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When Nature Calls

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Christina Montoya Fiedler: If you live in the big city like I do, finding your own tree-laden, grassy sanctuary can be difficult. So when I heard it was possible to create your own certified, wildlife-friendly habitat, I jumped at the chance. Not only would it be a great project for my family, but it would provide the perfect opportunity to give back to the environment.

nature preserve in your own backyard

The best part? The National Wildlife Federation will send you a certificate of completion and authenticity if you do it right.

It's easy to do, and worth the time. Here's how:

A wildlife-friendly garden should do four things: supply water, provide food, create cover, and give animals a place to raise their young. We're not talking coyotes and mountain lions here, just your average non-threatening woodland creatures like squirrels, chipmunks, and birds, so not to fear.

With the right combination of shrubs, vegetation, fountains, and feeders, you have a wildlife sanctuary.

Here are some ideas on how to plan for each of the following areas:

  •   Food Sources -- native plants that produce seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, or nectar
  •   Water Sources -- birdbath, pond, water garden, or man-made stream
  •   Places for Cover -- thicket, rock pile, or birdhouse
  •   Places to Raise Young -- dense shrubs, native vegetation, nesting boxes, ponds

As with any environmentally-sound project, sustainable gardening is the key, so be sure to use mulch, compost, chemical-free fertilizer, and the elements to naturally water your greenery.

Get more information on how to create a National Wildlife Federation-certified Wildlife Sanctuary.

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