Landscaping for Wildlife
WGCU's "Connect" series recently spoke with SCCF's Landscaping for Wildlife Educator Dee Serage. Follow the link for the 7-minute video:
Imagine creating a mini-habitat in your yard where butterflies and birds stop to feed and rest. Wouldn’t it be a treat to sip your morning coffee while watching a Zebra Longwing nectaring on a Firebush, or a Cedar Waxwing feeding on the fruit of a Wild Olive, all in the comfort of your yard?
Landscaping for Wildlife is a home gardening program with the goal of increasing quality habitat for native wildlife, primarily birds and butterflies, throughout the neighborhoods of Sanibel and Captiva. Participants make a commitment to implement in their yards four principals that SCCF employs on its preserved lands. In a nutshell those principles are: elimination of invasive non-native plant species; the installation or preservation of native plants to support native wildlife; the cessation of the use of harmful chemicals including fertilizers to reduce runoff into surface waters; and the implementation of landscape water conservation practices.
Landscaping for Wildlife participants are encouraged to view their yards and neighborhoods as wildlife corridors among the island’s preserved lands, and as a way to enjoy wildlife without traveling to a refuge or conservation site.
Landscaping for Wildlife participants receive all the information and support they need to meet the program’s goals through workshops, house calls, information packets, landscape designs, and tours of native plant gardens. To get started, the property owner and a Foundation staff member meet for a house call. Together, they identify plant species that already exist in their landscape. Identification of invasive non-native plants and methods of removal are discussed, Maintenance practices, including pruning are reviewed from the standpoint of wildlife needs such as food, breeding areas and cover. During the LFW housecall, specific recommendations and alternatives are prescribed for reduction of water and pesticide usage. Additions of new native plants species to attract birds and butterflies are also agreed upon.
When a homeowner’s yard reaches the point where it incorporates all the principles of Landscaping for Wildlife, their yard becomes part of the native plant garden tour circuit.
Landscaping for Wildlife Housecalls
The Native Plant Nursery also offers "housecalls" on Sanibel and Captiva Islands as a benefit of a family membership to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. During a housecall, a nursery staff person visits your yard and may give advice on recommendations for appropriate native plantings, environmentally friendly landscaping practices, or identification of any unknown plant species. The visit is tailored to the needs of the homeowner, and nursery staff is willing to give environmentally friendly advice on any aspect of gardening. Family membership entitles you to one lifetime housecall. If you've already received a housecall for your property, you may arrange for an additional visit with a $50 donation to the SCCF. To schedule an appointment, please call the nursery at 239.472.1932.