When I lived in Texas, I had my yard certified by the National Wildlife Habitat.
All you have to do is make sure your yard has what nature needs, which I go into below, and register your yard to be certified if you want it to be formalized.
I purchased a sign from the National Wildlife Federation to place on the fence in my yard.
I didn't have a large yard. It was a typical side yard many garden homes have.
No matter where you live, if you get creative you can probably make your yard more hospitable for wildlife and also be certified if you so desire.
Here is the URL to the National Wildlife Federation.
The National Wildlife Federation is the United States' largest private, nonprofit conservation education and advocacy organization, with over six million members and supporters, and 51 state and territorial affiliated organizations.
I am planning to employ as many of these practices as is possible. I'll get creative!
As I work on this project, I will take photos and show you what I'm doing on my apartment patio.
4. Places To Raise Young
5. Sustainable Practices
Food sources you need to be certified:
Your own habitat needs three of the following types of plants or supplemental feeders:
Seeds from a plant
My habitat: I do have a bird feeder, but I'd rather go the all natural route. I have shrubs with berries in my front yard. I will have to see if the birds can eat them.
I'm thinking maybe they can because I see them out there in those shrubs all the time.
I certainly have pollen right now!
I will also check into plants that have seeds.
Water Sources You Need To Be Certified
Your habitat needs one of the following sources to provide clean water for wildlife to drink and bathe:
Butterfly Puddling Area
My Habitat: I have a solar bird bath. And I can create a butterfly puddling area similar to last year.
Cover You Need To Be Certified:Wildlife need at least two places to find shelter from the weather and predators:
Rock pile or wall
Dense shrubs or thicket
Brush or log pile
Meadow or prairie
Water garden or pond
My habitat: I have plants that are ground covers. I also have dense shrubs out front.
The tree that overhangs onto my patio is an evergreen. I also have rocks that I could use for a small rock pile. And I have bird houses.
Places To Raise Young:
You need at least two places for wildlife to engage in courtship behavior, mate, and then bear and raise their young.
Meadow or prairie
Host plants for caterpillars
Dead trees or snags
Dense shrubs or a thicket
Water garden or pond
My habitat: I can check into host plants for caterpillars. I have mature trees and nesting boxes. And I have mature trees.
You need to employ practices from at least two of the three categories below to help manage your habitat in a sustainable way. To better help wildlife, they advocate using one or more practices from each category.
Soil and water conservation: Riparian buffer (A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream), capture rain water from roof, xeriscape (water-wise landscaping), drip or soaker hose for irrigation, limit water use, reduce erosion (i.e. ground cover, terraces), use of mulch, rain garden
Controlling exotic species: Practice integrated pest management, remove non-native plants and animals, use native plants, reduce lawn areas
Organic practices: Eliminate chemical pesticides, eliminate chemical fertilizers, compost
My habitat: I never use chemicals. I also use organic fertilizers and compost.
I will check into native plants. I already have ground cover to reduce erosion.
Don't let this list intimidate you. You saw what I came up with for my habitat above. I'm sure you have most of those things in your yard, or have access to them.
I do think we owe it to wildlife to do what we can to replicate their natural environment. Because they lose their natural habitats due to new construction, etc.
They're always tearing down trees to create new neighborhoods and roads. All these things force wildlife to work harder to survive.
Tomorrow I will tell delve into gardening for wildlife.
Join me. This will be fun!