Rev. Neil Dunnavant

Rev. Neil Dunnavant,
executive pastor

One of the best ways to stay enraptured with the majesty and mystery of God is to learn more about the wonders of the natural world. Wasps are universally feared and disliked because of their stings, but they are amazing little creatures who have their important place with us. They are particularly important to farms and gardens because of their voracious appetites for pests such as aphids. Some farmers put large numbers of wasps into their fields to control damaging pests. Wasps also supply important food for birds. They build their nests out of tree bark that they first chew up and then regurgitate. They are similar to honey bees with their hierarchy of a queen and worker drone males.

The indigo buntings are now back at the farm after spending their winters in Mexico or further south. The males are brown in the winter, but their feathers turn iridescent bright blue in the Spring to attract mates. During their journeys north or south they travel at night and navigate by the stars. Isn’t that amazing! Only the females build nests and care for the young. The nests are made from various plants and bound together with spider webs.

I marvel at how many of God’s creatures are given the knowledge they need to survive and how little we humans seem to know unless we are taught.

As a follow up from my last essay, I keep thinking about how important it is for us to use native plants in our yards. All creatures who live among us rely on the native plants to get what they need. So many of the non-native plants are beautiful but don’t have the food the birds, mammals and insects need. When we return to the native plants, there is an explosion of activity. You are feeding hungry creatures. Remember when we were children there were so many more bugs smashing into car windshields and screen doors at night? Now that is not the case. Why? Pesticides and the proliferation of non-native species. Plant more natives and more creatures will be creeping in your yard. More fun things to show my grandchildren. Like hundreds of lightning bugs on a hot summer night. Like the famous expression “build it and they will come” I say plant them and they will come.