The Backyard Wildlife Habitat program, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, wants to make sure more than just humans enjoy gardening.
The program began in 1973 and continues to provide information and resources to affect gardening that supports wildlife. It encourages American homeowners to manage their gardens and yards for wildlife.
Maintaining healthy and diverse animal habitats and ecosystems for wildlife and insect population supports a healthy, natural world.
Agriculture depends on pollinators such as honeybees and birds that feed on pollen and nectar. Providing abundant food sources to nature results in greater harvests for backyard gardeners and commercial growers.
In addition, wildlife habitats help to preserve threatened species such as honeybees and monarch butterflies.
Four elements are needed for certification as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat: food, water, cover and places to raise young.
Food sources for wildlife are abundant. A birdfeeder is the easiest way to provide food, but a gardener can also plant berries, sunflowers and perennial flowers such as cone flowers (Echinacea purpura). Coneflowers are native perennials whose flowers and seeds draw butterflies, bees, and birds to the garden.
This is an excerpt from a story that appears in Tuesday's Butler Eagle.