May “Garden for Wildlife” month! Here are ways to make your yard or garden, no matter how big or small, wildlife-friendly:
- Provide Food: Planting native trees, shrubs, and other plants can provide the nuts, berries, pollen, and foliage that many animals eat. To determine which plants are native to your area, you can use Lady Bird Johnson’s Wildflower Center database.
- Provide Water: Wildlife need sources of fresh water. This can come in the form of natural water features like ponds, lakes, springs, or rivers, or it could be provided by artificial sources like bird baths or rain gardens.
- Provide Cover/Places to Raise Young: Animals need safe places to hide from predators and raise their young. Planting native trees and shrubs, constructing bird/bat houses, building rock walls, and installing water features are all ways you can provide shelter for wildlife.
- Garden in an Environmentally-Friendly Way: The way you garden should help the environment, not harm it. There are many things you can do to garden in an eco-friendly way, such as mulching to conserve water and naturally fertilize, eliminating gas-powered mowing and chemical use, and replacing non-native plant species with native ones.
If you’ve done all those things in your garden, you can get it certified by the National Wildlife Federation. For every garden that is certified as wildlife-friendly by the organization, NWF will plant a tree.
For more information, see NWF’s Garden for Wildlife page.