Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Your Backyard as a Wildlife Refuge!

This is too cool! I was reading the August 4th, 2008 issue of Newsweek when I saw a really cool article titled "Bring Back the Birds and Bees" by Christina Gillham. It gives some great tips on how to beautify your backyard while also practicing sustainable gardening. Sustainable in the "green" sense means: To keep in existence; maintain.

When making choices on home renovations, buying cars, or gardening we shouldn't only think about what looks pretty but also: what materials will last the longest, what woods can we use to minimize the impact of the renovation on the environment (bamboo, or woods from tree farms), or in terms of gardening, what plants are indigenous to the region and what will live a long time.

Below is the informative article and it says that if you decide to join this movement, your backyard can be certified as a Wildlife Habitat. INCREDIBLE!! If you have kids, what a great way to teach them about nature and (advocate of green's motto) how a little effort by a lot of people can make a big difference.

Also, one more thing before I post the article, they touch on a great way to catch rain water to use for watering your garden instead of using water from the tap: get rain barrels that will collect the water so we can keep the tap water for drinking. After all, drinking water is a scarce resource and one-third of the world's population lives in a water stressed country. It is expected to rise to two-thirds by 2025!

Here's the article and here are links to rain barrels (made out of recycled plastic) & the National Wildlife Federation . If you live in a city and don't have a yard, pass this on to someone who does:

Years of suburban development and unsustainable gardening practices have led to vanishing wildlife populations. The National Wildlife Federation has stepped up its efforts to promote its Backyard Wildlife Habitat program, which certifies homeowners who provide friendly environments for small mammals, birds, butterflies and reptiles.

The program asks residents to raise native plants and trees, which provide animals with food and shelter, and to put out water in the form of a birdbath or small pan for birds to drink and bathe in. Homeowners should also practice sustainable gardening by reducing lawn size, removing invasive plants and keeping rain barrels to collect water that can be used in lieu of the hose. (See for more details.)

David Mizejewski, a naturalist at the NWF, says that the certification, which costs $15, does not have to apply to your entire property. “The idea is to create a movement to get gardeners to adopt some of these principles,” he says. And, listing your home as a certified “wildlife habitat” can’t hurt its value.


Anonymous said...

Once you have your rain barrel - check out for downspout diverters, downspout filters and first flush water diverters. They also have rain barrel kits if you already have a 55 gallon plastic barrel

barrel expert said...

I didn’t know watering a garden uses so much water. An average size garden can drink up to 200 litres or 52 gallons, every watering! That’s why rain barrels are such a great product and an environmentally friendly way to make a positive impact.