Sacred Habitats

...discoveries of living mindfully on the Earth.

Tag: landscape (page 1 of 2)

Certify Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat with Another Organization

With the recent announcement of the partnership of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and ScottsMiracle-Gro came a lot of disappointment among supporters, many became so upset they have returned their NWF backyard wildlife habitat signs which certify their backyards as wildlife habitats and meeting the requirements of the NWF.

In response to that disappointment I’ve created a list of alternative options to the NWF certified backyard wildlife habitats that I know of that provide similar involvement from supporters who care deeply about the preservation of their communities and backyard wildlife sanctuary’s. Folks still  want to remain a part of an organization of others who are fulfilling their purpose of making sure there is adequate food, water, shelter and space for their local wildlife.

Organizations to Certify Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat

North American Butterfly Association: Butterfly and Habitat Certification Program

North America Butterfly Association (NABA) Butterfly Garden and Habitat Certification ProgramNABA Certificate

The NABA has an exhaustive resource area for butterfly gardeners, including garden ideas, host plant lists, suggested plants, and regional gardening guides. Their certification application  can be done online or by their printable application to mail in (PDF).

To join NABA Butterfly Garden Certification Program you need to create or modify your existing garden to meet the following requirements:

  • At least three different native caterpillar food plants must be grown, preferably more than one plant of each selected species
  • At least three different native butterfly nectar sources must be grown, preferably more than one plant of each selected species
  • The use of pesticides is discouraged. Pesticides can kill butterflies as well as other important pollinators.
The NABA encourages participants to submit photo’s of their gardens for display on their website. They are also updating their website and creating a weekly web page called “What’s Happening in Butterfly Gardens Right Now” that features your (digital) habitat photo’s!

Canadian Wildlife Federation: Wild About Gardening Certification

Canadian Wildlife Federation Wild About Gardening

This certification is similar to that of the National Wildlife Federation. The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a charitable organization that works with Canadians to make a difference to the kind of legacy we leave behind; not just for wildlife, but also for our children. At this moment (Feb. 3, 2012) they are working on their website, I’m sure this is in response to the disappointed masses, so be sure to visit their site at a later date if the links aren’t working properly.

Monarch (butterfly) Waystation Certification Program

Monarch Watch Waystation ProgramMonarch Waystation placque

This is a terrific way to create stopover spots for Monarch butterflies during their amazing migration and for breeding new generations. Learn more about creating a Monarch Waystation (PDF).

You can complete your application for certification of your monarch habitat as an official Monarch Waystation either online or via mail (printable application).

You can certify your new or existing monarch habitat to show that you are contributing to monarch conservation. Upon certification your site will be included in the International Monarch Waystation Registry, an online listing of Monarch Waystations, and you will be awarded a certificate bearing your name and your site’s unique Monarch Waystation ID number.

4 Steps the Monarch Waystation registration and certification process:

  1. Create a Monarch Habitat:To create a habitat for monarchs, you need to provide milkweeds for the larvae, nectar plants for the adults, and sufficient vegetation to provide shelter for the larvae, pupae and adults.The Monarch Waystation Seed Kit is designed to enable you to create a habitat suitable for monarchs, within the context of a traditional garden.Applying for certification can be done from scratch by purchasing a Monarch Waystation Seed Kit or obtaining seeds suitable for Monarchs at your chosen source. Existing habitats that meet the criteria for a Monarch Waystation (or that can be easily modified to meet them) may also be registered and certified as Official Monarch Waystations.
  2. Confirm that Monarch Waystation criteria are met and complete the Certification Application: Requirements are included with the certification application materials.
  3. Receive Your Certificate: You will receive a certificate with your (or your organization’s) name and unique Monarch Waystation ID for your site.
  4. After Being Certified: You will be able to order ($17) a 9″ x 12″ weatherproof sign for display and other support materials. You will also be able to submit photos of your Monarch Waystation to be included in the online Registry.

Remember to encourage others to create their own butterfly and wildlife habitats!

A Step Beyond: Home-study Wildlife Course

If you love to feed, photograph, or just observe wildlife, this computer-based e-learning course may interest you!Windstar Wildlife Institute

After introducing WindStar’s highly acclaimed Wildlife Habitat Naturalist pilot program in Maryland in the Spring of 1997, the Institute began receiving numerous inquiries from people all across the country who wanted to know when the program was coming to their state.

To satisfy the need, the staff came up with the idea of an Internet home-study course called the WindStar Certified Wildlife Habitat Naturalist, which is a prerequisite to the recent, advanced WindStar Certified National Master Naturalist Program to become certified at a professional level.

WindStar’s Wildlife Habitat Naturalist Internet e-Learning Course will help you learn how to better manage wildlife on your property, plus develop a sense of stewardship toward wildlife and a land conservation ethic.

This course can benefit: nature center staff, home schoolers, builders, developers, property owners, landscapers, scout leaders, wild bird store owners, and anyone who wants to further their appreciation of the natural world and provide more benefit to their local communities.

Evelyn Vincent Evelyn Vincent

Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner,  Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

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National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Scotts: Disappointing and Disturbing News

This past week I became aware of some shocking news: both the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Scotts Miracle-Gro was proud to announce they were partnering. In their press release on January 18, 2012 stating,

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and ScottsMiracle-Gro are announcing a new partnership to advance NWF’s nationwide Be Out There initiative to connect children with nature. As the national presenting sponsor, ScottsMiracle-Gro will enhance NWF’s programs to create green spaces and attract wildlife to backyards and communities across the country.

“During our support of the NWF’s wildlife relief work in the Gulf of Mexico, we realized how many similarities our organizations shared – and started exploring ways to work together,” said Jim Lyski, executive vice president, ScottsMiracle-Gro. “NWF offers a unique perspective that we believe can help shape our sustainability initiatives, and proactively engage thought leaders on constructively developing solutions to environmental and societal challenges. This partnership for us is about building a business that leaves our world better off than we found it.”

Is That Stretching Our Abilities to Believe Them  Continue reading

Evelyn Vincent Evelyn Vincent

Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner,  Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

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Pollinators in Our Gardens: Butterflies and Moths

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and graceful of all pollinators. Through providing safe habitats we can also support the roles that butterflies play in pollination. Butterflies need flowers in full sun that are protected from wind, preferably away from roadways.

About 75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators and over 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, about 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals. The rest are insects such as beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies, and moths. And, worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend.

In the garden, keep in mind that some of the plants we plant will be eaten by butterfly caterpillars. I’ve always found that a plant eaten by them was a delight, taking the attitude of “if you build it, they will come” scenario rather than one of destruction. Because of this I plant extra, so ‘I’ can have a lush garden and so the ‘butterflies’ have more than enough to eat. Read Fast Facts for Gardeners: why pollinators are important.

It’s at the caterpillar stage of a butterflies lifecycle that it’s important to have a good field guide handy to identify them properly. Many a day in the garden I witnessed plump caterpillars eating my plants, many a future-butterfly were spared because of my field guide. One such lucky fella was the subject of the photo’s in this article. What a treat it was to go outside and watch the changes occur, which happen rather quickly (I think) considering all that’s going on.

Black Swallowtail butterfly chrysalis

“Adding native plantings in Riparian Areas to improve pollinator habitat makes sense in advancing our family farm’s conservation and economical objectives, enhancing beneficial wildlife and improving pollination in our orchard and garden.” ~ Lee McDaniel, Farmer and President, National Association of Conservation Districts

In their 1996 book, the Forgotten Pollinators, Buchmann and Nabhan estimated that animal pollinators are needed for the reproduction of 90% of flowering plants and one third of human food crops. Each of us depends on these industrious pollinators in a practical way to provide us with the wide range of foods we eat. In addition, pollinators are part of the intricate web that supports the biological diversity in natural ecosystems that helps sustain our quality of life.

Gardeners have been attracting butterflies to their gardens for some time. These insects tend to be eye- catching, as are the flowers that attract them. Position flowering plants where they have full sun and are protected from the wind. Also, you will need to provide open areas (e.g. bare earth, large stones) where butterflies may bask, and moist soil from which they may get needed minerals. By providing a safe place to eat and nest, gardeners can also support the pollination role that butterflies play in the landscape. It might mean accepting slight damage to the plants, known as host plants, that provide food for the larval stage of the butterfly.

A diverse group of butterflies are present in garden areas and woodland edges that provide bright flowers, water sources, and specific host plants. Numerous trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants support butterfly populations.

A terrific resource for learning more about which plants to consider in the garden is found at Pollinator Partnership, they have compiled free guides (PDF’s) that are quite useful, Pollinator Friendly Planting Guides (24 pages).

Moths and Butterflies as Pollinators

Butterflies, possibly the best loved of all insects, are appreciated as benign creatures that add color, beauty, and grace to our gardens. Moths, on the other hand, aren’t nearly as appreciated for their pollinating contributions. Butterflies and moths belong to the same insect order, Lepidoptera.

Can you tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly?  Continue reading

Evelyn Vincent Evelyn Vincent

Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner,  Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

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Great News: Predator-Proof Fencing Helps Ground Nesting Birds in Hawaii

Formed entirely by volcanic action about 4,000 km (2,400 miles) from the nearest continental land mass, Hawai`i is the most isolated group of islands in the Pacific. Except for the Hawaiian bat, no terrestrial mammal naturally colonized the islands. Isolated from the enemies of their ancestors, Hawai`i’s native plants and animals gradually lost their natural defenses against mammalian predators.

With human settlement in Hawai`i many predator mammal species were introduced; mice and rats (carried on early sailing ships), cats (soon after Captain Cook), and the mongoose (intentionally introduced in 1883 to control rats).

Predation by rats, cats, and mongooses is considered a leading cause in the decline and extirpation of endemic Hawaiian birds. Habitat destruction and avian diseases are other important causes. Many extinct Hawaiian birds, known only from fossil remains, nested on the ground and were susceptible to predation.

Only two methods for controlling small mammals are available to land managers – trapping and 0.005% diphacinone bait placed in bait stations. Both methods, effective in small areas, are labor- and time-intensive and are impractical for large conservation areas. Scientists from Federal, State, and private organizations in Hawai`i are currently studying the ecology and biology of small mammal predators, and evaluating new control techniques, to develop management tools to lessen the impacts of these predators on native wildlife and plants.

One new tactic to protect ground nesting birds has been ‘predator-proof fencing’. Success of the first predator proof fence in the United States is producing dramatic results that may eventually lead to a resurgence in decimated seabird populations in Hawaii. The Wedge-tailed Shearwater, which nests in the remote coastal dunes on the now-fenced Kaʻena Point at the northwestern tip of O’ahu, has produced the highest number of chicks since the annual survey began in 1994.

“This is extraordinary news. It has been only eight months since the predator-proof fence was installed and already, we are seeing results. This year’s chick count of 1775 is a 14% percent increase over the previous high count in 2007 and the highest number ever recorded at the point. So far, the fence has done a great job of preventing bird predation by rats, cats, mongoose, dogs, and even mice,” said Dr. George Wallace, Vice President for Oceans and Islands at American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the leading bird conservation group in the United States.  Continue reading

Evelyn Vincent Evelyn Vincent

Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner,  Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Follow Me on Pinterest

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