By now I’m sure you’ve heard all about the National Wildlife Federation and their new found friend Scott’s. There are quite a few people upset about this arrangement since many of Scott’s products are made from ingredients none of us would rather see in the environment. The NWF exists to promote and help wildlife but it’s pretty hard to do that when an “ally” is undermining the process. The issue is very hot where it concerns the Backyard habitat certification program that the NWF promotes. Its intent is to encourage gardeners and land owners to enhance their properties in order to make them more suitable for wildlife. It’s a nice idea and you get a fancy little sign to put up but I don’t think you need to have a national certification to provide a great habitat for wildlife!
For this week’s Friday Fives post I thought I would share with you a few ideas that you can do in your garden to create a DIY Wildlife Habitat on your own!
Wildlife has to eat something! But we’re not just talking bird feeders here. To really provide for wildlife you have to give the animals and insects something to eat that is sustainable and natural. Trees and shrubs that provide nuts and berries are a great example. Grazing grasses for deer, seed heads of flowers for the birds, and flowers for nectar work great for hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators.
- Provide places for wildlife to grow. Butterflies have certain plants that are host plants for their larvae. These plants provide food and shelter from predators and create an environment for the larvae to grow. Tall grasses provide great spots for young animals to hide while the parents bring back food. Give wildlife a place to hide from predators so that they can feel safe and secure.
- Find a place where the animals can get water. Ponds are awesome but a birdbath can do wonders. Birdbaths can range from a simple saucer laid on the ground to fancy and elaborate concrete fountains. Keep it shallow so the birds can stand or place rocks in it that give them a place to perch.
Made from a Fence Board
Give wildlife a home by providing shelter. While this is can be similar to finding a place for wildlife to grow this is more about finding a place for wildlife to bear their young. Birdhouses are one easy way to provide shelter but brambles, thickets, shrubs and trees all provide good nesting locations.
- Avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. I can’t emphasize this enough, so I’ll say it again. Avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides! The chemicals in these synthetic concoctions can do a real number on wildlife.
Think about that last one for a second. When you upset nature’s balance by using chemicals you have to use more chemicals to maintain it. When you spray to kill off an insect and you also kill off the predator insect how are you doing any good? Also if you live near a lake, stream or other body of water you need to realize that everything you spray, spread, or use in your garden has the potential to end up in that body of water – then it can go anywhere.
I’m sure the certification program offered by the NWF was a great way for the organization to spread their message – and raise funds too, but if you’re frustrated by their recent actions take a page from my book and make a DIY Wildlife Habitat in your yard! You don’t need a big organization to honor your garden. You don’t need a fancy sign to help the birds – they can’t ready anyway! Spread the word of what you do to help wildlife through your friends, your garden clubs, your neighbors, your blog, your Facebook page or wherever you happen to be. Trust me, word of mouth means more than that little sign does – at least to me.
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