Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

This week on Initiative Radio: The Professional Do-Gooder May 12, 2009

Angela Mckenzie, host of Initiative Radio

Angela Mckenzie, host of Initiative Radio

Cathy Lanyard is a self-described, “Professional Do-Gooder.” Having grown up in a privileged New Jersey suburb, her mother’s inability to “give-back” inspired her to do just the opposite.

Cathy’s first foray into philanthropy begun when she rallied members of her community to build a playground for the local public school. Later on she became a Washington lobbyist and eventually she left that position to become a fundraiser for an organization whose goal is to encourage pluralism in Israel. 

Today, Cathy is the Executive Director of The American Friends of ALYN Hospital In Tel Aviv, Israel. This round-the-clock rehabilitation facility, serves children of ALL ethnic and religious backgrounds using innovative techniques, designed to improve the quality of their lives, regardless of the severity of their injuries and illnesses.

In this position, Cathy is able to promote her two most beloved causes – children and Israel. To listen to the show:



Native Plant Nursery: Edge of the Woods May 10, 2009

eowEdge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery is a nursery in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania specializing in native plants. Native plants provide natural and sustainable beauty and a welcoming habitat for birds, butterflies and other insects, ensuring a future filled with a healthy diversity of plants and wildlife.

eow2They are committed to sustainable growing practices and use a peat-free compost based potting mix. (Peat is a non-renewable resource.) Compost provides an excellent source of organic nutrients and helps retain moisture. They use minimal pesticides in the nursery and practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management). See the Q&A below or click here to learn more. For affordable design services, click here.

What are native plants?

Native plants are indigenous plants, that occurred in the region before settlement by Europeans. They thrive in the climate and conditions of the area. Non-native plants were introduced from other countries or regions.

Why should I plant native plants?

Because they are fun, beautiful and easy! Native plants were living here long before we arrived with our fertilizers and pruners. Once established, native plants provide 4 seasons of carefree beauty if they are properly sited.

Will native plants grow in my garden?

There are native plants adapted to thrive in any condition from wet, soggy clay to dry, gravelly soil, and from hot sun to full shade. When well placed, native plants do not require watering, fertilizer or pesticides. Native plants provide four seasons of pleasure, with flowers in the spring, berries in the summer, brilliant colors in the fall and interesting bark and twig patterns in the winter.

What difference does it make if I plant a native or non-native?

The seed from non-native plants can travel a distance from your garden, via birds and animals. Invasive plants have been known to take over waysides, waterways and roadsides – – Miscanthus grass, purple loosestrife and bamboo are a few examples. Once they are on the ‘highway system” its a short trip to natural and naturalized areas. We all need to garden as if we lived on the edge of the woods.

Discover Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery.


Wild Horses: Save Cloud May 9, 2009



Cloud’s herd in the Arrowhead Mountains is endangered. Over 40% of America’s wild horses have been removed from the wild from 2000-2008 alone and if the agency responsible for managing our wild horses, the Bureau of Land Management, does not change we are in danger of losing the last of our wild horses. Over 100 herds have been zeroed out from the over 19 million acres legally designated for their use. The BLM needs to return wild horses to these areas—over 30,000 are currently in government holding. Learn more about how you can write to legislature to save Cloud.


Find your native plants and wildflowers May 5, 2009

flower_top42One of the easiest ways to restore balance to nature  and encourage wildlife that lawns and mulch and chemicals take away is to restore native plants to your yard. Ladybird Johnson has left her mark with the The Wildflower Center’s Native Plant Information Network that allows you to search for native plant info by plant traits or names. You can browse through the collection of 23,000 native plant images, and pose your plant question to the resident horticulturalist.

The Native Plant Information Network (NPIN) assembles and disseminates information that will encourage the cultivation, conservation and preservation of wildflowers and other native flora throughout North America. Discover more.


Create a Certified Wildlife Habitat May 4, 2009

create_thumbnail_youngInstead of adding to urban sprawl and global warming, you can instead create a wildlife-friendly habitat in your own back yard and get it certified by the National Wildlife Federation. The steps are actually rather simple: provide food, water, shelter, a place to race young, and then practice green gardening practices. Soon you’ll have your own Beatrix Potter paradise. Discover more.