (Tilia cordata)

Little Leaf Linden (Tilia cordata)

Happy #DesignWeekRI!

DesignWeek (September 14-25) is an annual celebration of Rhode Island's unique community of designers put on by DESIGNxRI.  A series of events, lectures, tours, awards, and informal talks spotlight local talent and innovation.

Yesterday, one of Searle Design Group's Principals, Taber Caton hosted an Eat & Speak Luncheon at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center.  Taber gave a talk about SDG's master plan for the center which was implemented in 2010. The Botanical Center is New England's largest indoor garden.  SDG's master plan expanded the indoor garden to the exterior grounds, boasting a wide variety of diverse plant communities featuring both native and adaptive plants to create a sustainable vision for the overall grounds. Taber also talked about how this project achieved ADA accessibility in spite of the challenge of working with steep terrain.  Those who attended this event saw the original master plan and listened to Taber speak about the first three phases of construction before embarking on a tour of the grounds. The beautifully maintained gardens would not exist in such great condition today without the help of the volunteers of the Botanical Center Conservancy and Providence Parks and Recreation.

Progress in the Fight Against #climatechange @PARK(ing)DayPVD! #sealevelrise #oceanstate #renewableenergy #sustainablepower

Climate Change is not all doom and gloom - while we still have a long way to go to return the Earth's climate to a sustainable condition, there are some positive developments. One of our greatest successes to date is the increased feasibility and implementation of renewable energy sources. 

Rhode Island is a leader in renewable wind energy. The Block Island Wind Farm is the nation's first offshore wind farm. The project is small, consisting of five turbines capable of powering about 17,000 homes, but symbolic.  You can read more about it here:

In 2000, 9.4% of the United States' generated power came from renewable sources (solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass). By 2013 this percentage increased to 13.1%. The biggest game changer among these has been the increased use of wind power.  In 2006, Rhode Island had the ability to produce 1 Megawatt of wind power. We can now produce 9.  While we can't reverse the environmental degradation that has already occurred, changes like this are a small step in the right direction and lay an important foundation for policy decisions based on sustainable growth.

THIS FRIDAY September 16, 2016 come eat, drink, and play with us as we reflect on the past and look toward the future to celebrate PARK(ing) Day 2016!  We'll be at 201 Westminster Street from 8am-5pm! Take a walk around the city and check out all the amazing pop-up parks brought to you by your favorite local designers and artists - including the debut of RISD's brand new student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects at 63 Washington Street.  

If you want to learn more about the history of the fight against climate change, check out this interactive timeline of the progress made created by the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change:

Join us for DesignWeek at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center!

DesignWeek is an annual celebration hosted by DESIGNxRI spotlighting talent and innovation in the Rhode Island design community.

This year Searle Design Group's Taber Caton will be offering a can't-miss opportunity to tour the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center and learn how SDG's sustainable vision for the grounds of New England's largest indoor garden became a reality.

Learn more and register for this free Eat and Speak Luncheon event on September 22 at noon at 1000 Elmwood Avenue in Providence, RI.