Turning a Small-Space Garden into a Wildlife Habitat
For the past year or so, I’ve been getting my patio ready to certify as a Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Maybe you’ve seen these signs in the neighborhood. I had for years and was very intrigued. It doesn’t matter that I have no “yard” to speak of. I’m not in a detached house, but in a row house with a roughly 18 X 25 foot patio. But you can even certify a deck!
To get certified, you need to provide food, water, cover, and a place for wildlife to raise their young. Here’s what I’ve done to qualify:
We have several busy bird feeders.
We have a couple of bird houses – a wren house and a rather weather-beaten gourd.
We keep a a bird bath full of fresh water.
We have plants that provide cover (a thicket) and I’m creating an area with sticks and decomposing logs to provide even more cover and give birds some bugs to munch on.
Just this morning, I went out back to water and saw a butterfly flitting by.
It’s been fun to share this project with my kids, who love to bird watch and feed the birds and keep the bird bath full of water. They also love to water the plants from the rain barrel.
Lo and behold, I also just learned from the NWF Web site that eco-friendly landscaping can increase the resale value of a home. Have you ever heard of a green home stager? They help families “green market” their homes. I hadn’t heard of such a profession, but it is becoming more popular. The article from the NWF goes into greater detail about the economic benefits of sustainable landscaping, like the reduction of storm-water runoff and flood damage.
I filled out the survey on the NWF site, donated $20, and my patio is now officially certified. I just need to order my own sign for another $30, which I will nail triumphantly to the fence. And then I’ll put my energy toward seeing if my daughters’ schools can create their own certified Schoolyard Habitats.
Posted by Leslie