Things you can do to help protect animals and the environment in your backyard

Urban gardens have become increasingly important for wildlife, as natural habitats have been lost.  
There are many things that you can do to create a wildlife haven in your garden and to help the environment
 
Conserve water in your yard whenever possible
A. Rain barrels are a great solution if you are a gardener.
Collect rain water to water your garden.
We have a large garden, so we purchased 9-60 gallon rain barrels! (We didn't
buy them all at once, 1-2 at a time until ended up with 9 of them!)
Our water consumption went down
more than 60% over the summer of 2007, and
it was a dry summer!

B. Sprinklers can be very wasteful, so hand watering is often better, and drip
water or irrigation systems can be even more effective and waste less water.

C. Plant drought-tolerant and native plants (native plants are more adaptive to
your living conditions & don't typically need as much water).

D. Consider xeriscaping—a landscaping technique that uses native, drought-
tolerant plants in favor of ever-thirsty grass.

E. If you must water your lawn, water only in the morning or evening. (Water
evaporates four to eight times faster during the heat of the day.)
 
Consider Wildlife when Gardening!



A. Plant Native Plants!
Many plants available are both beautiful and native to your state. Native plants
are what our native wildlife uses for their very survival, so by planting native you
can do a lot to help your local wildlife.




B.
DO NOT plant invasive plants and remove any growing in your yard.
Invasive plants can overgrow or edge out our state's native species, therefore
the wildlife that depends on that plant or environment suffers. Many invasive
species are planted as decorative plants in our yards or brought in by bird
droppings. Identify the plants in your yard and destroy invasive varieties.





C.
Keep wildlife in mind.
Brush piles, stone walls, dead trees, trees and shrubs that bear berries, nut,
seeds, or provides shelter, cover, or places to nest are a great landscape
addition to any yard.
If you provide all four elements that wildlife needs to survive (food, water, shelter,
places to raise young), you may want to become a Certified Backyard Wildlife
Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.

    Your yard does not need to be huge to be successful or effective.
    Small gains and small actions are better than none at all.
    1. Plant berry bearing bushes to provide winter food for birds and wildlife.
    2. Plant nectar rich shrubs and plants for bees, butterflies, and
    hummingbirds.
    3. Put up bat and bird boxes
 
*IMPORTANT: It is your responsibility to keep your feeders and water sources clean and to
clean up old seed under your feeders. Several lethal diseases can be transmitted between
birds at feeders and birdbaths. If you notice disease, you can report it (try calling your local
vet if you aren't sure who to call) and probably should investigate further. We had seen a
few finches with what appeared to be an eye disease, and through that found out about

finch
conjunctivitis. Please protect your birds as best you can!
 
Compost
It is not difficult to compost, and you can save a lot of waste from the landfill and help your
garden at the same time.
Decrease the size of your lawn, & change your habits when mowing & raking your yard

Natural resources. Think about replacing your lawn with ground cover plants, which are more valuable to wildlife
than lawn grass. Consider buying a manual reel mower or electric mower if you have a small yard. They are
much more advanced from the reel mowers of our grandparents’ generation, much quieter, cheaper, and they
save on fuel and pollution. Electric mowers are also quieter and use much less energy. Also, leave the leaf
blower behind and pick up a rake.


Mulch or compost your lawn clippings back into your lawn. These clippings quickly decompose and return
nutrients to the soil. Cut your grass when it is dry and free of leaves. Mow often enough so that no more than
one-third of the length of the grass blade is cut. This allows grass clippings to fall easily through the grass to the
soil. This is a natural, chemical-free way of feeding your lawn and eliminating the need to bag or discard
clippings.