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Gettin’ Dirty is Good for You

by Sara Vogt - September 25, 2014

Today on Home Page – Chris Firestone, Wild Plant Program Manager for the PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources talked with us about how dirt makes you happy, our autumn leaf color changes, pollinators and the differences between bees and wasps.

Chris shared with us that in the soil there are antidepressant microbes called Mycobacterium vaccae that stimulate serotonin production, which helps us to be happier and more relaxed. There are many studies about these microbes and their effect on arthritis, cancer and cognitive thinking – (many reasons to get into the garden and dig out the summer flowers to prepare for fall!)

While in the garden, we can enjoy watching the leaves of Tioga County change into their beautiful reds and golds. According to the Bureau of Forestry, “Pennsylvania has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation – or anywhere in the world.” Come visit us and see for yourselves!

Chris also gave us information about pollinators – especially the difference between bees and wasps. Bees look for their protein in the nectar of flowers. Bees will usually leave you alone, unless you smell like a flower by wearing perfume. Wasps are carnivores that look for protein in food sources such as other insects and your picnic – and they are aggressive because they have to hunt for their food. They will sting (and can keep stinging) if you interfere with them. Wasps include yellow jackets, hornets and and umbrella wasps. Chris also spoke to us about pollination and how it occurs in nature and how important pollinators are to our food source. Listed below are sources and references to the material discussed today.

Sources:

Sage Professor Matthews Presents Intriguing Research at National Conference
Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy
PCNR, Penn’s Woods Fall Foliage
Conserving Wild Bees in PA
Pollinator.org
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Credits:

Produced by Vogt Media

 
 
 
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