Letters to the Editor: Dec. 7, 2018

Save the insects

Gardening has opened my eyes to the interconnectedness of birds, insects and humans.

Consider the chickadee: Like most birds, 98 percent of its diet is insects. Juicy caterpillars convert leaves to protein for chicks.

The larval form of butterflies and moths, caterpillars eat plants they have evolved with. In the process, they have become important pollinators of our food and flowers.

Birds dependent on insects provide a natural form of insect control. Hummingbirds eat spiders, fruit flies and aphids. Swifts rely on clouds of gnats and mosquitoes. Nuthatches and woodpeckers eat earwigs, ants, aphids and so forth.

Humans negatively impact both birds and insects by choosing non-native ornamental plants, by creating expanses of lawn, and by cutting down native trees in order to re-plant with sterile substitutes. It’s worth noting that an oak supports 320 life forms,  a non-native ginkgo tree none.

Big box stores sell “no-pollination-needed” bedding plants and “no-pest” shrubs. That makes your garden colorful and damage-free, but a food desert for every living thing. A pretty grocery store with empty shelves, a shady tree with plastic apples.

You can combat this by:

Planting native shrubs. Goldenrod, red flowering currant, ocean spray, showy milkweed, Oregon grape and blue elderberry are good choices.

Avoiding chemicals. By killing everything in the ground, they are killing the grubs and worms that feed the robins on your lawn. Spraying kills the insects that feed the birds and pollinate your food.

Leaving some wild space and appreciating chewed leaves as part of the food chain.

If you still think there are plenty of insects to go around, consider your windshield. How does it compare with 30 years ago? 

If you aren’t seeing insects, birds aren’t either. But birds depend on them to survive, and ultimately, so do we.

Robin Ricker



Stories a communal currency

Thank you so much for the piece written by David Bates regarding Gallery Theater’s 50th Anniversary.

It’s such a special place with such special people — a family really. To see it featured so prominently with David’s piece, along with a review of the current production of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” made my day.

I became involved at Gallery in 2012. Friend Debbie Harmon-Ferry invited me to audition for a small role in that year’s holiday show, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” based on a favorite children’s book of mine. And an inside view of the Gallery family made it love at first sight for me.

There is a place for everyone at Gallery, as there is at any community theater I suppose.

For those who love being on the stage, Gallery’s leadership works hard to choose shows providing opportunities for men, women and children of various ages and skill levels to try their hand. It also stages a thriving and very fun Kids Camp each summer.

Backstage volunteers are always needed to handle sound and lighting, set construction, stage management and more. So are ushers, who get to see the show for free, and house managers, who get to see a future performance for free.

David hit the nail on the head in emphasizing the importance of telling stories. In his book “In Arabian Nights,” Tahir Shah terms stories “a communal currency of humanity.”

Communal. Community. Humanity. Couldn’t we all use a little bit more of those these days?

I hope to see you at the theater soon.

Barbara Curtis




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