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The languorous month

June is here offering us languorous days, and evenings when we’re surrounded by swallows and swifts until bedtime. There are bright flowerings in the countryside, but the dominant colour is the lush and vibrant green that glows from gardens and verges. Find inspiration this month to let part of your garden rewild, since blackbirds will be looking for food, and Blue and Great Tits will hop around the borders seeking caterpillars in the growing grasses. Apart from being a bird banquet, a wild patch protects young nestlings from cats, especially when they are most vulnerable and unable to fly. If you see a nestling looking abandoned under a shrub it is often left there on purpose – there is no need to interfere, better to give them a wide berth.

As this is the month of the summer solstice, we can expect some “flaming June” days and the annual enchantment of Midsummer Eve. This is a magical time to relax in the garden, deadhead some roses and eat the gooseberries; feel the grass under your feet and the warm breeze on your face. We want to prolong the longest day of the year as it will pass fleetingly before we have time to say: “Cheers!” Traditionally, women would gather the dew of Midsummer Day morning from flower meadows as it was regarded as a great tonic for the skin; vials of the dew were kept throughout the year. This month, let’s immerse ourselves in the spirit of summer, wash our faces in dew and say aloud for the blackbirds to hear: “Parce que je le vaux bien!”

Positive Ecological Restoration News

Dung beetles bite back in SW France
France has begun reintroducing extinct dung beetles in a nature reserve near Bordeaux. About 60 dung beetles have been brought to the area of L’Étang de Cousseau in southwest France to help rehabilitate vital ecosystems by the Atlantic coast. The dung beetles (scarabaeus laticollis) will feed on dung produced by wild cattle that roam the coast, moors and marshes of the area. Whilst feeding on the cow dung it helps recycle important, life-giving nutrients back into the soil, making it healthier and richer to grow other urgently-needed plants, bushes and trees.

LENNART TANGE (CC BY 2.0)

Claws out to save the Great Barrier Reef
Scientists have discovered that a small red crab could hold the solution to saving Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, one of the great wonders of the world. For years, reef-building corals have been devoured by plagues of toxic starfish. Now, researchers from the University of Queensland have realised that the Red Decorator Crab (schizophrys aspera) has an appetite for the juvenile starfish that could break the cycle. “It’s one of the best predators we’ve seen and could be a natural buffer against future outbreaks on the reef,” said lead researcher Amelia Desbiens.

Rare West African Lion at Zakouma National Park, Chad

Give a roar for Central Africa
For over twenty years it’s been thought that formerly endemic lions were extinct in Chad’s Sena Oura National Park, but a remote camera trap has captured footage of “a beautiful lioness and clearly in great health”, a jubilant team of researchers has revealed. It’s an indication that a cat population is re-emerging. There are only between 22,000 and 24,000 big cats left in the wild and the population in Central Africa is particularly small; they are genetically distinct from the East and Southern African lion populations. Intense poaching has been the cause of their steep decline, but this news, with the recently captured footage, brings a renewed sense of optimism.

The EU branches out against deforestation
Finally, commodities we buy every day such as soy, coffee and cocoa, will no longer be part of the single EU Single Market if they’re associated with deforestation. The European Parliament has voted to ensure that every product sold is deforestation-free. Companies will have to prove they have no associations with deforestation, and this affects palm oil, coffee, soy, wood, cattle, cocoa, rubber, charcoal and printed paper, as well as beef, furniture and chocolate. “We are losing every year around ten million hectares of forests all over the world and this instrument is going to halt that, at least our part in the complicity in deforestation, because our shelves are currently filled with chocolate, coffee, etc, [and] soy products that contribute massively to the forest destruction,” said Christophe Hansen, lead MEP on the new law, to Euronews.

Sky Events

On 1 and 2 June, Mars will pass through an open cluster of stars located in the constellation Cancer and with a good pair of binoculars you will be able to see this event. The fourth of June brings the Full Moon, known in ancient America as the Strawberry Moon, a time of year to gather ripening fruit. In the UK, this moon has also been known as the Rose Moon and the Honey Moon. On 4 June the planet Venus will also be at its highest point in the evening sky: look to the west to see it. The solstice will occur on 21 June at 14:51 UTC, marking the start
of summer.

June Tides

Spring: 5th-6th and 19th-20th
Neap: 11th-12th and 27th-28th

Andreas Kornevall is a Swedish storyteller, author and ecologist. He is the Director of Operations for the Earth Restoration Service Charity based in the UK

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Almanac, June 2023, Life

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