Saturday, August 1, 2009

Certified Wildlife Habitat!!!


While reading the Wildlife Federation E-Newsletter a few weeks ago I noticed a link. It was to the pages on the website that give the requirements and a questionnaire about your garden. The more I read the more I realized that my double-lot garden qualified. Actually, even a balcony could qualify if it had all the requirements.

  • Food Sources - For example: Native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
Your habitat needs three of the following types of plants or supplemental feeders:
Seeds from a plant • Berries • Nectar • Foliage/Twigs • Nuts • Fruits • Sap • Pollen • Suet • Bird Feeder • Squirrel Feeder • Hummingbird Feeder • Butterfly Feeder
  • Water Sources - For example: Birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
Your habitat needs one of the following sources to provide clean water for wildlife to drink and bathe: Birdbath • Lake • Stream • Seasonal Pool • Ocean • Water Garden/Pond • River • Butterfly Puddling Area • Rain Garden • Spring Wildlife need at least two places to find shelter from the weather and predators: Wooded Area • Bramble Patch • Ground Cover • Rock Pile or Wall • Cave • Roosting Box • Dense Shrubs or Thicket • Evergreens • Brush or Log Pile • Burrow • Meadow or Prairie • Water Garden or PondYou need at least two places for wildlife to engage in courtship behavior, mate, and then bear and raise their young: Mature Trees • Meadow or Prairie • Nesting Box • Wetland • Cave • Host Plants for Caterpillars • Dead Trees or Snags • Dense Shrubs or a Thicket • Water Garden or Pond • Burrow You should be doing two things to help manage your habitat in a sustainable way.
Soil and Water Conservation: Riparian Buffer • 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 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 garden more than qualified and this week my plaque and certificate arrived. Meanwhile, I have been acquiring MORE native plants, seed-plants for the birds and nectar plants for the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. I have purged the chemicals and started a more sustainable garden. I am tracking down some rainbarrels like my nephew found in Georgia. All kinds of changes to keep my garden moving forward as a wildlife habitat.

No cats or dogs in my yard, but a neighbor dog has been killing the bunnies. The hawk and owls that has destroyed more than a few birds including the goldfinches and male oriole, I suspect, causes me consternation, but not as much as a dog that kills to kill and not for food. We do not seem to have any outdoor cats in the area, though. I think since the eagles got the 3 outdoor cats 7 years ago, most keep their small pets inside, now.

Anyway, if you follow the links above, for a registration fee of $20 you are directed to a questionnaire that is quite specific as to the water, food, shelter, etc your garden may have. I guess my 4 birdbaths, 1 fountain, 5 birdfeeders specific to 5 different kinds of birds, hedgerow, thick evergreen trees, mulch, etc, gave me not only certification, but a resolve to work even harder to move ahead with a habitat garden.

Now, how do I get rid of the mice before winter drives them inside my house?

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Laura Lou
Michigan/Florida, United States
I am a retired Middle School Science teacher from Michigan spending 4 months each winter in Florida and learning about a whole new world.
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