As the Plant a Wish Tour 2010 planned its visit to Delaware, we knew early on we wanted to connect with Entomology Professor Doug Tallamy at the University of Delaware at Newark.
Several people we met along the way had dropped his name as if his recent book “Bringing Nature Home” (Timber Press, 2007) would revolutionize the landscaping industry, which is currently worth about $50 billion dollar annually.
Why? Because Tallamy shares the data he’s collected over the course of 20 or so years studying insects’ dependency on native plants.
His precautionary tale (based on hard data) is pretty important: if we don’t plant native plants and trees in our backyards, we are taking a part in the dismantling of the food web we depend on for survival.
One of the most quoted parts of his book is where he states that one oak tree in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. can feed/house about 600 different species of Lepidopterae. That’s just moths and butterflies! (There are many more juicy tidbits in the book. Click on the book cover image above to purchase, and a percentage will go to help the Plant a Wish project!)
Once we heard the buzz, we knew we needed to meet him, plant a tree with him in Delaware, and interview him extensively for our film. And we hit a home run!
Here’s an excerpt from our forthcoming documentary. We plan to post about one per week, featuring various experts and tree caretakers we’ve met along the way so far.
Doug Tallamy is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, where he has written more than 65 research articles and has taught insect taxonomy, behavioral ecology, and other subjects. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities.