Plant a Wildlife Garden
Nature is all around us — even at home. Make part of a yard at home or school into a wildlife garden.
Keep your local habitat in mind when planning a wildlife garden. If you live in Arizona or New Mexico, for example, a desert garden makes much more sense than a temperate forest.
Decide first what wildlife you want to attract. Then plan your plants accordingly. If you want Monarch butterflies, for example, you'll have to plant milkweed, because that's what Monarchs' caterpillars eat. Other butterflies' caterpillars like tall grasses. These include the Prairie Skipper, the Wood Nymph, and the Fiery Skipper butterflies.
Native plants are best. A local nursery, botanical society, or college agricultural extension program can give you suggestions. Native plants encourage native animals to flock to your garden. That can partly “restore” an area's ecological balance — even in a built-up neighborhood.
Get your plants from a local nursery or swap plants with a friend. Don't just go dig up wild plants. The idea is to add to natural beauty — not to rip it up. Also, if you dug up an endangered species, you could be committing a crime!
Japanese haiku Is a form of poetry. Nature themes abound.
The form has three lines — Five syllables, then seven, Then just five again.
Count on your fingers. Then it's easier to hear Each word's syllables.
Paint a word picture. Then add another image. Where do they lead you?
Use visual clues, Sounds, smells, and textures as well. Bring the scene alive.
Write your own haiku. Paint nature scenes with your words. Share them with your friends.
With luck, you'll be able to include plants that flower from early spring through late fall. Some plants, like sunflowers, even do double duty. During summer, the bright flowers' nectar attracts bees and butterflies. During fall, the seed heads are a tasty treat for goldfinches and other birds.
Don't “weed” your garden. After all, you want it to grow naturally. But do take care of it. If there's a drought, make sure the plants get enough water.
Avoid using pesticides in your wildlife garden. Rely instead on nature's own system of checks and balances. Yes, aphids are pesky sapsuckers. But give ladybugs a chance, and they'll control the aphids without harmful chemicals.
A feeder helps attract birds to any garden. Mount it on a metal pole to keep squirrels from stealing the bird food. Once you start stocking a bird feeder, be sure to keep it up. Birds in the area will rely on you! In return, watch their antics as they enjoy the seed and suet you share with them.
Your wildlife garden can be a beautiful nature spot. Enjoy planning it and spending time there.
Store-bought bird feeders are great for stocking seed. For an extra winter treat, hang this pine cone feeder.
1 large pine cone
string — 24 inches (61 cm) long
peanut butter or suet
Line your work area with waxed paper to make cleanup easier.
Fold the string in half. Slip the middle part around the pine cone about 1/2” (1 cm) in from the narrow edge. Wrap each end around the cone a few times and knot. About 9 inches (23 cm) of string should hang loose at each end.
Put 1/4 cup of peanut butter or suet into a small bowl. Use the knife to pack the peanut butter or suet into the grooves of the pine cone.
Hang your pine cone feeder from a tree branch. Within a day or so birds should stop by for a treat.