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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Grow Your Backyard Wild

Putting up Toad Abodes is a simple, easy, cheap way to make your backyard better wildlife habitat.  There are plenty of other options you can choose, however, to make a small-scale local difference for native species.  Besides toads, you can provide shelter for birds and bats by erecting birdhouses and bat boxes.  You can set out bird feeders and birdbaths.  You can add a rock pile.  You can try to reduce your dependency on pesticides and herbicides.  Make sure your windows and glass doors are bird-safe.  If you have the space, you can add a small pond.

A Southwestern Garden at the Albuqurque BioPark Botanic Garden - if you're in a desert, why plant water-hungry ornamentals when you could landscape with natives already adapted to drought?

One of the best decisions that you can make for wildlife is to replace a high-maintenance grassy lawn (with the endless requirements of watering, spraying, and mowing) with a garden of native plants.  These species add a lot of benefit to your yard.  Not only do they require much less maintenance, since they'll be growing in the environmental conditions that they've evolved to thrive in, they provide food and shelter and nesting material for native species.

A major challenge is that many homeowner's associations require that homes maintain a grassy lawn, but hopefully if enough people start moving towards the native landscaping, more HOA will relent.

If you are interested in making your own home better wildlife habitat, check out the National Wildlife Federation's "Garden for Wildlife" certification program.  Check off the items on the list that you do to provide shelter, food, and water, and you could get your own yard certified as "Wildlife Habitat."  And not just homes - every school, community center, park, business campus, and basically anyplace else that has some green space should strive for this.

To say nothing of every zoo.

Wildlife needs habitat to survive and thrive - it's as simple as that.  We can try to set off large areas for them, like National Parks - but I've come to believe that every little extra bit helps as well.

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