Whether you own acres of land or have a small flower garden, you have an important role to play in creating spaces that support wildlife. As our forests become more fragmented, its critical to start looking toward our front and back yards, and even our patios, to consider managing these spaces for biodiversity.
There are countless ways we can encourage wildlife to thrive in our yards, but plants are the most important resource to consider. Many insects and wildlife species have specific dietary and habitat needs. If their needs are not met, then your property cannot support those species. The relationship between milkweed and monarch caterpillars is a perfect example – no milkweed, no monarchs. Therefore, planting a variety of native flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees throughout your property encourages habitat stability and provides the resources necessary to support the widest diversity of insects, birds, and mammals.
Managing your outdoor space in an ecologically-friendly manner should also be a consideration. Wildlife are sensitive to many chemicals, so limit your use of pesticides. Adding features like birdbaths, butterfly bowls, or small ponds provide much-needed, clean drinking water for a variety of animals during the warm summer months. And don’t forget about patio plants. Potted flowers, vegetables, and herbs like mint, dill, aster, and black-eyed-susans offer great, little oases for insects in need of respite and food.
Looking for guidance? Visit the LPLC website’s Pollinator Pages for helpful planting and management tips. Additional Resources include planting guides from the Xerces Society and Pollinator Partnership, and yard care for biodiversity tips from the Habitat Network (an effort from The Nature Conservancy and Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
The Lake Placid Land Conservancy provides this Conservation Minute.
Photo of provided by Lake Placid Land Conservancy.