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Green Thumb Guidance - Be Good to the Bees!

by Cory Dudley


While you are lounging on your patio looking out onto your garden, the bees are out there working hard.  Buzzing from flower to flower, they do the hard work - pollinating your garden for you.  However, it is no secret anymore, the bees you expect to be there in your landscape are dying off at alarming rates.  Millions of bees are disappearing and this will have huge consequences on our environment.  Not only do bees support biological diversity in our natural ecosystems but we depend on them for our food.  Estimates show that agriculture relies on bees for nearly ⅓ of our human food crops.  We rely on bees to pollinate everything from apples to strawberries to the alfalfa used to feed cows.  There are no substitutes for these hard working individuals.  If we do not have bees, we don’t have food...




Native pollinators and domesticated bee populations are declining for a variety of reasons.  Habitat loss, disease and excessive and inappropriate use of pesticides and insecticides are some of the contributing factors.  The use of neonicotinoids (neonics) is a class of insecticides that has had a devastating effect on the bee population.  Neonics can be found in many common insect sprays for your lawn and garden.  These sprays affect the central nervous system of insects resulting in paralysis or death.  Though you may be attacking those grubs in your lawn, you will also end up damaging your beneficial insects - bees!  It is imperative that we take the necessary steps to help save our bees and other local pollinators.






If you want to make a difference in your own yard there are few simple things you can do...  

1.) Do not apply any pesticides in your yard.  Use organic and natural pest management methods in your own landscape.  

2.) Buy organic plants and seeds.  Most of the plants we buy at big box stores have had neonics sprayed on them during the growing process and these chemicals can be stored in the soil and foliage for months.  Locate your local nursery for organic options.

3.) Create and plant a pollinator garden.  Bees are attracted to large groupings of flowers during the growing season.  Try to stagger your flowering plants to have flowers all throughout the growing season for the hard working bees.  Some of my favorite flowers that will attract the bees include:

  • Fruit Trees: Apples, Crab Apples, Plums, Pear, Catalpa, Redbud
  • Shrubs: Russian Sage, Mock Orange, Blue Mist Spirea, Serviceberry,
  • Perennials: Agastache, Bee Balm, Catmint, Iris, Thyme, Yarrow
  • Vines: Trumpet Vine, Honeysuckle and Silver Lace Vine


For more information on how you can help save our bees visit:


A garden is only as rich and beautiful as the integral health of the system; pollinators are essential to the system - make your home their home."  - Derry MacBride, National Affairs and legislation Chairwoman, Garden Club of America



Kristen Whitehead, owner of Helios Landscape Design, writes featured blog posts for our monthly newsletter on everything plant-related! She's happy to guide you in your next garden design effort. 


Yampa River - Whitewater Adventure, Wild River

by Cory Dudley


For 3 months a year, from May through July, the Yampa River runs high with run-off water from many miles above, originating from melting snow and glaciers in the Colorado Rockies. The water takes paddlers and whitewater rafters through gorgeous canyons, showing off shades of red, yellow and orange as explorers snake along into Dinosaur National Monument...


History and Future Potential of the Yampa River


George Wendt, the president and founder of O.A.R.S., was honored with a first-row seat to one of the most influential river events in rafting history - and he survived it! In June of 1965, Wendt was one of several groups of river-runners who were on the Yampa River. On June 10th, a massive landslide forced debris to flow through the canyon, creating Warm Spring Rapid and taking a fellow rafters life.

Nearly 51 years later, the Yampa River is still free-flowing and the Warm Springs Rapid draws attention from water-lovers all over the country.

To gain more insight into the formation of Warm Springs Rapid, check out "Warm Springs." The short film was produced and directed by Rig To Flip, and combines personal accounts from people who were there that day and also historical footage to create a fantastic tribute to one of the last wild rivers of the West.


Pat Tierney (author and researcher) has spent over 38 years helping to protect the Yampa River, and has shared in an interview with O.A.R.S. the threats that he believes the Yampa currently faces, and the importance of...

"....additional protections that could and should be implemented on the Yampa to make it more of a victory and a long-term wild river. Because as climate change happens, the whole upper and lower Colorado River Basin is going to be stretched more and more. So there’s going to be even more pressure on the Yampa. We’ve got to hopefully put in some additional protections—like Wild & Scenic status—to make the Yampa sustainable for the long-term."


How can you experience your own journey down the Yampa River in the coming months?


O.A.R.S. offers one of the most sought-after whitewater adventures in the world, taking you down Yampa River  and right through the heart of the Dinosaur National Monument. For those who have taken this trip along one of the Colorado River system's major tributaries, here are some common reflections.


The Yampa River trip is among their highest rated adventures, and can be a 4 or 5 day excursion for anyone 7 years old and up (12 and up if there are high water conditions.) Participants will experience Class III-IV whitewater, learn about Native American & outlaw history, see the beautiful colors of the canyon, get their workout in with paddling and hiking and have the opportunity to explore the Dinosaur National Monument.


"...Being completely off the grid, with no phones, cell phones, computers, interruptions and really no stress allowed us the time to really talk and get to know each other better."

"For us, this greatly anticipated trip, far exceeded expectations on all counts."

"Trying to put to words such a dream like adventure/trip is nearly impossible. To sum it up easily I would use the word "Perfect."


Plus who could pass up sleeping under that sort of starlit sky? Plan your trip today!


(All photo credit to O.A.R.S.)


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