Formula For Friendly Wildlife
For Earth Day 2007, the Humane Society of the
gave us 10 resolutions to consider incorporating into our daily lives. Most are
things we seldom think about, like not cutting down dead trees in spring,
because small animals and birds have begun nesting in them. All are easy, common
sense ways to be a little gentler with nature.
As gardeners, we don't always concern ourselves with
wildlife any more than wildlife treat our gardens with the respect. But most of
us try to find a way to live cooperatively with the wilds around us. We like to
bend nature to our tastes, but we try to do so with respect. Here are 10 more
ways to appreciate the beauty and bounty of nature in our own backyards.
Take the Earth Day 2007 Backyard Wildlife Challenge
The Humane Society of the United States urges people to
10 Earth Day Resolutions at Home
The Humane Society of the United States wants Earth Day
2007 (April 22) to kick-off a backyard wildlife awareness campaign that will
encourage people to make a few simple commitments that can greatly benefit the
earth’s wildlife. According to Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife
for The HSUS, “People can take some very easy steps with wildlife in mind --
that cost little time and no money – which will make a significant difference
for our planet.”
it up: Think about streams and ponds. Every stream is connected to
something else -- another stream, a pond, a lake. Trash finds its way from
one to the other, and an array of wildlife along the way can be injured or
sickened by it. Visit your local stream or pond and pick up trash that you
find. The results will be felt far downstream.
it grow: No matter how small a patch you dedicate, letting your lawn
grow into a meadow not only cuts down on pollution and the use of fossil
fuels, but it also greatly increases habitat for birds and butterflies and
other interesting critters. This could be one of the most important
commitments you will ever make to planet earth.
them wild: Make a commitment never to buy a “novelty” wild animal as
a pet – it is very difficult to satisfy their needs in captivity, and that
often means an unhappy outcome for all concerned. As cute as a baby turtle
may be, it is far better off in the wild. Take your kids for a walk to the
local pond where they can see these and other wildlife where they should be
– in the wild.
native: Use plants that are native to your area. Not only will they
thrive better, resist disease and often injury or attack from plant eating
insects and mammals, but they will also require less maintenance, freeing
you up to do nothing but enjoy them.
cats indoors: Even the gentlest, well-fed house cat will prey on
wildlife instinctively when given the chance. Outdoor-roaming cats are at
risk for accidents and diseases that can drastically limit their own
lifespan as well. Do wildlife and your cat a favor by keeping cats indoors.
trees: Spring cleaning is in the air, but this is the worst time to cut
down hollow trees because squirrels, raccoons, woodpeckers, flying
squirrels, and others are nesting in them. “Dead” trees are anything
but; they are thriving habitats for insects and animals who can benefit
people and other wildlife. Keep them standing if possible.
the trap: If you capture and relocate a “nuisance” wild animal this
time of year, it is likely to be a mom, which means helpless young will be
left behind to starve. Instead use eviction strategies (tips at
www.wildneighbors.org ) to solve wildlife conflicts.
them up: Disarm (cut) plastic 6 pack holders before disposal so that
wild animals cannot get tangled up, injured or die in them.
it out: Thoroughly rinse and safely discard food jars. Hungry raccoons
and skunks can get their heads stuck in peanut butter, jelly, yogurt or
other containers. If you clean the containers before disposing of them, you
will literally be saving lives.
it out: Walk your yard and look carefully for rabbit nests before mowing
in the spring -- the nests can be hard to see, the mother rabbit digs a
shallow hole in the grass and puts her babies in it where they stay for 3
weeks until weaned and self-sufficient.
The HSUS Wild Neighbors Program promotes non-lethal
means for resolving conflicts between people and wildlife and cultivates
understanding and appreciation for wild animals commonly found in cities and
towns. On the web at www.wildneighbors.org.