In his new book entitled Nature’s Best Hope, Dr. Doug Tallamy introduces an inspiring vision for creating a “Homegrown National Park” system – yards that serve as conservation corridors to support local wildlife and migrating bird populations. The steps he recommends aren’t difficult. In fact, for most of us, it involves a few more plants, a few simple changes to our gardening routines, and a few inexpensive tweaks.  Get started by reading over this list and then book-marking this page for future reference. 

1 – Plant some super-native plants and trees that feed a large variety of insects and birds. Be sure to include goldenrod, asters, perennial sunflowers and native willow. Read more… 

2 – Develop caterpillar micro-habitats under native trees by planting native plants, maintaining loose soil, and leaving leaf litter. Mulch around native plant beds with leaf litter. Some caterpillars tunnel into soft wood to pupate, so add some decaying logs to your micro-habitats. 

3 – Eliminate unnecessary night lighting which kills moths and other insects. If you can’t eliminate the lighting, add a motion sensor to the fixture. Read more…

4 – Help restore native bee populations by providing shelter, nest sites and food. Read more..

5 – Shrink your lawn – reduce it by half and replace with natives. Think of your lawn as an area rug, not wall-to-wall carpeting.

6 – Remove invasive species like Callery pear trees, and bush honeysuckle. Read more…

7 – Install inexpensive window well covers to prevent the death of toads, frogs, and other small creatures who become trapped in window wells and starve.

8 – Try not to mow in the evening. As dusk approaches, many nocturnal species leave their hiding places and are vulnerable to a mower blade or wheel.

9 – Install one or more water sources in your yard, and include a solar bubbler. Bird watchers report that one of the best way to increase birds in your yard is to provide waterLearn how …

10 – Garden organically without fertilizer or pesticide. Leave natural leaf litter as mulch and add other organic matter to enhance the soil. (You can add your own organic matter by composting.) Oppose mindless mosquito spraying that kills ALL insects. Mosquitoes are best controlled in the larval stage and is easy to do with a bucket of water.

11 – Leave your garden a little “wilder” and messier in the fall and winter and delay clean-up until the Spring. Leave dried stems and pieces of dead wood around the garden to support native bee populations

12Provide dead wood shelter in your garden. If you have an unobtrusive location, add a brush pile to provide cover for birds and butterflies. If you can do so safely, keep dead trees as snags

13 – Keep your cat from killing wildlife by keeping cats inside. If you’re unwilling to do that, outfit your cat with one of these wildlife-saving cat collars.

14 – Install bird feeders in clearings.  Birds at feeders are extra-vulnerable to a neighborhood cat, especially if there are shrubs or other vegetation nearby. Keep shrubs and taller vegetation 10′ away from bird feeders.

15 – Prevent bird strikes. Learn about the problem with birds hitting windows to make your property safer for birds. Make sure you have window coverings on all your windows, turn off interior lights when not in use, and add window stickers, or try this trick with a glass pen!

Now share the message! Send a page link to your neighbors and friends, use social media and Nextdoor. And educate your neighborhood or homeowner’s association about landscaping for wildlife.