By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist
Last month we talked about the importance of native plant gardens, how they benefit wildlife and some gardening tips. Now, we are taking some of our own advice and creating a native species garden learning experience here at PAWS Wildlife Center.
Our property is home to many wildlife species. Some of which are here throughout the year such as Spotted Towhees, House Finches and Pacific Wrens (Above left, center, right respectively) and others arrive in the spring to raise their families like Dark-eyed Juncos, American Robins, and Black-capped Chickadees (Below left, center, right respectively). Many bird species have already returned this spring and are staking claims on territories and searching for mates. This may be very similar to what happens in your backyard habitat every year and a few enhancements can provide natural food sources and shelter for safety.
At PAWS Wildlife Center we are sprucing up our entrance to not only include a demo native species garden but also artificial homes for birds, bats and bees and examples of humane ways to keep wildlife out of your vegetable garden and what natural animal deterrents really work. We are currently in the beginning stages and have drawn up our official layout, have constructed a raised garden box and have installed our very own catio (below).
We can’t stress it enough that anyone can include features in their yard to support native wildlife and promote living with our wild neighbors humanely, even in small spaces. We hope this will inspire others to enhance their backyard habitat for their wild neighbors as well.
If you are still looking for references to help you get ideas for your backyard habitat here some we recommend:
Local gardening organization:
Tilth Alliance – great resources on many gardening topics and classes, kids section
Some great books:
Real Gardens Grow Natives by Eileen Stark – how to plan your garden and native plants to use
Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast compiled and edited by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon – to identify already growing plants, including invasives/non-natives, in your yard
A fantastic online resource:
Real Gardens Grow Natives – Gardening tips and resources
Do you have a group who would like to help with the PAWS Wildlife Center Native Species Garden or other projects around PAWS? If so, check out information about work party opportunities.
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