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This blog post is dedicated to natural disaster resiliency.  We first owe a shoutout to one of our readers, Phebe, for inspiring this post!  She recently sent us a link to a Natural Disasters Map, where you can look up your specific zip code and learn about the risk for different types of natural disasters in your area.  You can find this map at  Check it out!

As we know, there are links between climate change and increased occurrences of natural disasters.  The increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and resulting temperature boost may increase the frequency of droughts, and increase the severity of storms.  This is because changes in climate could affect not only average temperatures, but also extreme temperatures (hot and cold), leading to a higher likelihood of weather-related catastrophes.      

When we looked at the map for our Park’s location, we learned that the area has a high risk for hurricanes and severe storms, and even higher risk for snow, droughts, and floods.  So how do we handle this information, and try to make our garden and our community more resilient?

This is a good opportunity to highlight swales, which you can read much more about in other posts.  Swales mitigate water runoff, essentially harvesting rain water to keep our plants and the soil better hydrated.  This helps with flooding because it reduces the runoff from heavy storms, as well as droughts, because it keeps the plants hydrated for longer during periods of little rain.

Another thing that helps harvest rainwater during heavy storms is the rain barrel, which is basically an empty tank fixed near the end of a gutter to collect the big rushes of water during a storm.  A good rain barrel has a grate at the opening to keep out bugs and leaves, and a spigot at the bottom for filling up watering cans.  Like a swale, the rain barrel keeps and stores rain from heavy storms for later use, when it might be dryer.  

These are just two small changes that can be made to make a garden more weather-resistant and less work for the individual.  As time goes on, more solutions will likely be needed to mitigate the effects of climate change.

No one can control the weather, but we can deal with disasters better by being prepared and educated.  So, again, check out the Natural Disasters Map at to learn more about where you live!