Invitation for Wildlife
Good Morning Watershed Explorers,
You made it through another week of distance learning, congratulations! I continue to be so proud of all of you for your hard work and dedication. You're all amazing!
Many of the previous Watershed Explorer blogs have challenged all of you to get out and explore nature, but we haven't talked too much about inviting nature to visit you! There are some great websites that showcase ways to attract, birds, bees, butterflies, amphibians, and other special creatures to your yard. Check out the two below and find out how to make your yard wildlife-friendly.
A few ideas to ponder:
* Having a nice lawn that is lush and green can be very important to people, but sometimes the way those lawns get to look so good is by treating them with harmful chemicals. One way to invite wildlife to visit your yard is to make sure that your yard is either chemical-free or treated only with organic products. This will also ensure that chemical run-off from the lawn stays out of waterways. Normally, during our April in-class lessons, we discuss run-off and how it harms watershed areas. Run-off comes from streets, lawns, farms, and other surfaces when it rains. If these surfaces contain chemicals, oil, gas, litter, and animal waste, the chance of those materials ending up in our water is very possible. This directly impacts the wildlife that lives in those water bodies and increases the chance that those plants and animals will not survive. You may remember our watershed model, and how the food coloring (pollution) ran directly down into the water in the models that had fewer paper towels (grass). Now think about the paper towels being soaked with chemicals. Instead of that grass absorbing chemicals and helping the water, lawns treated with chemicals are adding to the problem.
* Create your own special place/places in your yard to attract wildlife.
Build a bat house https://www.nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/Cover/Build-a-Bat-House
Build a birdhouse (see previous blog for great ideas)
Plant native flowers https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/documents/AttractingPollinatorsV5.pdf
* Here is a thought that not a lot of people consider. Keep outdoor lights off as much as possible. There are many species that become confused during migration due to light pollution. Audubon started a campaign called Lights Out to try to keep areas safe for migratory birds. If it's possible, join the campaign, and turn off all outdoor lighting at night. https://www.audubon.org/conservation/project/lights-out Not only will you invite birds to pass safely, but without the light, you may get a good look at another awesome creature, the firefly https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/fireflies/
Nature is all around us, we don't have to travel away from our homes to immerse ourselves in it. I really hope you will visit some of the great websites I have included links for, and complete a few of the activities to invite wildlife to your yard. Most days, I feel more comfortable outside than I do inside. In order to truly care about our world, we have to understand that nature is our home.
Much love and wishes for a wonderful Friday afternoon and Saturday. I will be back with another critter spotlight on Sunday!