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Be there for butterflies: Sponsor a monarch at upcoming SCSWCD fundraiser
Not unlike the honeybee population, monarch butterflies are on the decline. Numbers are down about 90 percent, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, prompting calls for their placement on the Endangered Species List.

In order to bring attention to the situation, the Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting a butterfly release at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, at Genesis Medical Center, 1401 W. Central Park, in Davenport.

Individuals can sponsor butterflies being released at the event by making a $20 donation for one butterfly or $50 for three (plus tax). Sponsors will receive a certificate in recognition of the butterflies they are supporting. Donations must be made to the SCSWCD by April 15.

In recognition of Butterfly Education and Awareness Day, the June 6 event will include displays including a butterfly laying eggs on milkweed, as well as a caterpillar and a butterfly feeding that highlight the life stages of the golden-winged insect. Proceeds will benefit education programs and other SCSWCD community projects.

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Naked cake: The simple joy of cake awaits when you ditch the icing
I have a theory that goes something like this: The icing on a cake can serve as a cover for some pretty lackluster baking — not always, but more often than you might suppose. And that's a pity, really, because the world is full of wonderful, vibrant, full-flavor cakes. Cakes that are richly studded with fruit and nuts (or both). Cakes that are whimsical and airy and only faintly sweet. Cakes that are soaked in coffee or rum and laced with the... More »

Comeback kings: Not all wildlife pushed to the brink is a lost cause
In the 1960s, when Jim Pease was in the seventh grade, he and his older brother bought a used wooden canoe and spent weekends exploring the rivers near their home in southeastern Iowa. They knew where every woodpecker, heron and red-tailed hawk nest was on the Skunk, Des Moines, Cedar, Iowa, and Mississippi rivers.

"There were no wild turkeys, no otters, very few beaver at all," recalls Pease, professor emeritus in the Natural Resource... More »

Edible delights: Surprise! A number of flowers can be eaten and enjoyed
Lunch probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you see your roses, impatiens, lilacs and daylilies expand into full color during the spring and summer months. But, in fact, flowers are an ancient ingredient that can be used in a variety of foods to entertain and delight your family and friends.

"Edible flowers have been around forever and ever," says Peg Christensen, founder of the Quad Cities Herb Group.

Ask about... More »

Front and center: Two ideas for organizing your fridge to waste less food
For years now I've come across articles online and in various other magazines with ideas for going green by getting your home organized. Filled with clever storage solutions or boldly proclaiming a dozen ways to cut clutter, they tend to have a lot of suggestions for getting organized without a lot to say about how, exactly, this is better for the planet.

Don't get me wrong, I love tidy closets and cupboards as much as anyone. Often, though,... More »

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