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Posted on June 18, 2020 at 10:19 AM by Micah Grau
By Sustainability Commission Vice-Chair Marni Martinez
Are you looking for a way to spend your time during home quarantine? Creating a backyard wildlife garden can be beneficial to your family and local wildlife. As local wildlife habitats are destroyed, native wildlife need safe areas that provide food, water, and shelter for raising young. You can do this with simple changes that invite wildlife into your backyard. Start by adding native plants to your landscaping and avoid planting invasive species that compete for local resources and space. Remove invasive species in your garden that contribute to habitat loss in the Central Texas area such as Ligustrum, Chinese Tallow, Chinaberry tree, Phontinia, Vitex, Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), Heavenly or Sacred bamboo (Nandina domestica).
Animals and insects depend on native plants for sustenance and as host plants for insects. Planting native species enhances local habitats and helps prevent further invasion of unfavorable plants. A wildlife garden should be managed with sustainable practices and include food, water sources, cover, and places to raise young. Native plants will provide seeds, nectar, fruits, berries, foliage, pollen and insects which are eaten by local wildlife species. Feeders can also provide supplemental food sources.
Water sources are not just used for drinking, but bathing and breeding as well. Water features such as fountains and bird baths should provide fresh water, free of chemical additives. Cover provides shelter from predators and weather, along with a safe location to mate, bear and raise young. Sustainable garden practices encourage soil and water conservation, control exotic species, and avoid chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Foundation is a fun project that will encourage children to conserve natural resources, learn about local wildlife species and their behaviors, and create a lasting reminder of your experience learning together.
Tag(s): wildlife, sustainable, sustainability commission